Morocco: AfDB Approves €45 Million Loan in Support of Second National Rural Roads Programme (NRRP2)
Tunis, 5 September 2007 – Efforts by the Moroccan government to improve the country’s rural road network received a boost from the African Development Bank on Wednesday, in Tunis, following the approval of a 38.71 million Units of Account (UA*) loan, equivalent to €45 million by the Board of Directors of the Bank, in support of the country’s Second National Rural Roads Programme (NRRP2).
The objective of the programme is to provide access to the rural population and improve rural transport services, with the ultimate goal of reducing poverty in rural areas and bridging regional income disparities.
Rural roads covered by the Bank-financed programme fall under the first phase of the NRRP2, which involves transforming about 65% of rural roads into paved roads and 35% into earth roads. The Bank’s intervention will entail the construction of 460km of six-metre wide paved roads of sub-grade including one-metre wide shoulders on each side with a four-metre wide double-layer surfacing of the central strip; 226 km of earth roads of the same width but with intensive compaction of the final layer of the sub-grade; and, construction of drainage structures and signposting. In addition, box drains, culverts and gutters will be constructed in the regions with irregular rainfall.
The project is expected to make positive impacts on the population of the area including the:
- Improvement of rural accessibility and trade, thereby improving the living standards of the population;
- Provision of facilities and support measures to enhance road safety, particularly around schools;
- Reduction of air and noise pollution for people living along the roads;
- Improvement of access to hospitals and schools that should help reduce maternal mortality and increase in primary school enrolment, especially for girls;
- Creation of jobs during the construction and operation phases of the programme.
The NRRP2 covers all 23 provinces of the Kingdom. The project area spans the territory of Morocco, and more specifically, agricultural regions which are generally landlocked areas. Despite the constraints of remoteness and the vulnerability of the agricultural sector to the vagaries of the weather, annual agricultural production from the project area substantially impacts on GDP growth and household incomes owing to the size of the active population which derives its livelihood from the sector and the consumption patterns of the population which tends to favour local products. Agricultural activities in the programme area account for up to 14% on average of GDP, thus emerging as a key area of the Moroccan economy. Rural agriculture in Morocco has a large traditional component dominated by cereals and food crops, an irrigation farming component developed by large holdings producing mainly cereals and beet sugar as well as the high value-added component of fresh fruits and vegetables. Over the last decade, agricultural value-added varied between 36.6 and 65 billion Dirham. This sector employs 44.4% of the total national work force and 80.9% of the rural work force.
The estimated cost of the first phase of the NRRP2 is UA 560.14 million (7,125.00 million dirham). The Bank’s contribution to the implementation of the first phase of the NRRP2 amounts to about UA 39 million. Several donors are contributing to the financing of the programme.
The Bank’s operations in Morocco started in 1970. To date, its cumulative commitments in the country stand at 3.54 billion UA (EUR 4 billion or 49.63 billion Dirham) in 84 operations.
*1 UA = 1.11711 EUR = 12.5504 Dirham as at 05/09/2007