Azerbaijan, WB sign loan agreement for major railway project
Azerbaijan, Baku, Sept. 20 /Trend A.Akhundov/
On Friday Azerbaijani government and the World Bank (WB) signed an agreement on granting additional funds by the bank for the implementation of country's railway project (Rail Trade and Transport Facilitation Project) worth of $ 220 million, WB Baku Office told Trend.
The representative office said that the loan agreement was signed by Azerbaijani Minister of Finance Samir Sharifov and the head of the bank's representative office in Azerbaijan Larisa Leshchenko, and the project agreement was signed by Azerbaijani Minister of Transport Ziya Mammadov and the head of the bank's representative office Larisa Leshchenko.
The Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank approved allocation of additional financing in June 2013.
The project supports implementation of Azerbaijan's national railway development program aimed at improving railway services in the country, developing the trade and attracting transit cargo between Europe and Central Asia.
Railway transport is an important element of Azerbaijan's economic diversification strategy. Income in this sector was equal to five percent of non-oil exports in 2012. By investing in railway infrastructure, Azerbaijan intends to achieve an increase in volumes of transit in the Central Asian and Black Sea regions, thus benefiting from the country's geographical location as the shortest route between Central Asia and Europe.
The initial amount of the project's funding from the World Bank amounted $450 million. Additional funding will be allocated for the modernisation of railway signalling system for the East- West corridor from Baku to the Georgian border.
The investment portfolio of the World Bank in Azerbaijan includes 17 projects. Since Azerbaijan's joining the World Bank, 54 projects worth more than $3 billion have been financed by the bank.