The EIP launching conference in Morocco was attended by Michael Köhler, European Commission Director for Neighbourhood South, and Moroccan Minister of Economy and Finance, Mohamed Boussaid.
The European Union is strongly committed to supporting Morocco in building a sound, inclusive and sustainable economy, said the European Commission in a press release issued in Brussels.
Launched in September 2017 to help boost investment in partner countries in Africa and the European Neighbourhood, the EIP will now encourage investments that promote an inclusive growth, job creation and sustainable development also in Morocco, the press release said.
Commissioner for Enlargement Negotiations and European Neighbourhood Policy Johannes Hahn commented: “The European External Investment Plan will help leverage significant private funds into key sectors of Morocco’s economy. The plan will in turn empower local entrepreneurs and create jobs in the country. This new and innovative approach will also help carry out big sustainable development projects, which otherwise would not have been possible at all or would have been significantly smaller.”
According to the European Commission, under the EIP, the new European Fund for Sustainable Development will make available €4.1 billion in grants destined to support sustainable development in countries in sub-Saharan Africa and the European Neighbourhood, as well as allowing public and private operators to leverage each other’s strengths.
The EU’s EIP will also provide technical assistance to help improve the quality of projects and mobilize investment from financial institutions, public institutions and private investors.
An additional assistance will be given to public authorities to foster a more favorable overall business environment through better policy making and legislation, in dialogue with the private sector.
The conference brought together national authorities, private sector companies, International Financial Institutions and other stakeholders to discuss investment opportunities and ways to overcome remaining barriers in accessing funds.
Between 2014 and 2017, the EU has allocated €807 million in bilateral assistance to Morocco. EU’s support focuses mainly on equitable access to social services, democratic governance, the rule of law and mobility, as well as employability and sustainable and inclusive growth. Complementary support for capacity development and civil society is also provided.
The EIP encourages private investors to contribute to sustainable development in countries outside of Europe. It integrates a new generation of financial instruments – namely guarantees, risk sharing instruments, as well as the blending of grants and loans – into the more traditional forms of assistance such as grants. It also includes a guarantee mechanism to crowd in private investments, where viable business proposals meet social needs, and where limited public funds can attract private money.
Overall, about €44 billion are expected to be mobilized under the EIP from 2017 until 2020 for Africa and the European Neighborhood.