AIIB to finance Oman’s transport projects

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Oman will receive finance to the tune of $301 million from Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) for developing two major transport projects in the country. The bank’s board has already approved the funding for the maritime infrastructure at Duqm Port and for the country’s first railway system. This is the first project financing by AIIB in the Arabian Peninsula, Times of Oman newspaper reported.

The bank’s assistance consists of $265 million towards Oman’s maritime infrastructure at Duqm Port and $36 million to prepare the country’s first railway system. After successful completion, the projects are expected to enhance economic prospects in Oman and provide more efficient and effective maritime trade links to other bank members, both in the Gulf and other regions.

Duqm Port is strategically located with the potential to become a regional logistics hub with an economic footprint far beyond Oman’s borders. The AIIB recognises its importance and has supported its development. These projects are also among the first projects the bank is financing individually.

I am pleased the bank will be able to help the government of Oman diversify its economy through the approval of these two projects – the bank’s first in the Arabian Peninsula. The bank’s capacity to prepare such important projects is developing rapidly. We have a strong pipeline of investments for next year and we will continue working hard to help develop the sustainable infrastructure that Asia needs,” said the bank’s president Jin Liqun.

These two projects bring the total amount of loans approved so far by the bank in its first year of operations to $1,130 million.

World-class railway network

“These are the bank’s first port and railway projects and help us to build our capacity in these important sectors. Our support will also help Oman prepare to develop a world-class railway network and manage it in a highly professional manner, as well as opening up other investment opportunities for the public and private sectors,” said the bank’s vice-president and chief investment officer DJ Pandian.

Situated on the southeastern seaboard of the Sultanate of Oman, overlooking the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean, Port of Duqm is fast becoming an important reality of the Middle East region rapidly transforming maritime landscape. With its deep draft, lengthy quay walls, and expansive basin, Port of Duqm has the trappings of a world-class, multipurpose commercial gateway.  And as the principal anchor of a huge Special Economic Zone envisioned at Duqm, it also has the potential to develop into one of the Middle East’s largest ports.

At the heart of Port of Duqm’s appeal is its strategic geopolitical location, far from the Strait of Hormuz and the Arabian Gulf. It is this advantageous location that the Omani government seeks to leverage as it sets out to position Duqm as a safe, stable and business-friendly destination for industrial and economic investment.

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