WB conducts inspection of railway project in Azerbaijan

Business Materials 31 March 2015 20:03 (UTC +04:00)

Baku, Azerbaijan, March 31

By Elyaz Shafiyev - Trend:

A mission of the World Bank (WB), headed by Antoine County, the senior specialist on rail transport, is on a visit in Azerbaijan to review the implementation of Rail Trade and Transport Facilitation Project, Baku office of the bank told Trend March 31.

The mission will stay in the country until April 10.

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 while its total value is $673 million. The loan was approved at the Board of Directors of the bank on March 27, 2008. The credit resources were provided on the conditions of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development for 17 years, including a four-year grace period. The loan provides for the purchase of new locomotives, railway transfer from the direct current to the alternating current, reconstruction of communication system and signal system, overhaul of 240 kilometers of road, the introduction of international financial reporting system.

In 2013, the World Bank approved additional funding of $220 million. These funds will be used to modernize the signaling, interlocking and blocking system for the corridor "East-West" on the section from Baku until the Georgian border.

Since Azerbaijan's joining the World Bank, 54 projects worth more than $3 billion have been financed by the bank. By January 1, 2015, Azerbaijan spent $2.297 billion, or 66.4 percent of total loans borrowed from the World Bank.

Edited by CN