The President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), Mr Philippe Maystadt, and the Vice-President in charge of the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP), Mr Philippe de Fontaine Vive today officially inaugurated FEMIP's Representative Office in Rabat, in the presence of Morocco's Minister for Finance and Privatisation, Mr F. Oualalou. They also signed loans totalling EUR 130 million for transport projects in Morocco. The contracts were signed today in Rabat with Mr F. Oualalou and Mr K. Ghellab, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport.

The Bank's delegation also held a series of discussions with Mr Driss Jettou, Prime Minister. The Moroccan authorities and the EIB were thus afforded the opportunity, at the highest level, to take stock of the achievements of FEMIP, within which Morocco holds a prime position, during the two and a half years since its official launch in Barcelona on 18 October 2002.

At the talks, President Maystadt stated: FEMIP is meeting the expectations of both the Union and the Mediterranean Partner Countries. In two and a half years, despite a difficult environment, we have increased the share of our lending directly devoted to financing private enterprises, the priority objective of FEMIP. I have no doubt that these promising results, along with the partner countries' full involvement in FEMIP, will be key issues at the forthcoming meeting of the FEMIP Ministerial Committee, which will take place at the Skhirat conference centre on 19 and 20 June 2005. At this summit, the first Euro-Mediterranean ECOFIN meeting will also be held, thus enabling the Finance Ministers to underline together the importance of effective and mutually beneficial cooperation between Europe and its Mediterranean partners.

The remit of the FEMIP Representative Office in Rabat is to ensure local coordination with the Moroccan authorities, the banking sector and enterprises, especially to facilitate the identification of new projects and provide better assistance to the private sector; the Office is also responsible for aiding the execution of technical assistance and contributing towards the smooth implementation of projects. Mr René Perez has been placed in charge of the Bank's Representative Office.

Mr de Fontaine Vive commented: The opening of the Rabat Office and the holding of the FEMIP Ministerial Committee meeting in Morocco provide concrete examples of the exceptionally close relationship between the Kingdom of Morocco and FEMIP. The launch of this new FEMIP office in a partner country illustrates our desire to get in closer touch with conditions on the ground and step up the partnership with the Mediterranean authorities already expressed in the form of the Ministerial and Experts Committee meetings. FEMIP lending now exceeds EUR 2 billion a year, but our new goal is to improve the quality of private sector financing in order to optimise risk sharing and better underpin start-up possibilities.

The EIB delegation also signed loans totalling EUR 130 million for investment in transport in Morocco:

EUR 70 million to Société nationale des autoroutes du Maroc (ADM) to construct the Settat-Marrakesh section completing the Marrakesh-Tangiers motorway passing through Casablanca and Rabat. Co-financed by Arab funds, this regional transport artery will not only link the various major centres of growth within the country but also connect them to neighbouring countries. It forms part of the State's Motorway Master Plan - one of the Government's national priorities - which provides for the construction of 1 500 km of motorways by 2010. This project will help to improve national and international flows of travellers and goods, thus contributing to the economic development of the country.

With this fifth loan to ADM, FEMIP's total financing since 1995 for the motorway sector in Morocco amounts to EUR 445 million.

EUR 60 million to Caisse de financement routier (CFR) du Maroc for works to improve 2 290 km of rural roads throughout the country.

The ongoing improvement of rural infrastructure is a necessary condition for the harmonious and balanced development of Morocco. Rural roads serve to provide a link to the remotest parts of the country, so helping to open up entire regions that are essentially agricultural. The project should contribute significantly to the country's economic and social development insofar as a large proportion of Morocco's population lives in isolated rural areas, by providing them with improved access to schooling, healthcare and the various local economic centres. Furthermore, the project will help to cut transport costs and increase productivity (especially in farming) and should thus have a significant positive impact on the country while at the same time addressing one of the greatest challenges facing Morocco - rural development.

Loans in the Mediterranean Partner Countries are granted under the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP). This focuses primarily on nurturing the private sector and financing the social and economic infrastructure underpinning its development.

In 2004, FEMIP lent a record EUR 2.2 billion in the Mediterranean Countries, of which EUR 241 million in Morocco (see list below). In addition, the aid provided under its Technical Assistance Fund totalled EUR 13.8 million (for further details of FEMIP's results in 2004, see press release of 4 March 2005).


Modernisation and technical upgrading of the Mohammédia power plant to ensure

its compliance with environmental standards


Construction of a wind farm on the Mediterranean coast between Tangiers and Tétouan

Construction of urban infrastructure for social housing districts 71.00
Modernisation of water and sanitation infrastructure in Safi and Beni Mellal 20.00

Construction of a wastewater treatment plant and technical upgrading of pumping stations in Fez

Financing of microcredit operations 10.00

Since 1995, FEMIP has advanced some EUR 2 billion for capital projects in Morocco that have a fundamental impact on the country's economic development.