This loan attests to the strong partnership between the two countries and the interest of Kuwait in Morocco’s strategic development projects, said Morocco’s economy and finance minister Mohamed Boussaid who signed the agreement in Rabat Tuesday with the director of the Kuwaiti Fund Ahmed Al Badr and the director general of Morocco’s railways (ONCF) Mohamed Rabie Khlie.
The event was an occasion to highlight the significance of the TGV, which will be the first of its kind to operate in Africa, as part of the flagship projects launched by Morocco under the leadership of King Mohammed VI.
The setting up of a modern rail system is conducive to boosting Morocco’s economic development notably between the two industrial hubs of Tangier and Casablanca, said the Moroccan Minister.
The Kuwaiti Fund finances several development and social projects in Morocco, underscored Al Badr, noting that it has already loaned $85 million to Morocco to achieve the first phase of the TGV, which brings the Fund’s overall contribution to $130 million.
For his part, Khlie said that works to complete the TGV line between Casablanca and Tangier have reached a progress rate of 91%.
The project is expected to be ready by the end of 2017 and the first quarter of 2018 will be dedicated to technical tests before the official launch.
These massive investments aim at upgrading Morocco’s railways with a view to lay the foundations for an efficient and modern rail transport system, Khlie added.
The TGV has set the target of transporting 6 million passengers a year with departures every hour from Casablanca and Tangier, with the aim to achieve an average occupancy rate of 70%.
Morocco bought 12 high-speed trains from France’ train manufacturer, Alstom. The trains will operate at 320km/h on the high-speed line to achieve a Tangiers – Casablanca journey time of 2h 10min, instead of 4h 45min today.
Morocco’s TGV costs about $1.9 billion, largely funded by France, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.