EBRD, EU Extend Strong Support For Women In Business In Morocco

…During Coronavirus Pandemic


By Nibal Zgheib

The EBRD, together with the European Union (EU), is stepping up efforts to support small and medium-sized enterprises managed and owned by businesswomen in Morocco, in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 20 women entrepreneurs, who are participating in the Women in Business programme, are taking part in a series of online training sessions launched by the EBRD with support from the EU through its Initiative for Financial Inclusion. The Initiative provides financial support to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, including innovative start-ups, in the EU Neighbourhood South.

As a response to the need to adapt to remote working, the training focuses on digital marketing, online presence and exposure. The programme includes crisis management and innovative marketing. It will equip participants with tools to build a communication strategy reflecting the challenges during this crisis period and prepare for the aftermath.

Businesswomen in Morocco will also be able to take part in a tailored online mentoring programme in partnership with Endeavor Morocco, an affiliate of the international organisation Endeavor that provides support to high-impact entrepreneurs. They will be able to access a network of management consulting firms, incubators, investment funds and private equity funds as well as high-tech companies, and to exchange advice and experience to boost their skills and strategies.

The Covid-19 pandemic and its economic consequences present an unprecedented challenge to the regions where the EBRD invests. During the period of major economic disruption it is vital to ensure that enterprises adapt to the challenges ahead. Women entrepreneurs are expected to be disproportionately affected by the crisis as their firms tend to be concentrated in certain sectors.

The EBRD is providing immediate support to companies affected by the impact of the coronavirus. As a first step, the Bank approved a €1 billion(US$1.09billion) solidarity package  for existing clients facing temporary difficulties. The programme includes, among other measures, short-term capital, refinancing, trade finance and restructuring support.

The EBRD launched the Women in Business programme in Morocco in 2018. The programme combines advisory services with credit lines through local partner banks, BMCE Bank of Africa and BMCI, for a total of €35 million, to invest in projects that boost the competitiveness of firms.

Morocco is a founding member of the EBRD and became a country of operations in 2012. To date, the Bank has invested over €2 billion in the country through 60 projects.

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