If you are a businessman hoping to invest in Morocco’s domestic economy but have doubts, this modern world-class infrastructure should give you second thoughts.
The high-speed train in Morocco, which is the first of its kind in Africa is ready to take off and is expected to boost the country’s economy, alongside the country’s solar power plant and major ports projects.
The French-made high-speed trains that are being tested can reach speeds of 200 miles per hour and would ultimately cut down journey times between the country’s key economic hubs by almost two thirds.
Officials say the 215-mile journey from the port city and commercial hub, Casablanca to Tangier via the capital city of Rabat will now take just over two hours, rather than five hours when the service launches by June this year.
The $2 billion project which has been in the pipeline for almost a decade, is funded by the governments of Morocco, France, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the UAE. French conglomerate Alstom will supply a total of 14 of the high-speed trains and each will carry 533 passengers.
The national railway operator, the ONCF is expecting the project to attract six million travellers within its first three years with other expansions in the North African country planned for the next three decades.
“We aim at six million passengers a year after three years of commercial operation, instead of three million currently,” Mohamed Rabie Khlie, director general of national rail operator ONCF, told Le Monde in a recent interview. “This should enable us to achieve an operating margin that far exceeds that of conventional trains and will justify the development.”
In effect, the Tangiers-Casablanca route is expected to sharply increase passenger numbers to boost tourism and economic growth in the cities.
The government of Morocco is also hopeful that the trains will bring wealth and honour to the country, but some people are not excited. To them, the money spent on those trains could have been well spent in the country where so many people are living in poverty.