Morocco invests in new high-speed rail infrastructure

Morocco is moving full steam ahead with its first green bond investment for its high-speed rail infrastructure from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

As the first and only investor, the EBRD aligns itself with the Terrestrial Carbon Transport Criteria of Morocco’s Climate Bonds Standard. An amount of 200 million MAD (equivalent to 19.2 million euros) in green bonds will be granted to the Moroccan National Railways Office (ONCF) of the rail operator.

This investment in rail infrastructure will be used to refinance the debt used to build an electrified high-speed rail line in the country. The Al Boraq train started operating in Morocco in 2018 as Africa’s first high-speed rail system. The electrified high-speed rail line for passengers considerably reduces rail journey times between the major economic centers of Tangier and Casablanca.

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It promotes a modal shift from more carbon-intensive alternatives (road and air transport) to electrified rail transport that is more respectful of the environment. It also allows for greater economic integration of these two key cities, supporting private sector development and economic growth.

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This first cooperation between the EBRD and ONCF is an important step, supporting Morocco’s first green bond in the infrastructure sector and building on ONCF’s impressive track record in this area. This will serve as a platform for further cooperation on green initiatives.

Morocco is a founding member of the EBRD and became a country of operations in 2012. To date, the EBRD has invested more than €3.5 billion in the country through 88 projects.

Jose P. Rogers