The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Moroccan banking group BMCI are partnering to support women-led micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Morocco, and offer extended support to earthquake-hit regions.
In a statement on Wednesday, EBRD announced that it is extending a senior unsecured loan of up to MAD 220 million (€20 million) – a type of loan that is provided without requiring collateral.
BMCI received the loan under the EBRD’s Women in Business program to support women entrepreneurs and MSMEs.
The program’s investment will include a focus on digitalization, as well as extended support for women-led MSMEs located in the regions affected by the September 2023 earthquake.
In addition to direct funding, the program will include a technical cooperation package funded by the EU, which will aim to improve capacity-building and advisory services to women-led MSMEs to boost their know-how and entrepreneurial skills.
The statement adds that an additional EU-funded grant will be provided to sub-borrowers – other entities that would borrow from BMCI to lend to women-led businesses – as an incentive to invest.
The investment would mark the fifth partnership between EBRD and BMCI, and it will “help BMCI improve its current business model, accelerate its digital transformation and enhance practices to better engage with women-led MSMEs and meet their financial needs,” EBRD maintains in a statement.
The EBRD equally announced a plan to contribute to the relief effort for the Al Haouz earthquake. The Bank’s Shareholder Special Fund will reimburse the initial damage to women-led MSMEs in the affected regions sustained due to the earthquake.
The measure is one of the first the development bank is planning as part of its initial response package of up to €250 million for 2023 to 2025, announced last month, to rebuild Morocco’s economy in the earthquake-hit regions.
The plan will allow the bank to “provide a quick response to the aftermath of the earthquake while remaining fully in line with its main objective to promote women’s entrepreneurship in Morocco, as women are among the populations most affected by the event,” the statement adds.