EBRD and European Union step up support for small businesses in Morocco

By Nibal Zgheib

Cityscape in Casablanca

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) today officially launched its advisory activities with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Morocco.

With funding from the European Union, the EBRD Southern and Eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) Multi-Donor Account* and the SEMED cooperation funds account, the EBRD has helped 110 enterprises in Morocco to access business advice since the end of 2012.

Accounting for more than 90 per cent of the private sector, SMEs are a fundamental part of the Moroccan economy. Strengthening these firms is therefore a priority for the EU and the EBRD. Smaller businesses continue to suffer from poor access to finance, limited managerial skills and low productivity, greatly hampering their potential for job creation.

Laurent Chabrier, EBRD Director for Morocco, said: “Developing the private sector through support for SMEs is one of the EBRD’s priorities in Morocco. SMEs are the backbone of a dynamic market economy, and improving access to external know-how is important for their development and growth.”

Rupert Joy, Ambassador of the European Union in Morocco said: “Creating employment and supporting competitiveness are key pillars of the EU-Morocco cooperation agenda. Competitive SMEs will allow Morocco to take fully advantage of the opportunities of the "Accord de Libre-Echange Complet et Approfondi – ALECA UE-Maroc" currently under negotiation.”

Business advice and industry expertise helps enterprises to become commercially viable, prosperous and resilient. Working with local consultants and international experts, the EBRD connects SMEs with the expertise that can transform their businesses. In Morocco, international experts and a group of 120 qualified local consultants using rigorous industry standards provide the skills and know-how to help smaller firms innovate, attract finance and develop expertise.

The EBRD also engages in policy dialogue with government agencies, local business associations and chambers of commerce to help promote the role of investment and local consultancy services.

* SEMED MDA donors are: Australia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Taipei China, United Kingdom.