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Morocco - World Bank approves $200 million Morocco loan

The World Bank board of directors approved a loan of $200 million to support the financial sector reform policies undertaken by the Moroccan government.

The aim of the Financial Sector Development Policy Loan is to foster the emergence of an efficient financial sector that better supports Morocco's development and growth objectives, to promote an enabling environment for financial intermediation and risk management, and to boost the private sector's role and participation in the provision of financial services.

The Financial Sector Development Policy Loan will help strengthen the legislation, regulation and supervision of the financial sector through the establishment of a legal and regulatory framework in line with international standards so as to improve financial intermediation and mobilize savings through improving the legislation, regulation, and supervision of the banking and insurance industries, and of financial markets.

The project will also seek to restructure specialized public financial institutions in handling their stock of non-performing assets and to bolster their role in the financial sector.

In so doing, the project will help to: 1.) support efforts undertaken by the authorities to liquidate the Banque Nationale pour le Developpement Economique, 2.) clarify the strategic positioning of Credit Immobilier et Hotelier (CIH) and ensure it complies with prudential ratios by addressing the burden of non performing loans.

In the framework of this operation, the authorities have already embarked on carrying on the institutional, operational and financial restructuring plan of Credit Agricole (CA).

Another dimension to the new loan is that of improving the infrastructure, transparency, and integrity of the financial sector by 1.) modernizing payment systems; 2.) strengthening anti-money laundering and terrorism-financing measures; and 3.) enhancing the quality of financial information.

"This loan is in line with the diagnostic and recommendations of the Morocco Financial Sector Assessment carried out in 2002," said Samir al-Daher, the project's Task Team Leader.

"While some challenges remain, the loan approved today represents an important step in the establishment of a more efficient financial sector, one with greater capabilities to play a role in the financing of growth."

Casablanca,12 20 2005
The Daily Star
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