Abu Dhabi – MENA Herald: Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) has played an active role in supporting sustainable development in the Kingdom of Morocco since 1976. Over the past 40 years, the fund has implemented several successful development projects in Morocco, accelerating economic development throughout the country.

Related to key economic sectors, the projects have helped Morocco achieve social and economic development in areas such as transportation, water and agriculture, healthcare, housing, education and electricity.

In 2013, the UAE offered AED4.6 billion (US$ 1.25billion) to Morocco, within the framework of the Gulf Development Fund, in line with the GCC countries’ US$5 billion grant programme to finance development projects in Morocco over a five-year period. The UAE grant, managed by ADFD, focused on sectors vital to the economic and social development of Morocco.

With this, the total value of the concessionary loans and government grants administered by ADFD in Morocco reached AED7.3 billion allocated towards the funding and managing of a total of 64 development projects.

His Excellency Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General of ADFD, said: “The development assistance provided by the UAE to the Kingdom of Morocco through ADFD is a reflection of close ties and long-standing cordial relations between the two countries. The diverse portfolio of projects undertaken by ADFD in Morocco articulates our pledge to support the brotherly and friendly countries in successfully overcoming their most pressing economic and development challenges. As part of our ongoing commitment to promoting sustainable economic and social development in Morocco, we support key economic sectors that strengthen the Moroccan national economy and ease the economic burden of its people.”

Transportation

In line with its belief that a sound modern infrastructure is an important first step to building a strong and well-developed economy, ADFD has allocated a total of AED2 billion in concessionary loans and grants towards the development of 11 projects in the vital transportation sector.

Of this amount, AED367.3 million was provided in loans to finance the construction of a high-speed rail network linking the cities of Tangier and Kenitra in Morocco. The project aims to build a highly competitive railway network in terms of safety and connectivity to meet the anticipated growth in the merchandise and passenger movement. The project will also cater to the needs of the upcoming Tangier Port, another important infrastructure undertaking funded by ADFD in Morocco. Expected to cut the travel time between the two cities from five hours to around 2.5 hours, the high speed train will accelerate the pace of economic growth through doubling the container traffic as well as increasing passenger movement from three million to 10 million per annum.

ADFD is also focused on developing Morocco’s maritime infrastructure through improving the role of seaports in propelling economic growth and boosting investment. In 2002, the Fund  extended AED1 billion including AED734.6 million in concessionary loans and AED367.3 billion in grants (managed by the Fund) towards the development of Tangier Port.

The project includes the construction of a 35km deep water port east of Tangier on the Mediterranean Sea. It will create a special economic zone and provide thousands of new job opportunities for the Moroccan youth.

Housing

Housing is another important sector supported by ADFD in Morocco as part of its priority to achieve social stability and development in Morocco. The Fund has leveraged the UAE’s contribution within the GCC’s development grant program for Morocco, supporting the housing sector through the allocation of AED830 million. The grant has been used to support the housing sector in several major cities of Morocco, offering a strong boost to the Moroccan government’s efforts to raise the standard of living in the country. This project has provided housing assistance for hundreds of thousands of families from the low-income category in several Moroccan cities, including 108,000 housing units in Marrakech, 42,800 housing units in Casablanca, 91,000 housing units in Pullman in Fez, 41,800 housing units in the east, 58,800 housing units in Tangier and Tetouan and 56,300 housing units in Meknes.

With these projects, the total value of loans and grants allocated by the Fund towards supporting the housing sector in Morocco over the past decades exceeded AED1 billion allocated towards funding 17 projects.

Water

In line with ADFD’s commitment towards supporting the social and economic development in Morocco, the Fund managed 7 projects to improve the water sector in Morocco, an important priority for the Moroccan Government to improve the standard of living of the people of Morocco. To date, the Fund has extended a total of AED738 million in concessionary loans and grants to support this vital sector.

As part of the GCC support programme for Morocco, ADFD has administered a number of government grants to support the water sector in Morocco, notably the construction of Kharoub dam which aims to provide the residents of Tangier and Asilah with drinking water through the construction of a 60-meter high dam near the city of Tangier. The dam, with a capacity of about 200 million cubic meters, will be used for storing rainwater and water flows from the valleys. The UAE’s contribution to the construction of the dam is AED501 million.

ADFD is also contributing to a project to supply drinking water to Khouribga city and surrounding areas through the setting up of a treatment plant, a pumping station station and a 6km long and 1.6 diameter canal. The UAE allocated AED88.9 million towards this project.

Healthcare

ADFD has funded and managed 5 healthcare facilities in Morocco through the allocation of AED423 million aimed at improving the quality of healthcare services offered to Moroccan citizens in various parts of the country. The Zayed Hospital in Rabat, funded by a government grant in 1989, demonstrates the UAE’s priority to provide world-class healthcare services to the people of Morocco. ADFD also managed another government grant to equip the Mohammed VI University Hospital Center in Marrakech, a 916-bed healthcare facility that spread across an area of 8.8 hectares. The Centre includes a department for maternity and pediatrics, accommodating 247 beds over an area of 20,260 square meters. The second part of the center, built on an area of 54,500 square meters, includes a specialized hospital with 585 beds and a 84 bed oncology hospital as well as a number of in-patient clinics. The UAE’s contribution to the project is about AED238.7 million.

Education

Given the important role of education in the development and prosperity of nations, ADFD has been keen to fund several educational projects in Morocco through the UAE’s allocation within the GCC development grant. This includes 12 projects worth AED360 million aimed at improving the higher education landscape in the country. The grant was earmarked to establish several vocational training institutes, build and expand university campuses, and set up and equip a college of medicine and pharmacy in Morocco.

Agriculture

Agriculture is an important contributor to the Moroccan economy and ADFD has supported this sector through the allocation of Dh200 million for three vital projects. Of these projects, Western Plain Agricultural project was funded in 1979 with a loan from ADFD. The project aims to improve the living standards of people in the Western region of Morocco by creating new job opportunities as well as expanding agricultural land through bringing about fundamental changes to the irrigation system. The project covers an area of 45,500 hectares north of the city of Rabat. ADFD has also supported other agricultural projects in Morocco including Central Al Haouz that was supported in 1982 with the objective of raising the standard of living of people through accelerating agricultural production. The project also helped increase power generation from hydroelectric resources and facilitated the supply of drinking water to the city of Marrakech.

Electricity

In the electricity sector, ADFD has managed three major projects that aim to supply adequate electricity for several Moroccan cities. Additionally, the fund has supported Moroccan electricity sector through its contribution to the GCC grant programme for Morocco. These projects involve renovation of a number of power stations as well as increasing the capacity of power transmission networks across large Moroccan cities. ADFD’s contribution to the Moroccan electricity sector is estimated at Dh130 million.

The development projects are in line with ADFD’s commitment to improving the standard of living in Morocco and advancing sustainable development through financing infrastructure projects. The projects also aim to stimulate economic and social growth, create new employment and investment opportunities and achieve greater social stability.

ADFD has also been working with other developing countries to help them overcome economic hurdles and achieve sustainable economic growth. The Fund has extended financial support and made massive investments in economically viable projects to help countries confront various economic challenges. ADFD also contributes to poverty eradication and achieving sustainable development across the world, especially in countries that suffer low development rates.

Established in 1971, Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) is an independent national entity affiliated to the Abu Dhabi government. To help developing countries achieve sustainable development, the Fund offers concessionary loans, manages government grants through the direct supervision of such aid in project implementation and makes long-term investments and direct contributions. Since its inception, ADFD has overseen the provision and management of AED69 billion towards financing 459 development projects in 78 countries around the world.