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  • The EIB has granted a loan of €100 million (approximately MAD 1.08 billion) to support the inclusive and sustainable development of Morocco’s forests.
  • Supporting the 2020-2030 Forests of Morocco strategy, the operation will be implemented over a period of five years by the National Agency for Water and Forests (ANEF).
  • The aim is to sustainably manage natural resources and promote ecotourism and value chains to improve the socioeconomic development of communities in forest areas.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Moroccan Ministry of Economy and Finance are pleased to announce that a financing agreement totalling €100 million (approximately MAD 1.08 billion) has been signed today, 28 December 2023. The agreement will help finance Morocco’s inclusive and sustainable forest management project, and will also be backed by a European Union (EU) guarantee. Running over a period of five years (2024-2028), the operation will be implemented by the National Agency for Water and Forests (ANEF) in support of the 2020-2030 Forests of Morocco strategy.

This strategy aims to restore more than 600 000 hectares of forest ecosystems, combat soil erosion, regulate the flow of water, create more than 27 500 additional direct jobs, and increase the market value generated by the productive and ecotourism sectors to €0.5 billion a year (around MAD 5.25 billion).

Covering 9 million hectares, Morocco’s forest ecosystems play a strategic role within the country, providing environmental, social and economic benefits for its people. But with degradation and overexploitation posing major challenges, these forest ecosystems require urgent attention and significant investment. The 2020-2030 Forests of Morocco strategy outlines a new vision for the development of forest areas based on an inclusive, sustainable and value-creating management model that focuses on forest-dependent communities.

The aim of this project is to sustainably manage natural resources, and to promote ecotourism and forest value chains in order to foster socioeconomic development. It has three main components. These include developing drainage basins for the sustainable management of water resources, rehabilitating and restoring forest areas in national parks and developing ecotourism, and providing technical assistance to ANEF to help implement the programme, diversify its revenue streams and increase the economic value of forestry sectors.

The project will help ANEF by financing investments in Morocco’s national parks and drainage basins, particularly in highland regions. These investments will cover infrastructure and institutional capabilities. The support comes on top of the European Union’s €115 million Green Land/Al Ard Al Khadraa programme (nearly MAD 1.26 billion). This programme is designed to strengthen the research and development chain, provide training and advisory support to promote the green transition, create decent jobs, and develop Morocco’s agricultural and forestry sectors.

As the EU bank and climate bank, climate and environmental action are a top priority for the EIB, which supports major investments in ecosystem protection and restoration. Half of global gross domestic product relies on nature and is therefore exposed to the risks of biodiversity loss and environmental degradation. That is why supporting investments to protect biodiversity and manage the risks that threaten nature and biodiversity is at the heart of the EIB’s efforts, in line with the goals of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

This support also comes under the objectives of the EU-Morocco Green Partnership. It is in line with national and EU priorities, and contributes directly to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Special attention will also be paid to the impact on gender equality and the creation of employment opportunities for women.

EU Ambassador to Morocco Patricia Pilar Llombart Cussac said: “Conserving agroforestry ecosystems and promoting their environmental, economic and social sustainability are a priority for the European Union, with its commitment to protecting biodiversity in Europe and around the world. Under the EU-Morocco Green Partnership, we are supporting the Forests of Morocco strategy and working alongside the EIB to protect and restore drainage basins, promote the sustainable development of national parks and encourage more forest users to participate in managing resources.”

“The EIB’s support for this ambitious Moroccan programme demonstrates its unwavering commitment to climate action and environmental sustainability. It marks another step towards achieving our common goals for climate action, biodiversity protection and sustainable development, which will have a positive impact on local communities,” said Lionel Rapaille, director of operations for EU neighbourhood countries at the EIB. He added that “As the EU climate bank, the EIB looks forward to working with ANEF. Forests are natural carbon sinks and allies in the fight against climate change. This operation will not only help to strengthen the resilience of Morocco’s forest ecosystems, but will also promote economic development, job creation and local community welfare.”

European Investment Bank

The EIB has been a key partner for Morocco for more than 40 years. It finances the development and implementation of important projects in vital sectors of the Moroccan economy such as business support, agriculture, water and sanitation, education, health, transport and renewable energy.

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