French President Emmanuel Macron is set to arrive in Morocco on November 15 at King Mohammed VI’s request.
The train was originally scheduled to be finished in 2015 but was later postponed to 2017. After a series of delays, however, the project was set to complete in the fall of 2018 and will finally launch next week.
Quoting the presidency, Reuters reported that the LGV is a “flagship project of the bilateral relationship” between the two countries.
The first of its kind in Africa, the 200-kilometer long LGV will link Casablanca and Tangier in two hours and 15 minutes instead of the usual 5 hour train ride.
Several French companies collaborated in the construction and furnishing of the LGV, including SNCF, Alstom, Cegelec, and Ansaldo-Ineo.
King Mohammed VI and former French President Nicolas Sarkozy launched the project in 2007. Construction was launched four years later in 2011.
The project cost €2 billion. According to BFMTV, the French government “is engaged in financing 51 percent through various loans, including one granted by the French development agency of 220 million euros. This cost represents a budget approximately 15% higher than the initial estimate of 1.8 billion euros, calculated in 2007 at the launch of the project.”
Morocco received a loan of €80 million from the French Development Agency (AFD) to fund the last segment of the Tangier-Casablanca high-speed train project in October 2017.
AFD’s loan followed the French agency’s initial grant of €220 million in 2011 to begin the project. Morocco and France maintain strong diplomatic ties. In the latest expression of the relationship, a French official applauded French-Moroccan cooperation on October 31.