World Bank approves US$500mn to support Morocco’s financial and digital inclusion reforms

5322733445 91a05e5139 cThe World Bank Board has approved a US$500mn financial and digital inclusion development policy financing (DPF) programme, which will support major policy reforms to promote an enabling environment for digital transformation

Building on continuing government reforms, the current DPF, the first in a programmatic series of three operations, aims to improve financial inclusion and access for businesses and individuals to more competitive digital infrastructure and services. It also seeks to stimulate growth in the private sector by giving startups and youth-led enterprises access to finance.

Jesko Hentschel, World Bank Maghreb country director, said, “The COVID-19 outbreak demonstrated the paramount importance of digitalisation as a means to ensure business continuity and promote innovation. During this crisis, Morocco’s digital transition accelerated rapidly, showing the country’s capacity for a greater scale up. Digitalisation opens new opportunities for Morocco, ranging from more fluid economic transactions to better services to citizens and businesses.

“Through the current support, we aim to boost this potential and leverage digital transformation for more inclusive growth.”

The DPF, whose goals have been revised to address the outbreak-related priorities, will support the government’s efforts to digitise major services for individuals and businesses and enhance household and business resilience.

Djibrilla Issa, lead financial sector specialist and task team leader, stated, “Access to finance through digital financial services, credit, social protection programmes, and insurance will allow individuals and households to start and expand businesses, invest in education or health, manage risks, and improve the overall quality of their lives.”

In addition to promoting microfinance, the programme will support access to foreign currency for startups.

Dalia Al Kadi, senior economist and co-task team leader, commented, “This is a critical measure for innovative Moroccan startups that are striving to compete locally and globally. It will allow them to import digital services that are not available in Morocco in order to enhance their product and service offerings and boost their competitiveness.”

The programme will support major policy reforms to promote competition and universal access in the telecommunications and broadband sector, providing opportunities for enterprises and administrations to digitally transform themselves.

The DPF is also paving the way for the Intelaka Entrepreneurship Programme by supporting reforms that are conducive to the development of startups and creating new asset classes for innovative enterprise early-stage financing. Finally, the program supports small business participation in government procurement as an enabler to economic inclusion and recovery.

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