World Bank supports Morocco 2nd Rural Roads Project
Washington, United States of America – The World Bank’s Board of Directors approved a US$60 million loan to the Morocco Second Rural Roads Project (MSRRP).
Rural development in Morocco is key to reaching the Millennium Development Goals. About two thirds of the country’s poor live in rural areas. Better access to basic infrastructure is essential to improve living conditions and increasing the economic opportunities for the rural communities. The construction of rural roads as well as upgrading of existing tracks will bring significant social and economic benefits by allowing year-round access to social, community and administrative services. Investment in rural roads construction will also enhance the development of markets and business opportunities all year around.
This project is consistent with the priorities of the 2020 Rural Development Strategy that was recently launched by the Moroccan government. Morocco’s road network currently faces challenges of underdevelopment, rural accessibility and maintenance resulting from severe weather conditions as well as some management issues. Transport services are provided by private operators and road safety is more and more emerging as a priority in rural areas.
In response to these challenges, the Moroccan Government launched in 1995 the first National Program of Rural Roads (NPRR-1), which improved 11.000 km of existing roads and tracks during the period of 1995-2005. This program impacted significantly the living conditions of the rural population. Children’s school enrollment rates in rural villages which gained road access tripled, while the price of some essential commodities was reduced by 50%. The Second National Program of Rural Roads (NPRR-2), launched in 2005 aims at increasing access to roads for 80 percent of the rural population by 2015. It relies on a strong participatory process, with regions, provinces and local councils being systematically involved in the selection and funding of projects.
The project will contribute to achieving the general objectives of the National Program of Rural Roads (NPRR-2) which aim at increasing the level of access of the rural population from 54% in 2005 to 67% in 2010 and 80% by the end of the Program in 2015.
The project is estimated to cost about MAD 10 billion (equivalent to US$1.15 billion). The financing plan consists of: (a) a combined contribution of the FSR (Road Fund) and the General Budget of about MAD 4 billion (40%); (b) a loan of MAD 4.5 billion (45%); and (c) an expected total contribution from the regions, provinces and local communes of about MAD 1.5 billion (15%).
The project’s goal is also consistent with the Morocco Country Assistance Strategy 2005-2009 that explicitly identifies the development of rural infrastructure as one of the main priorities to be supported by Bank operations to contribute to poverty alleviation.