WASHINGTON, December 19, 2013 – A US$300 million loan will promote revenue diversification in rural Morocco, improve the management of natural resources and encourage a shift towards low carbon growth.
The Development Policy Loan (DPL), the first in a series of two, approved by the World Bank Board of Directors today will support Morocco’s move towards a more sustainable and inclusive development model.
“Morocco is putting the green agenda at the forefront of its development priorities to secure a resilient and strong economy providing opportunities to vulnerable populations,” said Simon Gray, World Bank Director for the Maghreb Department. “The Program will introduce sustainable practices in agriculture and develop new sectors such as eco-tourism and aquaculture which have the potential to create jobs and diversify revenues in rural areas, where 70 percent of Morocco’s poor live.”
Morocco has made progress in reducing absolute poverty levels but vulnerability remains high particularly in rural areas. Employment opportunities in sectors like agriculture and fisheries, which account for about 20 percent of Morocco’s GDP and suffer from resource management constraints, are needed to relieve pressures on natural assets, create jobs and contribute to revenue diversification.
The Program will improve the management of coastal and marine assets to alleviate the growing pressures on Morocco’s coastline. Water resource management is a key challenge for Morocco and the Program will regulate groundwater abstraction and improve the existing Water law.
Morocco has set an ambitious target of 42 percent of installed renewable energy capacity by 2020 and has recently started reducing energy subsidies. It has made the sustainability of fish stocks a central tenet of its fisheries strategy, Halieutis. The tourism sector considers natural capital as a strategic asset in rural and coastal areas. Climate change is already shaping key policy and investment decisions, particularly in areas such as agriculture and water resource management.
The Program supports a set of measures aimed at reducing the country’s pollution levels, dependence on fossil fuels, and the total envelope allocated to energy subsidies. Along the environmental measures, the social and economic impact on the population, especially in rural areas where dependence on natural assets is critical, is the substrate of all green growth policies.
“Environmental sustainability involves trade-offs but Morocco often takes the long view,” said Andrea Liverani, World Bank Task team leader. “The shift to green growth is a homegrown strategic agenda, deeply rooted in the minds of policymakers. The Development Policy Loan series backs this policy priority and complements the World Bank’s package of support in areas such as such as energy, water and agriculture.”