Lighting the way in Morocco

people building power points in the Moroccan countryside

Donor funding is supporting the EBRD’s first investment in Morocco’s energy infrastructure.

Owing to its increasing population and rapidly developing economy, Morocco’s demand for electricity is growing fast. Whilst the World Bank estimates that around 97 per cent of the population now has access to an electricity connection, this access is uneven, particularly in rural areas where villages can be very remote.

The state-owned Office National de l’Électricité et de l’Eau Potable (ONEE), responsible for the distribution and transmission of electricity throughout the country, is eager to redress this imbalance and hopes to bring power to all rural households through a variety of innovative technology and financing mechanisms.

Assessing environmental and social impacts

In 1,368 remote villages, where populations previously had little or no reliable form of electricity, things are about to change for the better. Through funding from the EBRD’s SEMED Multi-Donor Account, a technical cooperation project has given a thorough assessment of the technical, economic, social and environmental challenges of electrifying rural villages, identifying areas where the impact of works could be reduced. ONEE’s own systems for managing the environmental and social aspects of their operations were also examined, and an Environmental and Social Assessment Methodology created for the company to apply to all future rural electrification and smart metering sub-projects.

Switching the lights on

In providing this vital due diligence, it is estimated that donor funds will provide equal opportunities for up to 40,000 people across the country, paving the way for an EBRD loan to ONEE of up to €60 million. Representing the Bank’s very first investment in Morocco’s energy infrastructure, this finance will help millions of Moroccans connect to the grid, further reducing the country's dependency on energy imports and promoting sustainability across the sector.