EBRD supports expansion of water services in Morocco

By Nibal Zgheib

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is providing a €65 million sovereign guaranteed loan to Office National de l'Electricité et de l'Eau Potable (ONEE), to support the expansion of drinking water supply services in Morocco.

The EBRD loan will finance part of ONEE’s expansion plans to improve drinking water connections to Azilal, Ben Guerir and Ouarzazate. The Bank will also support the third phase of the company's performance improvement programme, which aims to enhance the quality of services in terms of production and distribution of drinking water.

The Bank’s support to ONEE will help ensure access to drinking water for over 480,000 people in Azilal, Ben Guerir and Ouarzazate, and in 260 rural communities. It will also enhance water supply to urban areas. This expansion of supply services will improve the quality of life for many Moroccan citizens.

Jean-Patrick Marquet, Director for Municipal and Environmental Infrastructure at the EBRD said: “The project will increase the availability of drinking water in rural communities. It will also improve access to economic opportunities for people in regions that are less developed, which will strengthen social inclusion.”

Nawal Khalifa, Head of Finances ONEE, said: “Today's signing continues our fruitful cooperation with the EBRD. This is the Bank’s second project with ONEE to provide electricity and water to urban and rural areas.”

The project is complemented by a comprehensive technical assistance programme of €4.5 million financed by donor grants. These funds from the Austrian Government and the EBRD’s SEMED Cooperation Fund and SEMED Multi-Donor Account will facilitate the project's implementation and enable the development of a stakeholder participation programme as well as a financial and operational performance improvement programme.

Since the beginning of its operations in Morocco in 2012, the EBRD has invested more than €197 million in 12 projects in the country.