Washington - The World Bank Board of Executive Directors on Friday approved two projects totaling US$248.95 million to support Morocco’s national health strategy and to promote clean energy and energy efficiency.
In the health sector, the investment will finance increased access to and improved quality of public services for the benefit of poor and rural populations in disadvantaged regions, the Washington-based institution said in a statement.
The investment in the energy sector will support Morocco’s ongoing efforts to reduce its dependency on imported fossil fuels, the same source added.
"Over four years, this US$100 million project will aim specifically to help strengthen primary care across 9 regions to address disparities in health outcomes and improve health system governance by upgrading health management information systems and sector accountability," said Enis Baris, World Bank Health, Nutrition and Population Practice Manager for the Middle East and North Africa Region.
Morocco has achieved significant improvements in health outcomes, with a reduction in child and maternal mortality rates of an outstanding 64 pc and 66 pc respectively over the past 20 years, the World Bank noted, adding that inequality in access to health services coupled with limited resources allocated to the sector, in comparison with countries of similar socio-economic profiles, have called for a strategy to improve the distribution and quality of health services, particularly in poorer regions. The Health Sector Support Program for Results Project is designed to underpin that strategy.
The second project, the Clean and Efficient Energy Project will be co-financed by a US$125 million World Bank loan and a US$23.95 million loan from the Clean Technology Fund, the World Bank said.
According to the bank, this project will support Morocco’s State-owned electricity and water company (ONEE) to develop its first set of three mid-size decentralized solar photovoltaic (PV) plants.
The World Bank currently has a portfolio of 22 projects in Morocco, amounting to a committed financing of US$2.44 billion, providing a diverse range of support in areas such as private sector, financial sector and governance reform, green growth and promotion of renewable energy, access to basic services such as rural roads, water, sanitation, the reduction of vulnerability and social exclusion, and improvements in agriculture and solid waste management.
Since 2011, the World Bank’s private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation, has stepped up its engagement in Morocco and has invested US$590 million to support private sector development in the country.