Washington — The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved Wednesday a 202 million-dollar loan to support the urban development goals in the city of Casablanca.
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, said the bank in a statement.
The program also intends to improve the living conditions of thousands of households in disadvantaged neighborhoods by providing them access to basic services. It 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, it said.
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, said the bank, adding that a transparent grievance redress mechanism will be developed to enhance the city's accountability and citizens' feedback on city management.
"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 fulfil its service provision mandate while being accountable to the city dwellers," said Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, World Bank Maghreb Country Director, quoted in the statement.
"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," said Augustin Maria, World Bank Senior Urban Development specialist and Task team leader.
The Casablanca Municipal Support Program builds on the Greater Casablanca Development Plan (Plan de Développement du Grand Casablanca, PDGC), launched in 2014-focusing on the plan's regionalization agenda to boost the city's economic attractiveness and competitiveness.
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.