The Internation Finance Corporation has arranged finances of EUR 85 million (US$ 93.66 million) for the Gabon rail PPP project. The IFC-arranged financing includes a EUR 35 million (US$ 38.56 million) loan from IFC’s account, EUR 17.5 million (US$ 19.28 million) from IFC’s Managed Co-Lending Portfolio Program, and a EUR 32.5 million (US$ 35.81 million) parallel loan from Proparco, the private sector financing arm of the French Development Agency.
These finances will help in the rehabilitation of the railway infrastructure and overhaul of operating procedures, which are scheduled to be completed in 2022. After the rehabilitation, the daily transport capacity of the rail line will double to 16 train roundtrips. This will effectively add the equivalent of up to 20 million tons per year of long-haul mining transport capacity. This added capacity will be delivered at a lower cost: projected transport tariffs are expected to decrease by at least 15 percent in real terms by 2022, compared to 2015, when the project was launched.
A better railway system will play a transformational role. By reliably transporting manganese, wood products, and agricultural products bound for export, the rehabilitated Transgabonais—a single-track, standard gauge line that links the city of Franceville in Gabon’s eastern mining region via 23 stations to its main port of Owendo—can contribute to Gabon’s economic diversification.