Casablanca Gets €172 Mln WB Loan to Support its Modernization

The World Bank Board has announced a €172 million loan to the Moroccan city of Casablanca, hosting around 12 pc of the North African country’s population and contributing 20 pc of the national GDP.

The loan, first of its kind, will enable the city’s managers to solve its growing urban challenges. It will support the Casablanca Development Plan, launched in 2014, to boost the city’s economic attractiveness and competitiveness.

“The city of Casablanca has the ambition to enhance its role as the main driver of the country’s economy. With the regionalization agenda, the municipality of Casablanca will prioritize its efforts to respond to citizens’ demands for more efficient urban services”, says Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, World Bank Maghreb Country Director.

“Strengthening the city, both financially and institutionally, and helping it reduce intra-city disparities will enable it to fulfill its service provision mandate while being accountable to the city dwellers” adds the WB official.

The objective of the World Bank support is to increase the city’s investment capacity by improving the Municipality’s revenue management systems, and attracting private investment in Municipal infrastructure and services through Public-Private Partnerships.

The program also intends to improve the living conditions of thousands of households in disadvantaged neighborhoods by providing them access to basic services. Since improving the social contract between the city and its population is at the heart of this endeavor, a transparent grievance redress mechanism will be developed to enhance the city’s accountability and citizens’ feedback on city management.

As an economic and industrial hub, Casablanca’s business environment is key to realizing the city’s economic growth potential. The program will support reforms aiming to promote an environment conducive to business development by automating business procedures, increasing administrative transparency and reducing delays to obtain authorizations such as building permits and business licenses.

“Being the country’s largest city and economic capital, Greater Casablanca embodies the opportunities of Morocco’s urbanization. This innovative program will not only respond to the city’s service delivery constraints and business environment challenges but will also help leverage a model of urban management to be scaled up to other large cities in Morocco” says Augustin Maria, World Bank Senior Urban Development specialist and Task team leader.

The project is a partnership-based program involving different players from the municipality of Casablanca, the private sector, civil society and citizens at large. To deliver on the project’s key outcomes, the program, led by the Municipality of Casablanca, will involve close collaboration between government policy makers at local, regional and national levels.

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