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    King Mohamed VI Celebrates Morocco’s Economic Response to COVID-19

    Despite painting a mostly uplifting picture of Morocco’s response to the economic repercussions of the COVID crisis, the King stressed that the country’s fight against the pandemic is far from over.

    01 Aug 2021

    Rabat - While acknowledging the long road ahead of Morocco as the country faces a new wave of infections, King Mohammed VI’s Throne Day Speech on Saturday recalled the various successful initiatives the government implemented to manage the economic fallout of the COVID-19 crisis.

    In the early days of the pandemic, Morocco imposed a total lockdown and mandated a full four-month closure on most businesses deemed non essential.

    With the pandemic grinding to a halt both domestic and international travel, Morocco's economy took a hard hit.

    The impact of COVID19 on businesses and national economic indicators was not an isolated incident, as most businesses worldwide struggled to stay afloat.

    As soon as Morocco detected its first Covid19, the government announced a number of measures aimed at curbing the negative impact of the lockdown. Also contained in the government’s response was an ambitious social security project to alleviate the pandemic’s effects on Moroccan households.

    This “proactive” and solution-oriented approach garnered praise from many Moroccans, and the king's speech paid particular attention to the government’s efforts to come to terms with the COVID-19 crisis.

    'Thus, since the outbreak of the pandemic and in order to cushion the shock, we have taken the initiative to create a special fund that has won the spontaneous support of citizens,” he said.

    As part of the national COVID-19 response, the King instructed the government to set up the Special Fund, a MAD 14.82 billion (USD 15 Million)plan dedicated to the management of the socio-economic fallout of the pandemic.

    The fund is reserved for covering the expenses of projects aimed at upgrading the medical system, medical infrastructure, as well as the acquisition of additional medical means for the urgent treatment of COVID patients.

    'We have also created the Mohammed VI Fund for Investment, whose objective is to restart productive activities and to support and finance various investment projects.”

    The Mohammed VI Fund for Investment is playing a central role in Morocco’s economic recovery.

    Designated as a pivotal agent tool for the national economic relaunch amid the pandemic, the fund was given all the required legal and managerial structures to facilitate its implementation within Morocco's various sectors.

    In addition to the social component of the fund, the King noted, Morocco “initiated an ambitious economic recovery plan to support small and medium-sized enterprises affected by the crisis, to preserve jobs and to protect the purchasing power of households through the allocation of direct financial aid.”

    On January 29, 2020, Morocco announced the launch of a major plan to help the creation of small businesses by setting low-rate loans to encourage projects by young people, especially those rural areas with extremely limited access to loans and other resources.

    Supported by the government and national banks, the plan provided a ceiling of 1.75% on interest rate of loans for beneficiaries in rural areas and 2% in cities. It introduced 'the lowest rate ever applied in Morocco,' according to a joint statement from the Ministry of Economy and Bank Al-Maghrib, Morocco’s central bank.

    As an 'integrated program of support and financing for businesses,' the statement added, the plan is expected to create 27,000 jobs annually, mainly by supporting 13,500 new businesses each year.

    It relies on a special fund of MAD 8 billion (USD 903 Million) over three years, of which six billion are co-financed by the Moroccan government and the banking sector, while two billion came from the Hassan II Sovereign Fund.

    King Mohammed VI has called in recent years for a new development model for Morocco, stressing the need to limit the country’s deep social inequalities that have been amplified by the pandemic.

    While Morocco’s economy has been hit hard by the socio-economic repercussions of the COVID-19 crisis, the country’s response to the pandemic has been largely effective.

    The King highlighted Morocco’s relatively successful management of the pandemic. While there is still a long way to go, he argued, Moroccans can take pride in the fact that the country’s economy is on track to full recovery.

    “We have every right, today, to celebrate Morocco’s achievements in the ‘battle for vaccines’ - which is far from being an easy one - as well as the successful roll-out of the national vaccination campaign and the citizens’ massive engagement in it,” the King said.

    Morocco's quest to secure a sufficient number of COVID-19 vaccines amid a global scramble for vaccines caught the attention of many international observers.

    The country’s successful vaccination campaign helped in upgrading the country’s international standing among watchers of COVID trends.

    In addition, it played a central role in the government’s decision to open borders and allow tourism and other activities crucial for the national economic recovery.

    Despite this mostly uplifting COVID success story, the King stressed in his Throne Day Speech, Morocco’s Morocco’s fight against the pandemic is far from over. He cited the increasingly alarming new wave of infections in the past few days, urging citizens to play their part in the national COVID efforts by fully complying with competent authorities’ guidelines.

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