Morocco moves towards regional leadership with EBRD as trusted partner

By Nibal Zgheib

President Chakrabarti concludes visit to Casablanca

EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti has emphasised the role of Morocco in the region and the Bank’s operations: “Morocco is a country of strategic importance for the EBRD,” he said in meetings with the country’s authorities during a visit to Casablanca which ended today.

The President also emphasised the Bank’s aim to significantly increase its operations in Morocco: “We have invested over €1.5 billion in five years of operations here. Morocco is now a leader in the region and a key country for the EBRD. We certainly want to do more with Moroccans, here and abroad,” President Chakrabarti said.

Morocco has undertaken major economic reforms, which have attracted a significant increase in foreign direct investment, specifically in the automotive and the aeronautical industries.

“We are aware of the challenges the country is facing regarding regional inequality and youth unemployment and we are keen to support Morocco in addressing those challenges,” the President underlined. “We have significantly developed and expanded our programme to support small and medium-sized enterprises and we will launch tailored financial programmes for women and youth.”

The Moroccan authorities stated that the economic development of sub-Saharan Africa was a key strategic issue to tackle sustainable development challenges and thereby address concerns about migration and security, both for Morocco and for Europe.

The authorities encouraged the EBRD to support Moroccan companies in their growth in African markets. “Morocco needs Africa; Europe needs Africa,” the government declared.

Morocco is the EBRD’s second-largest country of operations in the southern and eastern Mediterranean region, with €300 million of investment in 2017 alone. The EBRD’s strategy for the country is to support small and medium-sized enterprises, regional inclusion, the green economy and capital market development.

In 2017, 40 per cent of the EBRD's investment in Morocco was under the Bank’s Green Economy Transition (GET) approach. The Bank intends to further develop renewable energy in Morocco.

During his visit, President Chakrabarti met Saad-Eddine Othmani, Head of Government, and Mohamed Boussaid, Minister of Economy and Finance and EBRD Governor, as well as Nasser Bourita, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

The EBRD delegation included Doug Nevison, Board Director for Morocco, Janet Heckman, Managing Director for the southern and eastern Mediterranean region, and Marie-Alexandra Veilleux-Laborie, Head of the Bank’s office in Morocco.

Morocco is a founding member of the EBRD and became a country of operations in 2012. To date, the Bank has invested over €1.5 billion in 36 projects in the country. The Bank has also supported close to 400 Moroccan small and medium-sized enterprises with business advisory services.