26.11.2008 | PR36/2008
36/2008 November 26, 2008 Vienna, Austria
The OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) yesterday signed a loan agreement of €30 million (US$45.7 million) with the Republic of Turkey to help finance a light rail transportation project in Samsun, a city located in the north on the coast of the Black Sea. The agreement was signed on behalf of OFID by Mr. Suleiman J. Al-Herbish, OFID Director-General, and by Mr. Yusuf Ziya Yilmaz, Mayor of the Metropolitan Municipality of Samsun.
Transport demand has grown significantly in Turkey over the past five decades, increasing at an annual rate of nearly 8% since 1950. Like other ‘Greater Municipalities’ in the country, Samsun has felt the impact of this growth. Not only is Samsun the largest port on the Black Sea, it is also the regional administrative center and a commercial, industrial and export hub. Serving a population of 430,000, the city’s roads are subject to heavy congestion, making travel difficult and slow for commuters.
This project is part of a transportation master plan for the city, which seeks to establish an efficient mass public transport system. Comprising the first 15 km of a 30 km urban light rail line, the project will construct a double-track line linking the city’s coastal areas, including the port and industrial park, with the city center. At full development, the project will facilitate economic activity and contribute to the overall improvement of urban life.
Development cooperation between OFID and the Republic of Turkey have spanned almost three decades. In addition to the present loan, financing of US$30 million was approved in 2006 to support a project that will construct a portion of the Antalya Light Rail System Line. Earlier loans provided balance of payments support, while others were directed towards an irrigation improvement scheme and a Sivas-Erzincan development project.