First partnership between EIB and CAM to help businesses in the bioeconomy and agriculture sector
Partnership intended to underpin Morocco’s new “Green Generation 2020-2030” agricultural strategy
This large-scale support is also part of the European Union’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic
€200 million loan to come with technical assistance to help CAM digitalise agricultural value chains and work with green financing
On Wednesday 16 September, in the presence of Aziz Akhannouch, the Moroccan Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Rural Development, Water and Forests, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and CAM, represented respectively by Emma Navarro, Vice-President, and Tariq Sijilmassi, Chairman of the Management Board, signed a €200 million loan agreement to boost support for Moroccan businesses operating in the agriculture and bioeconomy sector with a particular focus on sustainable development.
This credit line’s primary objective is to assist Morocco in rolling out its new “Green Generation 2020-2030” agricultural strategy. It will provide financing for the value chains present in all types of agricultural production, with an impact on every aspect of the related ecosystem (production, storage, logistics, packaging, packing, processing, marketing, etc.). All food production segments, upstream and downstream (including farms, agricultural cooperatives, economic interest groups, small and medium-sized enterprises and micro-enterprises), are eligible for the funding. In particular, the aim is to finance productive investments that create jobs and add value, fully in line with the ambitions of “Green Generation 2020-2030”.
The EIB will also mobilise additional resources to support CAM and its clients by providing specific technical assistance. This will support the digitalisation of this sector and the use of “big data”, in addition to helping develop environmentally friendly measures and action.
In his opening speech at the signing ceremony held by video conference, Aziz Akhannouch welcomed “the support lent by the EIB and CAM to Morocco’s strategic vision for its agricultural sector, as embodied in the “Green Generation 2020-2030” programme. This agreement marks the first step towards making “Green Generation 2020-2030” a reality since its launch by His Majesty King Mohammed VI in February.”
EIB Vice-President Emma Navarro said: “The private sector is a priority for the EIB. We attach particular importance to this area and, through this partnership, would like to support small and medium-sized enterprises in a key sector for the Moroccan economy. For us, this is a strategic partnership with a major player in the financing of Morocco’s bioeconomy. Given the challenges we are facing at such a critical time for us all, we are making every effort to support Morocco’s economy.”
Tariq Sijilmassi, Chairman of the Management Board of CAM, said: “This agreement is the first step taken jointly by CAM and the EIB towards building a strong and sustainable partnership that benefits the agricultural world and rural communities. Through this agreement, we wish to consolidate our support for the agricultural sector, which remains our bank’s top priority, and, above all, mobilise more resources to support the country’s new “Green Generation 2020-2030” agricultural strategy. As such, this operation is part of a large-scale support and recovery programme that CAM is working on with the Ministry of Agriculture to help farmers, agro-industries and the middle classes in rural areas. This programme will be unveiled at a later date.”
This funding is part of the European Union’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic and, more specifically, chimes with Team Europe, an EU initiative set up to help partner countries, in particular countries outside Europe, in combating this public health crisis and mitigating its economic and social impacts.
As a key partner to Morocco for over 40 years, the EIB has provided the country with over €5 billion in funding since 2007, of which 30% was granted to the private sector.
Crédit Agricole du Maroc is the main bank and long-standing leader in financing the agricultural sector in Morocco. Thanks to its exemplary commitment and efforts to develop agriculture and rural areas, it stands as a model in Africa. Since 1961, the bank has been working with farmers to find the best possible answers to all their needs and provide rural communities with innovative and effective solutions.
CAM now has a balance sheet of over €10 billion and outstanding loans of €8 billion, with over half of this total allocated to agriculture, agri-food and economic activities in rural areas.
2020 saw an extraordinary level of European Investment Bank (EIB) activity in Morocco, with €617 million (almost MAD 6.7 billion) in signatures – double the 2019 figure. The Bank took wide-ranging action under the Team Europe initiative to quickly provide urgent support to the Kingdom of Morocco to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. It provided immediate funding and exceptionally accelerated disbursements for previously signed loans to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The Bank's total disbursements in 2020 reached €516 million, three times more than in 2018. This acceleration made it possible to provide decisive support to project promoters facing liquidity constraints.
In April 2019, the EIB and the European Commission announced nearly EUR 1 billion of financing for the agriculture and bioeconomy sectors across Europe. The financing, channelled through intermediary banks, includes a window with favourable lending conditions for young farmers financing.