By Nibal Zgheib
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is supporting Morocco’s reform agenda for state-owned enterprises (SOEs) through technical assistance aimed at developing and implementing a state ownership policy. The policy will provide a basis on which the country can enhance the efficiency, governance and transparency of SOEs.
The EBRD and Morocco’s Ministry of Economy and Finance have signed a grant agreement to fund a technical assistance package that will support the Ministry’s Department of Public Enterprises and Privatisation (DEPP) in setting up the new state assets agency and implementing the country’s state ownership policy.
The technical assistance will also include targeted measures that will benefit three SOEs – the Office National des Aéroports (ONDA), Autoroutes du Maroc (ADM) and Office National de l’Electricité et de l’Eau Potable (ONEE) – by strengthening aspects of their operations.
In 2020, the EBRD provided a €300 million(US$336.5million) financing package to ONDA, ADM and ONEE to boost their resilience and to support vital infrastructure services in Morocco.
Head of Infrastructure for the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, Sue Barrett said: “We are pleased to support the development and adoption of a state ownership policy in Morocco, a pioneering project in the southern and eastern Mediterranean region. Moving forward with the structural reform of SOEs is key to unlocking the growth potential of Morocco’s economy, promoting private-sector participation through public-private partnerships and ensuring a level playing field.”
EBRD Director, Head of Morocco, Antoine Sallé de Chou said: “This initiative is a key pillar in the Bank’s work with Morocco and will provide invaluable support for the government in its efforts to reform the SOE sector. This support is provided as part of a solidarity package in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and represents a significant milestone in the EBRD’s cooperation with Morocco.”
The technical assistance will leverage the far-reaching reforms of the SOE sector that were launched in July 2020. The reforms aimed to overcome weaknesses that have hindered the development of the SOE sector and been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The grant agreement was signed following a meeting between Odile Renaud-Basso, EBRD President, and Minister of Economy and Finance of Morocco, Nadia Fettah Alaoui,during the sixth European Union – African Union summit, held in Brussels on 17 and 18 February 2022.
Morocco is a founding member of the EBRD and became a country of operations in 2012. To date, the EBRD has invested more than €3.2 billion in Morocco through 80 projects.