Ivory Coast formalized an almost 1.4 billion euro ($1.5 billion) agreement with a unit of Bouygues SA for an urban railway known as Metro d’Abidjan that’s being built in the commercial capital to ease congestion.
France, the former colonial power that still has close ties to the West African nation, agreed in 2017 to fund the entire project as part of a package of mainly concessional loans, on condition that French companies could build the 37-kilometer railway project. While works started that year, no formal accord was signed until now.
Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara said last year that a high-level committee with finance ministers from both countries would be created to remove obstacles to the disbursement of funds. He didn’t specify what the obstacles were.
The train can carry 530,000 passengers daily, according to a statement Tuesday from the office of Ivory Coast’s prime minister.
Inadequate transport infrastructure is contributing to inequality in the world’s top cocoa grower, according to the World Bank. It estimates that traveling costs in Abidjan are the third-biggest expense of those who commute.