Washington, June 9, 2014 – The World Bank Group’s Board of Governors has approved a US$96.55 million loan in support of the government of Morocco’s Second National Rural Roads Program (NRRP2) to increase access to all-weather roads in Morocco for the vast majority of the country’s rural population. The loan will be denominated in euros, at EUR70million.
The program started in 2005 and has already led to a significant increase in rural access to all-weather roads, with some 10,000 km of roads upgraded or rehabilitated, benefiting 1.8 million people out of a target population of 3 million. This brought road accessibility to 70 percent of Morocco’s rural population in 2010, compared to 45 percent in 2002 and 54 percent in 2005. Morocco wants to increase this to 80 percent by 2015.
“The upgrading or rehabilitation of rural roads will have a wide range of positive impacts,” said Simon Gray, Country Director for the World Bank Group in the Maghreb region. “It will give isolated populations year-round access to basic social and economic services such as health, education, and markets. These roads will have a particular impact on increasing the productivity of the agricultural sector, making distribution easier, and also reducing costs and improving the quality of services in the transport sector.”
The NRRP2 has two components: the first, financed by the Caisse pour le Financement Routier (CFR), is for the rehabilitation or upgrading of 12,560 km of rural roads (including small, complementary road-related infrastructure), costing the equivalent of US$1,450 million. Under the NRRP2, the CFR manages both loans and grants from international donors (including the Bank) and contributions from local authorities. The second component is financed by the Moroccan Directorate of Roads, and involves the rehabilitation or upgrading of 3,000 km of rural roads (including small, complementary road-related infrastructure), for the estimated equivalent of US$425 million.
The World Bank will provide US$96.55 million (EUR70 million equivalent) needed to cover a financing gap in the NRRP2, which alongside MAD300 million (US$36 million equivalent) contributed by the CFR, will cover the rehabilitation or upgrading of around 1,300 km of rural roads.
Labor-intensive road building techniques will be encouraged to help provide local people with temporary work. Almost all earlier work was along existing alignments and within the right-of-way. Plans were drawn-up to limit the impact on the environment and the population. The project will cover the regions of Tanger-Tetouan, Taza-Al-Hoceima-Taounate, Fès-Boulmane, Meknès-Tafilalet, Tadla-Azilal, Doukkala-Abda, Rabat-Sale-Zemmour-Zaer, Casablanca, Oriental, Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz, Chaouia-Ourdigha, Gharb-Chrarda-Beni Hsen, Souss-Massa-Drâa, as well as the province of Guelmin.