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A new landmark Partnership for Sustainable Development in North Macedonia: French Development Agency (AFD) provides €50 million for green and social investments
A partnership Agreement was signed today between Infrastruktura Železnice Srbije (IZS), Agence Française de Développement (AFD), and SNCF (the French national railways).

IZS, SNCF and AFD have collaboratively inked a partnership aimed at modernizing Serbia’s railway infrastructure. This tripartite agreement, mobilizing a €500,000 grant from AFD, was ceremonially signed today at the Palace of Serbia in Belgrade, in presence of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia, Ana Brnabić, and the French Minister for Foreign Trade, Olivier Becht.

In line with the priorities identified for the successful development of the Serbian railway network and services, SNCF experts will support their IZS peers sharing their experience on infrastructure maintenance and enhancement of railway stations' management. This collaboration will go hand-in-hand with the implementation of the Serbia Railway Sector Modernization Project, a €400 million multi-annual investment and technical assistance program jointly supported by AFD and the World Bank.

H.E. Ms Ana Brnabić, Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia, stated during the ceremony: "This agreement exemplifies Serbia's commitment to sustainable and efficient transportation. We're thrilled to have both French expertise and financial support on this journey towards a modernized and efficient railway system, serving our citizens and companies’ needs."

In his speech, H.E. Mr. Olivier Becht, French Minister for Trade, replied, "By undertaking the launch of an ambitious investment program for the modernization of its railway infrastructures, Serbia prioritizes an efficient and carbon-efficient mode of transport. Serbia’s choice reflects France’s solid expertise in the transport sector.” Through the partnership signed today, he confirmed the full mobilization of AFD, SNCF, and all actors in the French railway sector, to support Serbia in this virtuous dynamic.

Mr. Arnaud Dauphin, Director of AFD's Western Balkans office, added that this signature marked another significant milestone in AFD's mission to support Serbia in its Green Agenda. It clearly echoed IZS CEO Mr. Nebojsa Surlan's priority of bringing Serbia's rail infrastructure up to European Union standards, enhancing both safety and efficiency. "Peer-to-peer exchange is a great tool for learning from each other and improving our daily ways of doing things", finally summed up Mr. Jean-Christophe Rouja, Director for Europe and Africa at SNCF International.

About AFD

AFD Group contributes to the implementation of France’s policies for sustainable development and international solidarity. The Group includes Agence française de développement (AFD), which finances the public sector, NGOs, research and training; its subsidiary Proparco, which is dedicated to the private sector; and Expertise France, a technical cooperation agency. The Group finances, supports and accelerates the transitions needed for a fairer, more resilient world. AFD Group is present in the Western Balkans since 2019 and has been given a mandate to support countries in the region to meet EU standards and implement the Paris Agreement on climate change towards an inclusive and low-carbon growth trajectory. Since then, more than €1 billion has been committed by AFD in the Western Balkans region, of which € 630 million in Serbia by end of 2023.

About IZS

Infrastruktura Železnice Srbije is a joint-stock company for the management of public railway infrastructure in Serbia, established on August 10, 2015. Its activities includes the management of public railway infrastructure, in the part of maintaining public railway infrastructure, organizing and regulating railway traffic, ensuring access and use of public railway infrastructure to all interested railway carriers, as well as legal and physical persons who carry out transport for their own needs, as well as the protection of public railway infrastructure. The company performs activities of general interest, in accordance with the relevant laws of the Republic of Serbia.

About SNCF

SNCF Group is a global leader in passenger and freight transport services, including management of the French rail network. Its revenue totalled €41.4 billion in 2022, with international markets accounting for nearly 40%. The Group covers 170 countries and has 276,000 employees, with over half in its core rail business and nearly 210,000 working in France. The Group consists of a parent (SNCF) and five subsidiaries: SNCF RÉSEAU (management, operation and maintenance of the French rail network, plus railway engineering) with its own subsidiary SNCF GARES & CONNEXIONS (station design, management and development); SNCF VOYAGEURS and its subsidiaries Transilien (mass transit in the Paris region), TER (regional rail) and INTERCITÉS, TGV INOUI, OUIGO (long-distance rail), Eurostar-Thalys, Alleo and Lyria (international rail), and SNCF Connect (distribution); KEOLIS (a global operator of urban, suburban and regional mass transit systems); Rail Logistics Europe (rail freight); and GEODIS (freight transport and logistics solutions). SNCF Group works closely with customers—passengers, local authorities, shippers and railway operators using SNCF Réseau services—and with local communities, building on its expertise in all aspects of rail and all types of transport, and working towards a dynamic, caring, sustainable society. Learn more at sncf.com.

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