MOROCCO – The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has announced a €19.2 million (US$19.50m) investment in a green bond issue by Morocco’s national railway operator Office National des Chemins de Fer du Maroc (ONCF).

The investment in a certified green bond of €95 million (US$96.50m) by the rail operator will be utilised for the refinancing of debt used for the construction of an electrified high-speed rail line in the country.

The EBRD is the only international investor in the bond, which will be aligned with the Low Carbon Land Transport Criteria of the Climate Bonds Standard as verified via a second party opinion and certified by the Climate Bonds Standard Board.

It will also benefit from a guarantee provided by state guarantee provider Tamwilcom.

The Al Boraq train started operating in Morocco in 2018 as the first high-speed railway system in Africa. The electrified high-speed passenger rail line significantly reduces rail journey times between the major economic centres of Tangier and Casablanca.

It promotes a modal shift from more carbon intensive alternatives (road and air transport) to more environmentally friendly electrified rail transport and will allow for further economic integration of these two key cities, supporting private-sector development and economic growth.

This first cooperation between the EBRD and ONCF is a significant milestone, supporting Morocco’s first green bond in the infrastructure sector and building on ONCF’s impressive track record in this area. This will act 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 (US$3.56bn) in the country through 88 projects.

By supporting private-sector development and economic growth, the line is also anticipated to facilitate the further economic integration of these two major cities.

Recently, EBRD announced that is supporting Morocco’s financial system and the country’s transition to a green economy by helping to develop its capital market.

At EBRD’s 31st Annual Meeting and Business Forum in Marrakech, the EBRD and Bank of Africa (BOA) signed a technical cooperation agreement to develop a green sustainable finance framework for BOA ahead of its first social bond issuance.

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