World Bank Supports the MA North-East Economic Development Project

Financing will help improve connectivity and growth, boost human capital in North-East Morocco

Washington  — The World Bank Board of Executive Directors today approved US$250 million for the MA North-East Economic Development Project. This funding will help to improve transport connectivity and enable private sector growth in North-East Morocco, notably around the development of the Nador West Med (NWM) maritime complex.

The North-East region of Morocco faces substantial development challenges and opportunities. It has been impacted by remoteness, natural disasters and climate-linked events, mineral resources depletion, an underdeveloped industrial base, and a large informal sector. Aware of the untapped potential of the area, the Government of Morocco is implementing a major infrastructure investment plan including the development of Nador West Med maritime complex (NWM), which includes a deep-sea port and an industrial zone, as well as actions to improve the regional business environment. This new World Bank project will support this initiative so that territorial development can materialize.

“In line with the reforms of the New Development Model, this project will help unlock territorial development, reduce spatial disparities to ensure a sustainable and resilient territorial development, and promote competitiveness. By contributing to the environment for job creation by the private sector and creating opportunities for economic inclusion, we aim to support greater prosperity for the region. Building skills for Moroccans in the region, particularly women and rural youth, will help further strengthen local capacity and social cohesion,” said Jesko Hentschel, World Bank Maghreb Country Director.

The project has three main components: to strengthen the integrated territorial development approach in the North-East Region, to support private sector development, and to improve road infrastructure. The project will finance the development of a priority investment roadmap, the improvement of 500 kilometers of rural roads, and the skills building of 5,000 young workers, with an emphasis on women and rural youth. It will also support reforms aimed at increasing private investment by US$30 million in the region and rehabilitate 170 kilometers of primary roads.

“By improving territorial planning, skills, and local private sector development, as well as investment in transport infrastructure, this project will boost the economic potential of Morocco’s North-East and improve the overall investment climate,” said Anne-Cecile Souhaid, World Bank Senior Transport Specialist and Task Team Leader.