IFC Helps Morocco Improve Infrastructure, Combat COVID-19


By Romain Saiss, Correspondent Morocco

IFC signed an agreement today to help Morocco’s Fes-Meknès region, an important economic center, improve roads in remote communities and limit the spread of COVID-19.

IFC will provide the region with US$30 million in financing to support the its long-term plan to expand and upgrade its rural road network, reducing regional inequalities and helping people in remote communities access jobs and social services.

The financing package will also provide municipalities in the Fes-Meknès region with funds to purchase disinfection and sterilization equipment, which will be used to sanitize public places.

“It is undeniably thanks to the knowledge of Moroccan realities by the IFC team and its listening skills that we were able to reach this happy conclusion,” said the President of the Regional Council of Fes-Meknès, Mohand Laenser.

The partnership with Fes-Meknès follows an agreement earlier this year that saw IFC provide $100 million in infrastructure-related financing to the Casablanca-Settat region. The pioneering initiative marked the first time a subnational government raised commercial financing without a sovereign guarantee, which is financing backed by a national government. This opened doors for other regions and municipalities to do the same and is expected to help Morocco realize its ambitious decentralization agenda.

“We are helping the region of Fes-Meknès use innovative financing mechanisms to meet its development needs and fight the COVID-19 pandemic,” said IFC’s Country Manager for Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria, Xavier Reille. “Good infrastructure that connects people to markets is essential, particularly amid the recovery from COVID-19.”

IFC’s investment is accompanied by an advisory services project designed to support the region as it expands and upgrades its rural roads, ensuring they follow international standards for quality while minimizing their impact on the environment.

These advisory services are being delivered as part of IFC’s MENA Cities Initiative and in partnership with the Government of Japan, the Swiss State Secretariat of Economic Affairs, the Federal Ministry of Finance of Austria, and the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Netherlands.

IFC’s support to the region of Fes-Meknès is part of a broader World Bank Group effort to support regional development and decentralization in Morocco. IFC has been present in Morocco since 1963 and has been at the forefront of innovation, facilitating the country’s first public-private partnership for infrastructure development, among other highlights.

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