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The aim of the EUR 75m finance contract signed this Monday, 28 September 2015, between the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Office National de l’électricité et de l’eau potable (ONEE) is to increase the capacity of the water production and distribution and sanitation networks in Morocco. This financing operation is fully in keeping with the priorities of the European Union's external mandate and Morocco's 2012-2016 national strategy to provide the population with fair access to basic services and modernise priority infrastructure.

The signing ceremony was held at Morocco's Budget Ministry in the presence of Morocco's Budget Minister Mr El Azami Drissi, the Central Manager of ONEE's Finance Division Ms Nawal Khalifa, the European Union's Ambassador H.E. Mr Rupert Joy and EIB Vice-President Román Escolano. Morocco's Minister for Energy, Mining, Water and the Environment was represented by his chef de cabinet Mr Abdelali Gour.

This is a key financing operation for Morocco, as the EIB Vice-President emphasised: "Access to good quality water is essential to the economic and social life of a country. It is a source of life and an asset that must be preserved at all costs. That is why it is essential to provide every municipality with modern, efficient, environmentally friendly infrastructure that can support economic activity while improving people's quality of life".

For a number of years Morocco has been faced with a rapidly growing population and burgeoning economic activity, which has led to increased demand for water throughout the country.

Focused on enhancing the performance and reliability of the network, this financing operation will support a number of small-scale schemes, the aim being to improve, renovate and optimise the water production, distribution and sanitation infrastructure throughout Morocco, the key to which is to significantly reduce water losses.

The operation will have a pronounced social and environmental impact on the municipalities, particularly in terms of public health: the quality of the drinking water supply and sanitation services, the reduction in wastewater discharges, the increased resistance of the infrastructure to climate change and the optimisation of water resources will improve people's quality of life. By financing this project, the EIB is providing its support for infrastructure that is vital for the population while at the same time promoting economic growth and social integration as well as SME activity and local employment in the heart of the municipalities concerned.

As the main provider of funds to Morocco, the EIB has invested nearly EUR 6.7bn in supporting projects in the Moroccan economy's key sectors, such as energy, transport, water and sanitation, health and education, social housing, industry, SMEs and even innovation.