Rabat - The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) granted a EUR 120 million loan to Morocco on Thursday to finance the Saiss Water Conservation Project.
Rabat – The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) granted a EUR 120 million loan to Morocco on Thursday to finance the Saiss Water Conservation Project.
Signed in Rabat by the Ministers of Finance and Agriculture, Mohamed Boussaid and Aziz Akhannouch, and the head of Morocco’s EBRD office, Marie-Alexandra Veilleux-Laborie, this project will help protect the Moroccan agricultural sector from the impacts of climate change, said a statement from the bank.
This important project aims to fill the water deficit recorded in the Fès-Meknes water table, adopt a water-saving irrigation system, develop the amounts of water consumed by the practice of high value-added crops and improve the income of farmers in the region that covers an area of 30,000 ha.
In addition to this loan, the EBRD is also helping speed up the instruction process through a EUR 32 million grant from the Green Climate Fund.
The EBRD noted that the large water deficit in Morocco is exacerbated by the impacts of climate change. Moreover, the unsustainable use of groundwater leads to a reduction in corresponding reserves, consequently seriously jeopardizing agricultural production and livelihoods of people in rural areas.
The Bank’s investment in the Saïss project will improve resilience to climate change by supporting the construction of a primary adductor canal for water transport. This structure will transport more than 100 million cubic meters per year to irrigate the Saïss plain.
It will also help reduce the overexploitation of groundwater by using sustainable surface water resources as well as promoting access to efficient irrigation techniques in line with best practices, the bank said.
“The preservation of the aquifer of the Saïss Plain and the promotion of sustainable water management are essential to ensure access to water, climate resilience and economic development of the region,” said Veilleux-Laborie.
“This investment is therefore essential for the region and the Kingdom of Morocco as a whole to strengthen its infrastructure and ensure sustainable water resources. Through this project, we encourage greater private sector participation, climate resilience and economic inclusion in a sector that accounts for 40 percent of jobs.”
With this donation, the EBRD is joining the many national and international donors and funding agencies that have put their trust in the Green Morocco Plan and its projects.
Morocco, a founding member of the EBRD, became a country of operations in 2012. To date, the bank has invested approximately EUR 1.2 billion in 30 projects in the country.