By Loubna Flah
By Loubna Flah
Morocco World News
Casablanca, December 15, 2012
The EBRD (the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) signed earlier this week a credit line with the Moroccan branch of Societé Generale.
“Despite being rich, the Moroccan entrepreneurial network still needs a substantial change to reach its full potential,” the EBRD director for financial institutions, Mr. Francis Malige was quoted by Al Massae as saying.
He asserts that Morocco boasts a large number of highly organized enterprises, yet “there are many companies which still require a new structural organization.”
Mr. Malige pinpoints that the loans offered by the EBRD requires Moroccan companies to readjust their internal organizational structure in order to meet the bank’s standards.
Moroccan enterprises are also expected to provide in service training to their employees in order to enhance their skills and boost their productivity.
The credit line offered to Societé Generale, estimated to be 20 Million Euro, offers exclusive financing opportunities to small and medium sized enterprises. ” We aim at providing financing opportunities to small enterprises via Societé Generale, a bank that has aggregated a good knowledge of Moroccan companies,” Mr. Malige said.
The loan is also expected to devote 5 Million Euro to financing foreign trade, more particularly Moroccan enterprises operating in the export and import business. The EBRD will also offer small and medium sized enterprises training courses in managerial finance.
” This first credit line is a springboard for more extended partnerships with Moroccan banks,” Mr. Malige explained. He went on to say that the EBRD is negotiating new loans with the Moroccan government and that projects are likely to be launched in the forthcoming months.
Before giving its consent to loan requests, the EBRD examines the financial situations of their clients, as well as the profitability of the projects. Once the loan request is approved, the EBRD monitors closely the progress made by the companies.
The President of the EBRD, Sir Suma Chakrabarti visited Morocco on 4-5 December. During his first visit to Morocco since his election as the EBRD President in July 2012, Sir Suma said the Bank would put a strong focus on supporting the development of small and medium-sized enterprises. “This whole sector is very important to help with job creation right across the country,” he said during talks in the Moroccan capital, Rabat.
In a previous interview given to MWN during the EBRD 19th annual meeting in London, Mr. Francis Malige, the Director of the EBRD Financial Institutions had asserted that “the EBRD is fully aware of the difference in the business environment in North Africa and we shall take this into consideration while developing our projects.”
The EBRD was established in 1991 in response to major changes in the political and economic climate in central and Eastern Europe. Today, it works in 29 countries in North Africa, central Europe and central Asia financing projects- primarily in the private sector- which enable the transition to market economies and pluralistic democratic societies.
For many, The EBRD emerges as a counterweight to more imposing banking institutions like the IMF since it provides financing solely to the private sector. With a capital base of 30 billion Euros received mainly from donors, the EBRD endeavors to help the poorest countries where basic services such as water, roads and public transport, among others, suffered from years of underinvestment.
Nevertheless, there are mounting fears that the financing of small and medium sized enterprises may lead to a hasty privatization that proved to be disastrous for some Eastern European countries where the EBRD has been investing for the past two decades.
The CEE Bankwatch Network, an NGO monitoring activities of international financial institutions, has repeatedly leveled criticism against the EBRD financing policy in the former Soviet Bloc countries.
It has also expressed apprehension towards the EBRD intentions to invest in North Africa. The network pinpoints that” the EBRD has in fact a poor track record of keeping up with its mission to protect human rights and the environment and promote justice.”