The World Bank board of executive directors has approved a $500m Financial and Digital Inclusion Development Policy Financing (DPF) programme, which will support policy reforms to promote an enabling environment for digital transformation in Morocco.
The COVID-19 outbreak demonstrated the paramount importance of digitalisation as a means to ensure business continuity and promote innovation, said World Bank Maghreb country director Jesko Hentschel.
“During this crisis, Morocco’s digital transition accelerated rapidly, showing the country’s capacity for a greater scale up. Today, more than ever, digitalisation opens new opportunities for Morocco, ranging from more fluid economic transactions to better services to citizens and businesses. Through the current support, we aim to boost this potential and leverage digital transformation for more inclusive growth,” he said.
Building on continuing government reforms, the current DPF – the first in a programmatic series of three operations – seeks to improve financial inclusion and access to more competitive digital infrastructure and services for businesses and individuals. It also aims to spur private sector growth through access to finance for start-ups and youth-led enterprises.
The DPF, the objectives of which were revised to address emerging priorities related to the COVID-19 outbreak, will support the government’s efforts to digitalise key services for individuals and businesses and strengthen the resilience of households and firms.
“Access to finance through digital financial services, credit, social protection programmes, and insurance will allow individuals and households to start and expand businesses, invest in education or health, manage risks, and improve the overall quality of their lives,” said World Bank lead financial sector specialist and task team leader Djibrilla Issa.
In addition to promoting microfinance, the programme will support access to foreign currency for start-ups and also support key policy reforms to promote competition and universal access in the telecommunication and broadband sector.
The DPF also paves the way for the Intelaka entrepreneurship programme by supporting reforms conducive to start-ups’ development and creating new asset classes for early-stage financing for innovative enterprises. Finally, the programme supports the participation of small businesses in government procurement as an enabler for economic inclusion and recovery.