The EIB and the ONCF sign a financing contract of 200 million euros

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the National Railways Office (ONCF) announced on Wednesday the signing of a financing contract for 200 million euros (2.1 billion dirhams) which represents 80% of an overall envelope of 250 million euros made available to ONCF, to support its investment plan.

The remaining 50 million euros (527 million dirhams) are scheduled for signing in 2023, said an EIB statement, noting that this is the first project signed under the Green Partnership with the Kingdom, concluded on October 18, 2022 in Rabat, which also represents the first partnership signed under the external dimension of the European Green Deal.

This financing thus comes to concretize on the ground the political orientations of the New Agenda for the Mediterranean of the EU and the initiative “Team Europe” (Team Europe), underlines the press release.

This new funding supports ONCF’s investment plan, aimed at renewing the existing conventional rail infrastructure and strengthening the modernization of facilities with cutting-edge technologies over the entire 2,300 km of the Moroccan rail network. It will contribute to the development of low-carbon sustainable mobility, while promoting a better territorial balance in terms of access to rail services.

The loan will finance in particular projects of the national program for the rehabilitation and upgrading of the Moroccan railway network, such as infrastructure, equipment and industrial workshops. In particular, it will contribute to the renewal and rehabilitation of tracks, structures and electric traction installations, as well as the improvement of signaling, telecommunications and safety systems on the rail network.

Measures to adapt to climate change are also planned, such as the implementation of flood protection programs on the network, the press release adds, specifying that throughout the duration of the project, the EIB will support the ONCF to consolidate its climate adaptation roadmap.

Fully aligned with the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement, this support contributes to the priority objectives of the EIB as a Climate Bank in the areas of transport and climate action, while strengthening the implementation of determined contributions at the national level (CDN) of the Kingdom of Morocco.

This operation also contributes to the achievement of many United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular that of building sustainable, resilient and accessible infrastructure (goal 9.1), ensuring access for all to transport systems safe, accessible and sustainable, at an affordable cost (target 11.2) and to strengthen resilience and adaptive capacities in the face of climatic hazards (target 13.1).

Quoted by the press release, Ricardo Mourinho Félix, Vice-President of the EIB responsible for financing in Morocco, noted that safe, accessible and modern transport is essential to the economic and social development of Morocco.

“Reliable and efficient rail infrastructure will facilitate the movement of goods and services, but will also improve economic and social inclusion across the country, by facilitating access for vulnerable people or people with reduced mobility. We are pleased with our partnership with ONCF and this new project, fully aligned with the EIB’s overall climate objective, which supports Morocco in its transition to a low-carbon economy. , environmentally friendly and resistant to climate change,” he added.

For his part, Mohamed Rabie Khlie, Director General of ONCF, declared: “After the certification last July of its first operation in Green Bonds, ONCF is happy to take a new step in its financing strategy with the realization of this privileged partnership with the EIB. This is the first operation of its kind, without the guarantee of the State”.

This sign of confidence from a renowned international partner reinforces the Office in its strategic choices and confirms the robustness of the Moroccan railway model. In addition, this operation further consolidates ONCF’s CSR and sustainable development commitments, added Khlie.

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