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PRESS RELEASE

Supporting Entrepreneurship and Access to Microfinance for Morocco’s Youth

July 25, 2013

Middle East and North Africa Transition Fund approves two new grants in Morocco

Rabat, July 25, 2013 – Two new projects will support entrepreneurship and access to microfinance for disadvantaged youth in Morocco.  The grants totaling US$11.01 million are sponsored by the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Transition Fund.

Moroccan youth currently struggle to get a good education and find jobs. The first project endorsed today, the US$5.5 million Youth Micro-Entrepreneurship Project,  will target over 5,000 disadvantaged young Moroccans, between the ages of  15 and29 , in different parts of the country. It will especially focus on young people with secondary education or less and those outside the labor market or in the informal sector. They will receive guidance on developing sustainable and profitable businesses. The project will also include a mechanism for strengthening the capacity of national and local stakeholders designed to support young people, to provide them with the help needed  to start and grow their micro-enterprises.

“This project, to be led by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, will improve the livelihoods of Moroccan youth. I believe that supporting less educated young women and men often working in the informal sector will be critical to fostering equitable growth and social inclusion in Morocco,” said Gloria La Cava, World Bank Project Team Leader.

The second grant signed today, the US$5.51 million Microfinance Development Project, will provide access to microfinance for small businesses and low-income households who often struggle to meet collateral obligations imposed by credit institutions. 

“The microcredit sector has emerged as an important source of financial services in Morocco," said Teymour Abdel Aziz, World Bank Project Team Leader.  "Low income households and microenterprises who have been excluded from the formal banking system now have a critically important source of credit."

The project will be implemented by the Ministry of Economy and Finance, in close collaboration with key stakeholders. Analytical work and technical assistance to be provided by the project will help develop an enabling environment for microfinance and promote financial inclusion. 

“Microfinance helps informal micro and small businesses to set up, invest in assets and generate valuable income particularly in remote and rural areas. It also supports female economic empowerment, bypassing many socio-economic barriers that prevent women from participating in economic activity," added Abdel Aziz.

The MENA Transition Fund steering committee approved this year a total of US$20.06 million in grants for Morocco to support governance reform and youth micro-entrepreneurship and microfinance.  This support comes as Morocco is starting to implement the principles of its new constitution, aiming to offer equal opportunities to all Moroccans, and to create better jobs and spur growth. 

Set up in 2012 to help countries in MENA formulate policies and programs in a period of political and economic transition, the MENA Transition Fund is part of the Deauville Partnership, a joint commitment by G8 members, Turkey, Gulf and regional partners to support countries in the region as they face the challenges of growing demands for more accountable governance, sustainable growth and greater employment opportunities.

Media Contacts
In Morocco

Ibtissam Alaoui
tel : + (212)-537-636-050

In Washington

Lara Saade
tel : 202-473-9887