Japan has agreed to loan Morocco $200 million (approximately MAD 1.8 billion) to support the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Morocco’s Minister of Economy Mohamed Benchaaboun signed today, December 2, an exchange of notes relating to the loan with Japan’s Ambassador to Rabat, Takashi Shinozuka.
The exchange of notes serves as an agreement between the Moroccan and Japanese government to begin the procedure for executing the loan.
The practical loan agreement, meanwhile, was between the Moroccan Ministry of Economy, represented by Minister Benchaaboun, and the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), represented by its envoy to Morocco, Kenji Yokota.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has also contributed to the loan under its Accelerated Co-Financing Facility for Africa (ACFA) program.
The loan mainly seeks to support Morocco’s efforts in the face of the health, social, and economic crisis caused by COVID-19. The amount would provide the Moroccan government with additional resources to carry out emergency interventions and improve the resilience of the national economy.
JICA outlined the goals of the loan on three main axes: Strengthening the health system, expanding the social security system, and financially supporting small and mid-sized businesses.
“The signing ceremony is a testament to the excellent cooperation relations and ties of friendship between Morocco and Japan, as well as the relevance of the areas of intervention of this cooperation, which align with the priorities of the Moroccan government,” the Ministry of Economy wrote in a statement.
During the signing ceremony, the Moroccan and Japanese officials commended the quality of the relationship between the two countries and affirmed their will to work together towards consolidating bilateral ties.
JICA, a state-financed agency, has been active in Morocco for more than 50 years. It has supported several projects in the North African country through cooperation programs, loans, donations, and technical assistance.