EIB finances new suburban rail network in Tunis

EIB finances new suburban rail network in Tunis

  •  Release date: 09 November 2017
  •  Reference: 2017-309-EN

With this new financing operation with the Republic of Tunisia and Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Tunisiens (SNCFT), the European Investment Bank (EIB) is increasing its support for the development of high-performance, sustainable urban transport infrastructure that is accessible to Tunisians living in the outlying districts of Tunis. More than 15 600 jobs will be created thanks to the development of this rail project, which will provide the city of Tunis with a new 17 km express transport system (Lines D and E).

H.E. Zied Ladhari, Minister of Development, Investment and International Cooperation (MDICI), and Ms Flavia Palanza, the EIB's Director of Operations in Neighbouring Countries, signed a EUR 83m finance contract today in Tunis in support of the construction and commissioning of the new express railway network in Tunis. The project aims to reduce traffic congestion on access roads to the capital while reducing air and noise pollution and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.  

The first section of Line D connecting Tunis with Gobaa is 11.3 km long and serves nine stations along the existing Tunis-Algiers international rail line while the first section of Line E connecting Tunis with Bougatfa is 8.2 km long and serves seven stations.

This new loan will enable 28 trainsets needed for the new express transport system to be acquired and the first lines are scheduled to start operating in October 2018. It will also help to finance the construction of new infrastructure essential for this network such as a maintenance centre and additional parking spaces at the terminus stations.

“With this new loan, the EIB is demonstrating its firm commitment to innovation, transport and combating climate change, the keystone of sustainable development focused on the future. The aim is to provide Tunisia with high-performance, sustainable, job-creating infrastructure. I also welcome the direct impact this infrastructure will have in terms of improving the daily lives of Tunisians", said Ms Palanza, the EIB's Director of Operations in Neighbouring Countries.

It is important to emphasise that the financing of this project will help to serve an area of some 620 000 inhabitants, thereby increasing the share of public transport in the city to 40%. The introduction of this new service will certainly raise the attractiveness of public transport compared to private cars and optimise bus services, thus reducing overall CO2 emissions into the atmosphere from urban transport.

The EIB has a long-standing, high-quality partnership with the Republic of Tunisia with 75 operations signed to date. Since 1988, the Bank has financed four rail projects there totalling EUR 186m, including the first operation to finance the Tunis express rail network project. 

This EIB financing operation comes under the Neighbourhood Policy of the European Union, whose support for the upgrading of infrastructure vital to the daily lives of the local population is a central plank of its activity. It is also consistent with the priorities of the Economic Resilience Initiative launched by the EIB in support of job creation in countries impacted by the refugee crisis. 

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