Tunisia: [euro]160 million cash boost for domestic rail network.


Efficient transport links and in particular railways, have long been recognised as a key driver of economic development in countries across the globe. Transport links between nation states are important be they via ports, airports, railway or highway but the efficiency and accessibility of internal domestic links are equally vital for the smooth running of a proficient domestic economy.

Recently the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development (EBRD) has approved a loan which will see the upgrade and renovation of two key routes in Tunisia's railway infrastructure. Funds will be used to enhance the network's capacity and performance, providing a safer and more reliable service to thousands of passengers across the Arab/North African state.

A [euro]160 million loan from EBRD will help Societe Nationale des Chemins de Fer Tunisiens (SNCFT) to create additional capacity on the railway network to address overcrowding on trains and to improve service reliability and quality The financing will contribute to the upgrade and realignment of the existing Tunis-Kasserine railway line improving the connection between the two cities and enabling the flow of goods services and people across the rail network contributing to better integration between the country's North West and Centre West governorates and the capital city of Tunis.

In line with the EBRD's green economy policy a number of measures will be employed to address the growing number of passengers in the increasingly urbanised areas served by the central coastal railway line of Tunisia which will also have energy saving benefits.

Meanwhile the Suburban Southern coastal (Sahel) rail line between the towns of Moknine and Mahdia will be extended and electrified and the purchase of six modern electric trains will contribute to energy savings and the reduction of carbon emissions by as much as 14 000 tonnes annually As an added benefit it is estimated that an improved railway service will help decreasing vehicle traffic on Tunisia's highway network by 10 million vehicles per kilometre per year by 2021.

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