The European Union transferred a grant of €157 million (MAD 1.7 billion) to Morocco on Monday, May 26, to help the country in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic and vowed more grants by the end of 2020 to total €300 million.
The amount was injected into Morocco’s Special Fund for the Management and Response to COVID-19, the Moroccan Ministry of Economy & finance and the EU Delegation in Rabat announced in a joint statement Friday.
The special fund was set up on March 15, at the initiative of King Mohammed VI, to fund health system acquisitions and offset the social and economic repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Minister of Economy & Finance Mohamed Benchaaboun and EU Ambassador Claudia Wiedey welcomed the payments from the European Union, which took place on May 26, the statement said.
The grant is part of the EU commitment and support programs to assist partners to improve the sectors of health, social protection, training, and education.
The joint statement emphasized that the grant comes in response to the “incessant efforts led by the Moroccan state since the first days of the pandemic notably through the National Solidarity Fund COVID-19,” and expressed the EU’s support for the “proactive approach Morocco adopted under the King’s high instructions to cushion up the COVID-19 impact.”
Morocco, on its part, voiced appreciation for “the spirit of solidarity shown by the European Union vis-a-vis- its longstanding partner in this period of crisis,” the statement added, noting that the two sides managed to materialize the commitments made in March in a very short time thanks to the mobilization of their teams in Rabat and Brussels.
The EU vowed more grants to Morocco by the end of 2020 to help mitigate the economic and social consequences of the health crisis, the statement said.
The total sum of grants is estimated at €300 million (MAD 3 billion).
“The European Union and Morocco confirm their desire to further strengthen their partnership based on the shared principles of solidarity, mutual respect, co-ownership and co-responsibility, and transparency,” the press release concluded.
The new EU grant follows a similar allocation of €5 million (MAD 1.1 billion) announced on May 20 and destined to support Morocco’s health sector during the crisis.
Also in March, the EU announced it would redirect €450 million promised in aid to Morocco this year, including €150 million that will be directly injected in the special anti-coronavirus fund.