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World Bank lends Morocco $ 300 million to support 100 communities

The World Bank has approved a new loan for Morocco worth $ 300 million, equivalent to 2.9 billion dirhams, for a project to support Moroccan territorial groups.

The World Bank said on its official website on Friday that support for the groups was part of a broad-based Saudi-led effort to improve services and turn urban agglomerations into engines of growth and employment.

The loan will support the ‘Community Performance Project’ and will run for five years from 2019 to 2024, targeting about 100 of Morocco’s largest groups, which together account for 80 percent of the urban population and half of the country’s total population, the bank said.

The World Bank emphasized that the project “pays particular attention to how women benefit from various activities, including ensuring greater participation of women in decision-making, and aims to build capacity through a sustainable performance-based framework for communities”.

“The aim of the program is to promote regional development by enhancing the performance of Moroccan communities,” said Jesco Henschel, Regional Director of the Arab Maghreb Department at the World Bank.

The project will be aimed at filling key performance gaps to promote a transparent, efficient and accountable urban governance system, thereby promoting long-term local development and enhancing the attractiveness of Moroccan cities.

Under the agreement, the project will support the Moroccan Ministry of Interior to conduct an ambitious annual assessment of community performance to provide timely information on capacity gaps at the municipal level and address them through tailored technical assistance and training, and performance-based grants will be provided to municipalities to improve management and services.

The program also includes providing the Ministry of Interior with a set of tools that will help participating groups acquire the skills to enhance their performance, as well as guidance to improve investment management and maintain community-based urban services.

“Communities are at the forefront of development. They illustrate and embody the interactions between citizens and management,” said Augustin Maria, chief urban development specialist and head of the World Bank’s Joint Task Force.

“Strengthening financial and institutional groups in Morocco is key to allowing them to fulfill their mandate to deliver services and foster trust among citizens in public administration,” the World Bank Group expert said.

This new external loan by the World Bank is in addition to other loans that the Kingdom has already obtained to finance a number of projects. The Finance Act for the current year allows the government to borrow from abroad up to 27 billion dirhams.

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