The loan is intended to help Morocco address the repercussions of the COVID-19 crisis.
Rabat – The Arab Monetary Fund (AMF) has provided a loan of $211 million to Morocco to assist it in undertaking public finance reforms amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Morocco’s Minister of Finance, Economy, and Administration Reform Mohammed Benchaaboun signed the loan agreement with the General Manager and Chairman of the Board, Abdulrahman bin Abdullah Al-Hamidi, reported Emirates News Agency on Friday, June 5.
The AMF has also extended a $98 million loan to Tunisia to support reforms in its banking and financial sectors.
The Abu Dhabi-based fund is also examining requests from other member countries and is expediting the processing of new loan requests.
On May 7, the AMF approved a loan of $127 million to Morocco to support the country’s financial situation and meet emergency needs.
The AMF assistance aims to support “the reform efforts of member countries and the measures they are taking to stimulate the economy and provide liquidity in order to contain the negative effects of the virus outbreak,” the fund said in a statement announcing the May loan.
The global outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has paralyzed the international economy, especially tourism-dependent economies. The COVID-19 crisis has led to an economic recession caused by the suspension of flights, closure of nonessential businesses, and movement restrictions.
Both Morocco and Tunisia rely heavily on the tourism sector as a direct source of foreign currency.
The sector contributes approximately 11% to Morocco’s GDP and reviving it will require implementing an effective strategy to keep Morocco from losing up to $13.85 billion in revenue between 2020 and 2022, as estimated by the National Confederation of Tourism (CNT).
The CNT further estimated Morocco’s losses at MAD 33 billion ($3 billion) in April, and added that the sector lost 500,00 jobs due to the pandemic, which threatens 8,500 companies with bankruptcy.
Meanwhile, Minister of Tourism Nadia Fettah Alaoui said that 97% of hotels in Morocco shut down due to the crisis.
With the pandemic crippling international tourism, Morocco plans on promoting domestic tourism as an alternative plan to revive the hardest-hit sector of the economy.
Officials and tourism professionals in Marrakech are planning to upgrade tourism services and lower prices in order to attract a maximum number of Moroccan tourists and discourage citizens from traveling overseas.