At a meeting held in Abidjan on Wednesday, the Board of Directors of the African Development Bank has approved a loan of 120 million dollars with the aim of helping businesses that have experienced difficulties in enhancing their activity and preserving employment, and successfully exit the economic crisis caused by the pandemic of COVID-19.
The Moroccan manager of the African Development Bank, Achraf Hassan Tarsim, said the loan will relaunch and include. "The pursuit of this dual priority will revitalise activity, protect jobs and restore growth. We do it alongside young and women entrepreneurs and small businesses that play a key role in the dynamics of recovery with more than 70% of jobs created," added the Moroccan diplomat.
For his part, the director of the African Development Bank's financial sector development department, Stefan Nalletamby, added that with the granting of the loan "we are pursuing two main priorities: diversifying the supply of financing for SMEs and deepening financial markets through instruments such as crowdfunding".
In doing so, the loan aims to strengthen the Financial Inclusion Support Programme to facilitate access to finance for households and businesses, support entrepreneurs and improve the business climate by simplifying administrative procedures. In addition, this programme has the African Development Bank's main priorities: improving the quality of life of African populations and industrialising the African continent.
Following the onset of the pandemic caused by COVID-19, the African Development Bank and the International Labour Organisation conducted a study to analyse the effects of the crisis and make recommendations. Small businesses were the hardest hit by this crisis: two-thirds of small and medium-sized enterprises in the Kingdom recorded a drop in turnover of more than 15% in the first half of 2020, leading to the loss of 430,000 jobs and an increase in underemployment. SMEs in Morocco constitute the main economic fabric of the country, accounting for more than 73% of jobs.
The Moroccan government implemented measures to provide compensation for work-related accidents and financial and fiscal aid to SMEs. These measures contributed to a cushioning effect that preserved 71% of jobs.
The African Development Bank has supported Morocco with $12 billion to improve health and promote sectors such as energy, water, transport, human development, agriculture and the financial sector.