Washington, March 2, 2015 – The World Bank Board of Directors today approved a US$200 million loan to support Morocco’s competitiveness strategy and encourage reforms for productivity and growth. The Development Policy Loan (DPL) reform program addresses needs critical for simplifying procedures for business and enforcing rules for competition to create a more enabling and transparent business environment. These reforms are expected to energize investment and trade, and help create high-value jobs and a more vibrant private sector in Morocco.
Over the past decade, Morocco has carried out a series of reforms to update its regulatory framework and attract more foreign investment. The reforms have made a significant impact on Morocco’s business environment. By modernizing its commercial framework, and easing regulatory procedures over the past few years, Morocco has made a significant leap in the 2015 edition of Doing Business, ranking 71 out of 189 economies, compared to 94th in 2012.
“Morocco made good headway in improving its overall competitiveness framework and carrying out business environment reforms,” said Simon Gray, World Bank Country Director for the Maghreb. “Yet bolder reforms, and further diversification of the Moroccan economy, will help set the country on a stronger path to join other emerging countries.”
The second economic competitiveness DPL is designed precisely to boost Morocco’s efforts. The loan approved today will continue to support reforms launched under the first loan in 2013, aimed notably at simplifying procedures for creating and running a business. It will also support the upgrading of Morocco’s trade policy framework to put them in line with the country’s international commitments. The DPL supports economic governance reforms, too, by strengthening the role and prerogatives of the Competition Council and National Commission for the Business Environment—two key Moroccan economic agencies.
“The operation is crucial to developing an investment climate that responds to the needs of all types of companies, in particular small and medium ones, to improve Morocco’s diversification and export capacity,” says Philippe de Meneval, World Bank Project Team Leader. “Furthering these reforms through sustained support for their implementation will give Morocco the potential for greater competitiveness in the medium to longer term.”
The operation focuses on cross-cutting reforms and actions linked to the trade and investment constraints, identified by public and private sector stakeholders as limiting the impact of government efforts on the performance of various economic sectors. Improvements to transparency and governance is another cornerstone of the current DPL: These should create a more level playing field, especially for smaller enterprises, by reducing the amount of discretion available in how procedures are applied to businesses, and by lifting barriers to investment.