The meetings, coupled with field visits, enabled them to assess the Bank’s engagements in the north African country and to gain a better understanding of its development prospects
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast: At the end of a five-day visit to Morocco, Executive Directors of the African Development Bank Group (www.AfDB.org) lauded the Mooccan government’s vision for development and the progress the country has achieved.
The Bank Group’s Board delegation of about 10 executive directors, accompanied by the Country Manager for Morocco, Achraf Hassan Tarsim, met with government officials, civil authorities and private sector representatives. The meetings, coupled with field visits, enabled them to assess the Bank’s engagements in the north African country and to gain a better understanding of its development prospects.
At a meeting with minister of Economy and Finance Nadia Fettah, the directors reviewed the government’s priorities and discussed areas of further cooperation. She called for more technical and financial support to bolster Morocco’s economic and social development.
«We thank the African Development Bank for the support provided to our country in the implementation of several structural reforms and infrastructure projects, which have significantly contributed to a better inclusion of the population, especially youth and women,» Fettah said.
The delegation’s spokesman, Désiré Guedon, executive director for Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Comoros, Gabon, Mali, Niger and Senegal, described the partnership between Morocco and the Bank as exemplary. “Our partnership will serve as an excellent platform to accelerate the emergence of Morocco,” he said.
Guedon lauded the government’s ongoing reform program, saying it has made Morocco a model of development to follow.
The directors had talks with the Minister of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development, Leila Benali, on advancing cooperation to promote experience-sharing in the energy transition.
The general manager of Tamwilcom, a public guarantee and financing enterprise, Hicham Serghini Zanati, briefed the Executive Directors about the firm’s work, saying it facilitates access to financing for young and female entrepreneurs, start-ups, and the private sector.
«If there is an institution that has supported us since the beginning and with whom everything works very well, it is the African Development Bank. It has supported the modernization of our procedures and information systems,» said Zanati.
In Casablanca, the vice-president of the General Confederation of Moroccan Businesses, Mehdi Tazi, said the African Development Bank has a strategic role in helping to achieve the goals of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
The Bank Group’s Executive Directors also met with representatives of Casablanca Finance City (CFC). The law establishing the Finance City formed part of the Bank’s program to promote the development of the country’s financial sector. “We have so many achievements through our partnership with the African Development Bank,» said CFC’s Deputy Managing Director, Lamia Marzouki.
The directors assured the group that the Bank would stand by Casablanca Finance City to strengthen the legal and regulatory frameworks of African financial sectors and deepen the continent’s economic integration.
To better understand the expectations of the youth, the delegation interacted with a group of young entrepreneurs and start-ups supported by the Bank. «Entrepreneurship is a major priority for the Bank. These young people are real vectors of innovation and value creation. We will always be at their side,» said the Bank’s delegation.
At the Oum Azza site in Rabat, the delegation visited a water treatment and pumping station financed by the Bank. This station supplies more than five million people on the Rabat-Casablanca axis.
«Our joint achievements have enabled 15 million people in some 30 Moroccan cities to access potable water supply and distribution systems,» stressed the Executive Directors. The national electricity and potable water utility, ONEE, has benefited from the Bank’s support since the 1970s. The Bank ranks among the top contributors to Morocco’s water and electricity sector, with more than $1.2 billion in investments.
«We have achieved many things together in the water and electricity sectors. It is an exemplary partnership that works and has real added value,» said Abderrahim El Hafidi ONEE Director General.
The directors also visited the Rabat-Agdal railway station and rode the train. The Bank has supported rail modernization through the project to increase the capacity of the Tangier-Marrakech railway axis, which has increased the number of tracks and provided state-of-the-art railway stations.
The African Development Bank Group has been active in Morocco for more than half a century with over €12 billion in commitments. The portfolio covers health, energy, water, transport, human development, agriculture and the financial sector.