Washington, February 19, 2019 – The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors today endorsed a new Country Partnership Framework (CPF) with the Kingdom of Morocco, which will guide the financial and technical assistance program over the next six years.
The Kingdom is at a turning point in its history and has a unique window of opportunity to create high and inclusive growth, taking advantage of positive trends in Moroccan society, including urbanization and the demographic transition. The 2019-2024 CPF aims to support the Kingdom’s ambition of sharpening its competitive edge in the global economy while boosting shared prosperity among its population.
In alignment with the new CPF, the Board of Directors also approved today a Euro 611.3 million (US$700 million equivalent) project to accelerate Morocco’s adoption of digital technology as a source of improved services, growth and jobs and as key to leading the economic transformation in the North Africa and Africa region.
“Morocco has made significant economic and social progress, which has raised the aspirations of Moroccans, especially its young people,” said Marie Françoise Marie-Nelly, World Bank Maghreb Country Director. “The Government has launched ambitious plans to meet these aspirations, and these efforts will receive the full support of the World Bank Group. Realizing Morocco’s tremendous potential will require investing in its youth to ensure they have the skills needed to drive the economic transformation, while unleashing the job-creating dynamism of the private sector.”
The new CPF drew on consultations with the Government, private sector and civil society, as well as lessons learned from the previous Country Strategy. It identified three strategic pillars to guide World Bank Group support: promoting job creation by the private sector; strengthening human capital; and promoting inclusive and resilient territorial development. The CPF has governance and citizen engagement as its foundational pillar, and gender and digital technology as cross-cutting themes.
Under the first strategic pillar, efforts will be made to increase competition and improve the business environment for enterprises, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Morocco has made steady progress over the past few years in the Doing Business Index, but SMEs continue to face obstacles limiting their growth and opportunities for job creation. The CPF will leverage the strengths of IBRD; IFC, the World Bank’s private sector window; and MIGA, the World Bank’s agency for investment guarantees. The three WBG institutions will aim to maximize Morocco’s development resources by drawing on private financing and sustainable private sector solutions to provide value for money and meet the highest environmental, social and fiscal responsibility standards, while reserving scarce public financing for those areas where private sector engagement is not optimal or available.
“Morocco has been a top Doing Business reformer over the past few years, improving its business climate and its competitiveness to position itself as a business gateway to Europe and Africa. IFC will work with MIGA and IBRD to foster private sector participation in key sectors such as infrastructure, regional development, education, capital market and digital finance combining WBG derisking instruments” said Xavier Reille, IFC Country Manager for Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. “IFC will also scale up its advisory and financial support to harness the full potential of the private sector to create jobs and inclusive growth.”
To ensure that Morocco has the right skills to compete in the global economy, the second strategic pillar will focus on human capital. The World Bank Human Capital Index revealed deficiencies that the Kingdom will address by investing more in early childhood development and quality education throughout the education lifecycle. This will allow education to play a role in transforming the economy and giving every Moroccan a chance to reach his or her full potential. The second pillar will also focus on upgrading social safety nets and improving the performance of the health sector, to ensure the long-term well-being of every Moroccan.
The third pillar is aimed at less developed regions. Support based on this pillar will promote the equitable distribution of infrastructure and services across the entire country. This will include better management of water resources and strengthening the country’s resilience to climate change shocks so that people in all regions have the resources and capacities to cope with their impacts.
To allow for effective implementation of the WBG support program, governance will be a fundamental component of all three pillars. All activities under the new CPF will promote efficient financial management, transparency, accountability and citizen participation. They will also be gender-informed, with the objective of empowering women and girls for shared prosperity.
The CPF will have the overarching goal of harnessing the potential of new technologies to promote entrepreneurship, productivity and e-government platforms to boost growth and innovation. The drive to leverage digital technologies to transform Morocco’s economy into a more inclusive and innovative driver of growth will receive support from the new project announced today, the Financial Inclusion and Digital Economy Development Policy Financing (DPF). In line with the Government’s strategy, the new DPF will support a set of financial sector and digital economy reforms to facilitate Morocco’s shift to the New Economy.
“The aim of this program is to support an inclusive financial sector and a competitive digital economy for all Moroccans. It will address social and economic inclusion challenges, particularly for youth, women, and rural populations.” said Djibrilla Issa, Lead Financial Sector Specialist and Task Team Leader. “It will also support policy reforms to develop digital platforms and infrastructure to broaden the use of mobile payments and enhance competition among digital providers. Digital entrepreneurship is central to the current program: greater effort to facilitate online enterprise creation and improve access to finance will be deployed to unleash the potential of Morocco’s digital start-ups.”