AfDB and Morocco Sign Loan and Grant Agreements
The AfDB and Morocco on Friday, May 8, 2009, in Rabat, signed two loan agreements, one guarantee agreement and one grant agreement for three different operations in education, transport and water management sectors. The agreements are worth €317 million, €75 million of which is for the National Education Emergency Programme, € 240 million to finance the Third Airport Project and € 1.892 million grant resources from the African Water Facility to finance the Haouz Water Table Artificial Rehabilitation Pilot Project from the Ghmat water table.
The national education emergency programme is a programme involving the country’s educational and vocational training systems. It aims at attaining universal education and improving the quality of teaching and performance of the Moroccan educational system. It supports government’s efforts in the areas of skills training, poverty reduction under the national human development initiative and the attainment of MDGs by 2015. The project’s expected outputs are as follows:
- the reform of the educational and training systems to enable them meet the country’s development needs
- the generalization of mandatory education up to the age of 15;
- the stimulation of initiatives and excellence at both the secondary and high school levels;
- the finalization of the decentralization process; and
- the rational management of resources and the introduction of a result-based management culture.
The third airport project forms part of the National Airport Office’s strategic investment plan for the period 2008-2012. It aims at improving of air transport competitiveness with a view to ensuring efficient and quality services in line with international standards. Specifically, the project’s objective is to increase the airport’s operational capacities by upgrading its infrastructure, extending the flight navigational system and reinforcing the ground security installations. It concerns, in particular, the Casablanca, Fez, Agadir, Marrakech and Rabat airports which handle the bulk of air traffic to and from Morocco, registering a total of 12 million passengers in 2007, or 91% of the country’s total traffic. Its implementation will, among other things, ensure:
- a substantial increase in the country’s airport services and greater navigational security in the country;
- the certification of the country’s airports;
- the creation of about 30,000 jobs, especially in the tourism and artisanal sectors; and
- more competitive tourist products.
The third operation concerns the Haouz water basin which covers an area of 6,000km2 and constitutes a strategic resource in the Marrakech Tensift Al Haouz Region. Unfortunately, the over-exploitation of this water table has reduced its water supply level to about 20m over the last 25 years. The proposed Oued Ghmat water table rehabilitation pilot project will help the State Secretary for Water and the Environment (SEEE) and the Tensift Water Basin Authority ( ABHT) to monitor the artificial refilling process, document the acquired experience in order to have necessary and reliable information for the popularization of this technical solution designed to optimize water resources management in other regions of the country thereby improving the people’s living conditions by ensuring the availability of water.
The above-mentioned projects are form part of development donor agencies drive for inter-agency operational complementarities in the sectors of education, transport, and water. With the signature of these agreements, the Bank reaffirms its support to the major projects and programmes being executed in the economic and social infrastructural sectors in Morocco, and which absorb more than 80% of Bank interventions in the country.
The Bank’s active portfolio in the country with these three new operations comprises, to date, 16 operations, 3 of which are technical assistance programmes financed with resources from the Middle Income Countries Facility worth some €1.3 billion, with a disbursement rate as at April 30, 2009, of 54 % (excluding new operations whose loan agreements have not yet been signed and whose implementation is not yet effective), which is a good performance.
The AfDB was represented by its Resident Representative in Morocco, J. S. Matondo-Fundani while the country’s Finance Minister, Salaheddine Mezour, signed for his country and the National Airports Director General, Abdelhanine Benallou, signed for his instition. The signing ceremony was attended by the country’s Higher Education Minister, Ahmed Akhchichine; Transport Minister, Karim Ghellab; and Secretary of State at the Ministry of Water and Minies, Addel Zahoud.