ONCF railway company secures US$362m from AfDB

MOROCCOThe African Development Bank (AfDB) has provided €300 million (US$362.43m) for the Moroccan railway company ONCF, to contribute to the financing of the Moroccan rail network.

The focus is on projects that increase the transport capacity of people and goods on the economically important axis Tangier – Casablanca – Marrakech, according to a press release by the AfDB.

With this funding, combined with technical assistance, the AfDB supports the modernization of the rail sector in Morocco and contributes to improving the mobility of the population and the logistical competitiveness of the kingdom.

The funding made it possible to increase the number of railways, modernize signaling, build many structures such as the latest generation Casa-Port station and construct the central signaling control post.

The Bank is not limited to simple financing, it also provides sustained support.

“The ADB is a historical partner, who has always supported the ONCF, since the 1990s. In addition to financing at a preferential rate, we have benefited from technical support from the Bank’s teams,” the ONCF Director General Mohamed Rabie Khlie, said.

The goal is to increase considerably the mobility of Moroccans thanks to the modernization of the rail network, and to double or even triple the number of passengers using the railway network, added Khlie, noting that this logic aims to back up the socio-economic development of Morocco.

For his part, Ahmed Bouhaltit, director of engineering at ONCF, stressed that the network has experienced a revolution over the past ten years, citing as an illustration the high-speed rail line, the doubling of the line to Marrakech, the line tripling between Kenitra and Casablanca and the modernization of the operating system.

The development of the freight transport offer has encouraged the emergence of new industrial centers. By equipping itself with modern rail infrastructure, Morocco has attracted many investors, especially in the automotive sector.

In this regard, Souhail Tantaoui, official at “Flux Aval” in the Moroccan subsidiary of the French manufacturer PSA, affirmed that “the rail network is, for us, very important.” Every day, two trains carry 280 vehicles each, he said.

“This allows us to evacuate our daily production to the port of Tangier Med to export it to Europe and around the world,” he added.

AfDB has been active in Morocco for more than 50 years. The bank also has had 170 operations, which mobilized more than US$10 billion.

Leila Farah Mokaddem, the resident representative of the AfDB in Morocco, stressed the bank’s contribution to development efforts across Morocco.

The continental bank’s support has enabled the North African country to provide access to drinking water and sanitation to over 3.5 million people, while 8.5 million, including four million women, have benefited from better health services.

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