Washington, April 24th, 2015 – The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved today two projects totaling US$248.95 million to support Morocco’s national health strategy and to promote clean energy and energy efficiency. In the health sector, the investment will finance increased access to and improved quality of public services for the benefit of poor and rural populations in disadvantaged regions. The investment in the energy sector will support Morocco’s ongoing efforts to reduce its dependency on imported fossil fuels.
Morocco has achieved significant improvements in health outcomes, with a reduction in child and maternal mortality rates of an outstanding 64% and 66% respectively over the past 20 years. However, inequality in access to health services coupled with limited resources allocated to the sector, in comparison with countries of similar socio-economic profiles, have called for a strategy to improve the distribution and quality of health services, particularly in poorer regions. The Health Sector Support Program for Results Project is designed to underpin that strategy.
““Over four years, this US$100 million project will aim specifically to help strengthen primary care across 9 regions to address disparities in health outcomes and improve health system governance by upgrading health management information systems and sector accountability,” said Enis Baris, World Bank Health, Nutrition and Population Practice Manager for the Middle East and North Africa Region. “Under a new lending instrument called ‘Program for Results’, the disbursement of funds will be linked to the attainment of development indicators ranging from the number of pregnant women receiving antenatal care to the number of rural centers participating in the Ministry of Health’s quality enhancement competition.”
The second project, the Clean and Efficient Energy Project will be co-financed by a US$125 million World Bank loan and a US$23.95 million loan from the Clean Technology Fund. It will support Morocco’s State-owned electricity and water company (ONEE) to develop its first set of three mid-size decentralized solar photovoltaic (PV) plants. With a total capacity of 75 MW, the plants are part of the country’s strategy to achieve 14% of installed capacity from solar energy by 2020. The project is also expected to have important local benefits for the impoverished areas of South-Eastern Morocco where the plants will be built. The new plants will help address the voltage drops and regular outages that currently affect 120,000 people in the region. By providing sufficient power with adequate quality, the solar plants will contribute to unlocking the economic potential of the area for projects in agriculture, tourism and the local crafts industry.
“The project will finance the installation of time-of-use meters, allowing over 292,000 people to take advantage of lower electricity costs during periods of the day with low electricity demand,” said Charles Cormier, World Bank Energy Practice Manager for the Middle East and North Africa. “Equally important, the project will support the implementation of a pioneering Revenue Protection Program to improve ONEE’s financial revenues by installing smart-meters and advanced metering infrastructure for the company’s largest customers. The project is also expected to contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emission by 1.95 million tons of CO2 over its total lifetime.”
The World Bank currently has a portfolio of 22 projects in Morocco, amounting to a committed financing of US$2.44 billion, providing a diverse range of support in areas such as private sector, financial sector and governance reform, green growth and promotion of renewable energy, access to basic services such as rural roads, water, sanitation, the reduction of vulnerability and social exclusion, and improvements in agriculture and solid waste management. Since 2011, the World Bank’s private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation, has stepped up its engagement in Morocco and has invested US$590 million to support private sector development in the country.