Since 2014, AFD has been financing the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project in Amman, Jordan. How has AFD been supporting this project?
Luc Le Cabellec: There are three aspects to our support for Greater Amman Municipality (GAM): firstly, we are supporting GAM’s financial and accounting management with the World Bank (WB) and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Secondly, we are supporting the implementation of the project to build BRT infrastructure with assistance to the contracting authority. Thirdly, the preparation of the commissioning: the BRT is not simply about building new infrastructure, it is above all a founding project for the organization of urban transport.
As a financial partner of GAM, AFD has both a financial responsibility and a commitment to share its experience in similar projects, bearing in mind that this project is the first of its kind in Amman. In this case, AFD’s development mission is to identify GAM’s capacity building needs and accompany it on this path.
Has technical and financial assistance also been provided?
Arnaud Desmarchelier: Financially speaking, resident technical assistance is being provided in GAM’s Financial Department. An Expertise France consultant has also worked on improving the quality of data and there has been technical assistance for the reconciliation of Greater Amman’s debt.
Technically speaking, resident technical assistance has been provided to the BRT to improve the contracting authority’s capacity for managing this type of large-scale project, conducting studies, planning tasks and works, and for procurement and reporting.
AFD has also supported GAM by financing intellectual services and studies to assist with the award of the concession and operation of the BRT. A total of some €1.3 million has been committed between 2018 and 2020.
What progress has the municipality achieved?
A. D.: The infrastructure part of the project has made reasonable progress. However, it is essential to make the same progress in terms of planning the operation.
L. L. C.: The mayor has a vision of the city, to promote its heritage and provide a level of services expected from a capital city with 5 million inhabitants. The remaining challenges for the municipality are to develop an operational capacity in line with its objectives by modernizing its management.
For mobility, the challenge lies in integrating the BRT, which has been designed to be the backbone of public transport in Amman, with private operators (taxis, shuttles) and the sharply rising private vehicle traffic.
Above all, it's about making city travel easier and more affordable.