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Morocco could Lead Economic Integration around the Mediterranean

Rabat, November 23, 2010 – World Bank Managing Director Sri Mulyani Indrawati wrapped up her first visit to the Middle East and North Africa region with appreciation for Morocco’s impressive economic performance and commitment to achieve greater competitiveness in the Mediterranean and global economy.

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Indrawati held talks with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Taieb Fassi-Fihri, the Minister of Economy and Finance, Salaheddine Mezouar, the Minister of Energy, Mines, Water and Environment, Amina Benkhadra, the Minister of Economic and General affairs, Nizar Baraka and the Governor of the Central Bank, Abdelatif Jouahri. Their deliberations touched a wide agenda including social development issues, competitiveness, climate change, Morocco’s business environment, its trade regime and the potential of small and medium enterprises.

“I have great appreciation for the historical partnership between the World Bank and the Government of Morocco” said Indrawati ”I am very excited about some of the path breaking work I think we are tackling together in the area of energy supply and diversification as well as the government program to address the country’s acute vulnerability to climate change.”

Shamshad Akhtar, Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa, who accompanied Indrawati, said Morocco’s recent economic performance had been impressive considering the international situation. “The country’s stable macroeconomic stance and reform momentum will certainly help the Moroccan economy overcome the crisis,” said Akhtar. “We are fully committed to help expand the ongoing programs and support the government’s development agenda.”

After her meetings with civil society representatives and opinion leaders, Indrawati said she appreciated the vitality of Morocco’s NGO sector and the innovation it was capable of injecting into the country’s society.

Two National Human Development Initiative (INDH) project visits allowed Indrawati to see something of the scope of Morocco’s human development challenge. While the country has made great strides in meeting some of the Millennium Development Goals which measure human development, pockets of poverty remain in both urban and rural areas. In Temara, Indrawati visited a youth training center and a project where women were learning skills to help them generate sustainable income. “The major components of this initiative are to support job creation and poverty alleviation. My own country, Indonesia, has many of these same challenges and I was able to share my own experience of the Kecamatan Development Program (KDP) which is similar in so many respects to the National Initiative for Human Development (INDH).” she said.

Indrawati also emphasized the Bank’s commitment to strengthening economic integration across the region and between MENA and the global economy. “Morocco’s location places it strategically for interesting investment openings that may help its integration with both Europe and the Maghreb. The government is very committed to turning Morocco into a regional economic hub. There is no doubt Morocco could play a decisive role in the economic prosperity of the region.”

 

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