MOROCCO – The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) approved a loan worth €120 million (US$136.29m) to Morocco to implement a program aiming to support financial inclusion, entrepreneurship and the recovery of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The AfDB’s support aims to help companies in difficulty to resume their activities and preserve jobs to successfully overcome the COVID-19 crisis, it said in a statement.

The Bank stressed that the program aims to support financial inclusion reforms to facilitate access to finance for families and SMEs, noting that it additionally intends to help ‘diversify the financing sources available by strengthening the inclusion of the capital market.’

“It is a priority to relaunch the economy to revitalize activity, protect jobs and regain growth,” said Achraf Hassan Tarsim, AfDB Country Manager for Morocco.

“We are doing this alongside young and women entrepreneurs and SMEs who play an essential role in the recovery dynamic with more than 70% of jobs created.”

Stefan Nalletamby, Director of the Financial Sector Development Department at the AfDB highlighted the Bank’s two main priorities: diversifying the supply of financing for SMEs and deepening financial markets through instruments such as securitization and crowdfunding.

The anticipated project falls within the framework of the AfDB’s mission, which is improving the quality of life of the African populations.

It is also part of the Bank’s Ten-Year Strategy 2013-2022, which aims to establish good conditions to ensure sustainability and inclusive growth on the continent.

The new program intends to strengthen the support system for entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMEs, boost entrepreneurial ecosystems, and improve the business climate by simplifying administrative procedures, the statement concludes.

The African Development Bank Group’s commitment to Morocco has amounted to more than US$12 billion, contributing to cover the development of several sectors, namely health, energy, water, transport, human development, agriculture, and the financial sector.

AfDB also recently approved the granting of a loan of 108.36 million euros (US$122.32m) to Senegal to help finance the Acceleration Support Program industry, competitiveness and employment (PAAICE).

The financial support consisted of two loans: the first of 96.1 million euros (US$108.48m) from the African Development Bank, and the second of 12.26 million euros (US$13.84m) from the African Development Fund, its concessional financing window.

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