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AFD supports SNCF in the modernisation of the rail sector in Serbia
AFD is supporting the implementation of phases 1 and 2 of the multi-annual modernization program for the Serbian railway sector, through a technical cooperation between the French national railway company (SNCF) and its Serbian counterpart, Infrastruktura železnice srbije (IZS).

As part of the revitalization of the railway sector, the serbian government has requested technical and financial support from the World Bank and AFD for the deployment of a multi-annual program for the institutional, physical and operational modernizaton of the railway sector for a total amount of 400 million euros. The first phase of the 102 million euros financing, co-financed in equal parts by AFD and the World Bank, and formalized in 2021, includes the renovation of certain railway infrastructures, with a priority given to urban planning, safety (level crossings) and the improvement of asset management.

€ 130M financing (€ 65M AFD/€ 65M World Bank), is in process of approval and will finance the purchase of maintenance equipment and the development of a strategy for network maintenance.


Supporting the ambitious program, AFD and the French authorities have set up FEXTE technical cooperation based on a peer-to-peer exchange between French (SNCF) and Serbian (IZS – Infrastruktura železnice srbije) railway companies. The two main fields of application are the management and development of stations and the maintenance of infrastructures. A third part concerns the overall vision of the rail system by putting into perspective the last 20 years of reforms and alignment with the acquis of the European Union.

The SNCF's technical expertise will help the IZS identify the gaps between the current state and a modern, efficient infrastructure management model, backed by a sustainable economic model. With regard to the management and promotion of stations, the challenge of this cooperation is to help the IZS to define an organization and management methods by taking inspiration from the examples and good practices observed in France and in the EU. This partnership will also include study trips to France.


The expected result is to strengthen the organization and the human capital of IZS for the maintenance of the Serbian railway network including the high-speed lines and the conventional network in Serbia. The other expected result is to support IZS in developing an initial strategy for managing the operation, development and maintenance of stations. The support provided by SNCF to IZS will thus make it possible to share French approaches and best practices in the sector, and to guide the choice of standards, technical specifications for maintenance equipment and associated specifications.

The establishment of FEXTE will thus make it possible to consolidate the positioning of AFD and the French railway ecosystem in this sector in Serbia, the development of which constitutes an important axis for the implementation of the green agenda for the Western Balkans.

Project start date
2 years
Duration of funding
500 000
Financing amount
Infrastruktura železnice srbije (IZS)