New World Bank Program to Improve Casablancas Governance and Urban Performance

Stocks and Financial Services Press Releases Thursday December 14, 2017 08:29
Washington--14 Dec--World Bank
Thousands of households and businesses to benefit from improved and more transparent services

Washington, December 13, 2017 – The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved today a EUR 172 million loan to the Municipality of Casablanca, the first sub-national lending operation in Morocco in two decades, that will benefit the city's urban development objectives. Concentrating around 12% of Morocco's population and contributing 20% of the national GDP, Casablanca is faced with mounting urban management challenges calling for greater support to help the city upgrade its governance model.

The Casablanca Municipal Support Program builds on the Greater Casablanca Development Plan (Plan de Developpement du Grand Casablanca, PDGC), launched in 2014—focusing on the plan's regionalization agenda to boost the city's economic attractiveness and competitiveness.

"The city of Casablanca has the ambition to enhance its role as the main driver of the country's economy. With the regionalization agenda, the municipality of Casablanca will prioritize its efforts to respond to citizens' demands for more efficient urban services. Strengthening the municipality, both financially and institutionally, and helping it reduce intra-city disparities are key to allow it to fulfill its service provision mandate while being accountable to the city dwellers" says Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, World Bank Maghreb Country Director.

The objective of the World Bank's support is to increase the city's investment capacity by improving the Municipality's revenue management systems, and attracting private investment in Municipal infrastructure and services through Public-Private Partnerships. The program also intends to improve the living conditions of thousands of households in disadvantaged neighborhoods by providing them access to basic services. Since improving the social contract between the city and its population is at the heart of this endeavor, a transparent grievance redress mechanism will be developed to enhance the city's accountability and citizens' feedback on city management.

As an economic and industrial hub, Casablanca's business environment is key to realizing the city's economic growth potential. The program will support reforms aiming to promote an environment conducive to business development by automating business procedures, increasing administrative transparency and reducing delays to obtain authorizations such as building permits and business licenses.

"Being the country's largest city and economic capital, Greater Casablanca embodies the opportunities of Morocco's urbanization. This innovative program will not only respond to the city's service delivery constraints and business environment challenges but will also help leverage a model of urban management to be scaled up to other large cities in Morocco" says Augustin Maria, World Bank Senior Urban Development specialist and Task team leader.

The project is a partnership-based program involving different players from the municipality of Casablanca, the private sector, civil society and citizens at large. To deliver on the project's key outcomes, the program, led by the Municipality of Casablanca, will involve close collaboration between government policy makers at local, regional and national levels. A potential valuable outcome of this operation is the demonstration effect of an integrated package of reforms and investments that could be replicated in other large cities in Morocco.


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