WB Lends Morocco 200 Million to Boost Public Transport

Washington – The World Bank extended Morocco a $200 million loan to support the ongoing program to improve urban mobility in Morocco, and in particular the quality and management of public transport.“This is a timely program to support the Moroccan government’s public transport agenda. Beyond strengthening institutions and decentralized management more broadly, the project will support the establishment of public transport corridors and improve the efficiency of traffic management with dedicated infrastructure,” says Vickram Cuttaree, Senior Infrastructure Economist and Task Team Leader.With 60% of 34 million Moroccans living in cities, public transport has a vital role to play. Local municipalities have struggled to provide good roads, and with the limited resources and capacity they have to manage public transport. This has affected its quality and reliability, says the World Bank in a release which also noted that the transport program will focus on cities of over 100,000 inhabitants in nine regions. Funds will be disbursed only when milestones agreed upon in advance are completed, since the loan is a “Program for Results (PforR), the WB points out.“An efficient urban transport system is essential for urban mobility, which will underpin the development of Moroccan cities,” said Marie Françoise Marie-Nelly, World Bank Maghreb Country Director. “Improved public transport systems will mean increased productivity and better access to economic opportunities and key services such as health and education, particularly for the most disadvantaged citizens.”Morocco estimates the financing for its urban transport sector will reach US$3 billion over a decade. The goal of its national plan is two-fold: to improve the sector’s management and make it financially sustainable; and to build a web of urban transport corridors within larger cities. The Bank will support the government’s plan with expertise and global knowledge.The World Bank has stepped up its engagement in the urban transport sector in Morocco over the past few years. A $136.7 million-Development Policy Loan (DPL) was launched in 2011 to improve the sector’s governance and increase urban transport and infrastructure.This was coupled with regular technical assistance for the Moroccan government’s transport strategy, along with research to deepen its knowledge of the sector with studies such as the Casablanca Gender and Transport report released in 2011.With MAP read more