A consortium led by the local Ominium Nord-Africain (ONA) has been selected as the private partner for the world’s first public private partnership (PPP) irrigation project in the citrus-growing region of Guerdane.

The other consortium members are the local Caisse de Depot & Gestion, France’s Compagnie Nationale d’Amenagement de la Region du Bas-Rhone & du Languedocand Infrastructure Development & Managementof Austria.

Under the terms of the agreement, the consortium will enter into a 30-year concession for the construction, co-financing and management of an irrigation network covering 10,000 hectares in Guerdane. The network will channel water from a dam complex located 64 kilometres east of Guerdane to some 600 citrus farmers.

The estimated cost of the project is $85 million, of which Rabat will provide about $50 million – half as a loan and half in grant form. The remaining $35 million will come from the consortium.

The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank, advised the government on the project. France’s FASEP-Etudes provided a technical assistance grant.