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International support for sustainable energy investment in Morocco

By Nibal Zgheib

Four institutions promote energy efficiency and renewable projects
Four international financial institutions are teaming up with the European Union to promote sustainable energy investments in Morocco, supporting projects in the country that cut back on energy waste and also help to develop renewable energy sources.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the European Investment Bank (EIB) and Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) launched the Morocco Sustainable Energy Financing Facility (MorSEFF).
The €80 million facility will provide loans via a group of participating banks and financial institutions for energy efficiency and small-scale renewable energy investments of private companies in Morocco.
Loans, free technical assistance and investment incentives are bundled into a unique product aimed at promoting energy-efficient and renewable energy technology, raising awareness, reducing operating costs and improving competitiveness.
The European Union Neighbourhood Investment Facility (EU NIF) is providing €16.5 million towards the facility, with funds to be used to assist in project implementation and to provide incentives for investment.
Comprehensive technical assistance, funded by the EU NIF and by the EBRD Southern and Eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) Multi-Donor account, will provide support to banks participating in the facility in the design of business development tools and the successful implementation of the facility.
Mr Rupert Joy, the EU Ambassador to Morocco, said: “Energy efficiency is one of the most cost-effective means to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve energy security and economic competitiveness, and make energy more affordable for consumers. And it has an important role to play in creating jobs and growth. MorSEFF, supported by the EU’s Neighbourhood Investment Facility, will add a new dimension to our energy cooperation portfolio, complementing in particular activities to foster new and renewable energy.”  
Mrs Sylvia Gansser-Potts, EBRD Director for Financial Institutions, said: “This facility is part of the EBRD’s wider effort to help its recipient countries reduce their energy consumption by promoting better practices and raising awareness about the advantages of sustainable energy investments. MorSEFF benefits from the expertise the EBRD has accumulated through investing a total of €16.5 billion in sustainable energy, and especially from its experience in providing finance via financial intermediaries.”
Ms Marie-Hélène Loison, AFD Director of the Mediterranean and Middle East Department, said: “AFD is proud to be part of the MorSEFF initiative which perfectly fits into Moroccan public policies and AFD development priorities, namely in Morocco. AFD has actually committed more than €15 billion to projects with positive impacts on climate globally since 2005, becoming a major stakeholder in international climate finance. AFD has also been developing innovative partnerships and financial tools to better involve the private sector. In particular, AFD commitment since 2006 for Sustainable Use of Natural Resources and Environmental Facilities, has reached €2 billion with about 40 partner banks.”
Mr Heinz Olbers, Director of Operations in the Southern and Eastern Neighbourhoods, said: “Building on its experience and expertise, the EIB is pursuing its activities in the Mediterranean with purpose. In 2014, projects worth over €1.6 billion have been supported in the region to stimulate the growth of the private sector, develop social and economic infrastructure and positively impact climate and the environment. In Morocco, a third of our financing was devoted to the development of renewable energy sources in 2014. Also, supporting enterprises is at the heart of our activities, with services and instruments tailored to the needs of our project developers. Our contribution to the Facility is part of these initiatives, supporting sustainable development and creating jobs for young generations.”
Mr Wolfgang Reuß, Director, KFW, said: “Promoting investment in sustainable energy to preserve our planet is a major challenge but is also a great opportunity for Morocco. KfW funds €2 billion of green energy investments in our partner countries every year. In Morocco the portfolio amounts to more than €1 billion. Through MorSEFF, we are proud to participate for the first time in green financing in the Moroccan banking sector, as well as in the wider region of North Africa and the Middle East.”
Under the new facility the financial institutions have already provided €20 million to BMCE Bank and its leasing subsidiary Maghrebail.
Morocco is a founding member of the EBRD and has been receiving funding since 2012. To date the Bank has invested €483 million in 18 projects in the country, in addition to €130 million of trade-facilitation credit lines with local banks. The EBRD has also provided technical assistance support to more than 135 small and medium-sized local enterprises.
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