AfDB, Morocco ink US $134.65 million loan agreement to improve social protection and inclusion

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) and Morocco have signed a loan agreement amounting to US $134.65 million to improve social protection and inclusion in the Kingdom.

“The Social Protection Governance Support Programme is an ambitious one,” said AfDB Acting Vice-President for Agriculture, Water, Human Development, Governance and Natural Resources, Kapil Kapoor. “As a result of this program, approximately 250,000 workers and their dependents, as well as 288,000 students, will be enrolled in medical insurance programs.

“Some 40 centres that specialize in providing assistance to women in distress will be established. Government subsidies will be reprogrammed, which will allow Government to allocate an additional 1 billion Dirhams per year to the Ministry of Health, to be used for improving health services. And the program will boost human capital creation by supporting Government in enrolling 50% of the children in pre-school education by 2020,” Kapoor added.

He seized the opportunity to acknowledge the exemplary collaboration between Morocco and the AfDB. The rapid signature of the loan agreement, two days only after its approval by AfDB’s Board of Directors, is a clear demonstration of this spirit of collaboration.

Morocco's Ambassador in Côte d’Ivoire, Mustapha Jebari, stressed the importance of this project and its direct tangible effects on the population, especially women and people in vulnerable situations. “The Kingdom attaches top priority to all programs and initiatives aimed improving the quality of social services, especially in terms of social and healthcare protection,” he said.

The project marks the continuation of a long collaboration between Morocco and AfDB in the social sectors. This collaboration started in the education sector and subsequently covered the reform of basic medical coverage, which was supported by the AfDB through three successive budget support operations, from 2002 to 2014.

This new programme aims to improve the social protection of the population of Morocco, especially women and people in situations of vulnerability. It will do so by supporting the Government’s initiatives to improve the governance mechanisms of social protection, value for money, social protection coverage and the quality of social protection services.

Ultimately, the programme will further reduce poverty and curb social disparities by improving and ensuring more equitable access to social protection services as well as more efficient and sustainable social protection.

The programme will specifically benefit the most vulnerable Moroccans, especially women, disadvantaged children and youth, persons with disabilities and workers who have lost their jobs or been victims of workplace accidents. The programme will support the Government’s efforts to expand coverage of social protection to self-employed workers.

With this new programme, AfDB’s cumulative commitments in the country since 1967 stand at €8.25 billion, with an active portfolio worth €1.92 billion.