The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a $112.3-million loan to Morocco for the improvement of infrastructure on the Tangier–Casablanca–Marrakech railway route.
Allocated to the Moroccan National Railways Office (ONCF), the funds would be used to develop a dual rail line between the cities of Settat and Marrakech.
The doubling of this 142 km stretch was expected to generate time-savings and allow increased passenger and freight traffic between Casablanca, the economic capital of the Kingdom of Morocco, and Marrakech, its main tourist centre.
The yearly passenger volume could, according to the AfDB, increase from the current 4.5-million to more than 7.4-million in 2020, when works were due to be completed. Freight volumes could also more than double.
The funding announcement extended cooperation between the bank and the ONCF and followed the granting of a $396-million AfDB loan in 2010 to modernise other sections of the Tangier–Casablanca–Marrakech line.
These successive investments were a response to the rapid increase in demand for transport in recent years, the AfDB noted.
Passenger volumes between Casablanca and Marrakech had increased by nearly 20% between 2010 and 2014.
“The quality of rail transport is a pull factor for economic actors. The promotion of rail is in line with the bank’s desire to invest in modes of transport that are effective, sustainable and low carbon dioxide emitters,” commented AfDB transport and information communication technology director Amadou Oumarou.