Morocco invested heavily in the infrastructure sector between 2001 and 2017, making it one of the key pillars of the national economy.
Rabat – The World Bank has announced that its board of executive directors approved a $150 million fund to help finance Morocco’s Urban Transport Program.
The program, which started in 2015, seeks to reinforce Morocco’s capacity to offer quality service in public transport.
“It also supports local infrastructure for transport and investments,” the World Bank said in a statement on Tuesday.
The World Bank said that the objective of the additional financing is to adapt the program to address new priorities of transport, including those linked to the impact of COVID-19.
The program seeks to prioritize local investments to boost Morocco’s urban transport sector.
World Bank Maghreb Country Director Jesko Hentschel commended the additional financing, saying that the bank seeks to support Moroccan authorities in maintaining their “momentum for reform, and to develop enough, affordable transport for the country’s urban population.”
The World Bank official said the demand for urban mobility is increasing in Morocco.
Hentschel also emphasized the importance of safe means of transport. He said the pandemic has shown that investing in “safe affordable and efficient public transport is more important today than ever to foster economic and social inclusion and to help mitigate climate change.”
The World Bank considers the benefits of Morocco’s Urban Transport Program to be “tangible.”
The program’s support for investments in the sector benefited 40,000 daily users of urban transport through “improved” quality of service.
The program’s extension seeks to see the number of daily beneficiaries of urban transport increase to 130,000.
The new phase of the program emphasizes advising local urban authorities to prioritize sustainable services in favor of local demand.
“Transport corridors, most in the form of Bus Rapid Transit, will be developed to improve citizen access to economic opportunities and social services,” the World Bank said.
Morocco’s Ministry of the Interior and various municipalities are implementing the program.
The World Bank said that the closing date of the Urban Transport Program was extended to June 2024, recalling the institution’s support for Morocco’s National Strategy for Urban Mobility.
“The World Bank has mobilized technical assistance to advise on key policies to improve the sector’s governance and develop affordable transport in Morocco’s main cities,” the institution said.
Morocco has invested heavily in the infrastructure sector in recent years. The North African country’s infrastructure investments ranged between 24% and 38% of the country’s GDP from 2001 to 2017.