Morocco and the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD) signed in Rabat Tuesday, February 14th two guarantee and loan agreements with a total amount of 864 million dirhams to finance the high-speed railway line project of Tangier-Casablanca.
These agreements were signed by Mr.Nizar Baraka, Minister of Economy and Finance, Mr.Abdellatif Youssef Al Hamad, Director General, the president of the Board of Directors of AFESD and Mr. Mohamed Rabie KHLIE, CEO of (ONCF).
During his speech at the ceremony, which took place in the presence of the Minister of Equipment and Transport, Mr. Aziz Rabbah, Mr. Baraka was pleased with the links existing between the Kingdom and the AFESD. He welcomed the contribution of the Arab Fund for economic and social development in the Arab countries especially in Morocco. In this regard, he recalled the Fund`s financing of several development projects in Morocco, particularly in the fields of infrastructure, water, highways, dams, electricity, ports, agriculture and irrigation. The total amount of funds provided by the AFESD to Morocco reached 7.1 billion dirhams during the period going from 2007 to 2011. He added that these new agreements will further strengthen cooperation and partnership committed by both parties.
For the minister, the TGV project in Morocco, the first of its kind in Africa and in the Arab world, is of great importance for the development of the Kingdom. He stated that this project falls within the scope of programs launched in Morocco under the leadership of HM King Mohammed VI. He added that the TGV project of Tangier-Casablanca opens new prospects for the development and modernization of rail transport sector in Morocco which is expected to develop to be in line with the rapid changes across the Kingdom.
For his part, Mr. Youssef Al-Hamad expressed the pleasure of the Fund to contribute to the financing of development projects and socio-economic development in Morocco, noting that AFESD contribution to the TGV project is the first of its kind in the Arab world. He also welcomed the experience of the Kingdom and AFESD, a "successful"pilot experiment, that causes the appreciation of several Arab countries. After recalling the projects financed by AFESD in Morocco, Mr. Youssef Al Hamad wishes that the cooperation between Morocco and the funds will consolidate and further expand to support the kingdom?s sustained growth at all levels.
For his part, the Director General of ONCF stated that the TGV project in Morocco is part of an ambitious program adopted by ONCF to provide the country with new generations of high performance and high speed trains, offering a range of high quality services.
The fulfillment of this project will have positive impact on sustainable development, land use planning, growth, mobility and competitiveness, indicated the CEO of ONCF, adding that the railway line, 350 km long, that should become operational in 2015, will significantly reduce the travel time between Tangier and Casablanca.