Two financing agreements for the rural schooling program were signed, Tuesday in Rabat, between Morocco, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Union (EU), concerning the construction of 150 community schools and their ancillary infrastructure, within several Regional Academies of Education and Training (AREF), located mainly in rural areas of the Kingdom.

The financing is in the form of an EIB loan of €102.5 million (over 1 billion dirhams) which is matched by a €23.3 million (245 million dirhams) grant from the EU under the Neighborhood Investment Platform, consisting of an investment grant of €14 million and technical assistance of €9.3 million to support the implementation of the project.

In addition to this sum, the State’s general budget will contribute approximately €100 million to complete the program’s financing plan.

The two agreements were signed by Minister of Economy and Finance, Nadia Fettah, director of lending operations in the EU’s neighboring countries at the EIB, Flavia Palanza, Minister of National Education, Preschool Learning and Sports, Chakib Benmoussa and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the EU in Morocco, Patricia Pilar Llombart Cussac.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Fettah recalled the close cooperation between the Kingdom of Morocco, the EIB and the EU, as well as the importance of the EIB’s support for our country’s efforts in the education sector.

She indicated that the signing of this financing contract comes in the global context marked by the launch of a new development model (NMD) that gives a central place to education and human capital.

This funding is in addition to a contribution from the General State Budget of approximately €100 million. This program is perfectly in line with the Moroccan government’s strategic vision for the education sector, which aims to improve the sector’s overall performance until 2030, said Fettah.

For her part, Llombart Cussac recalled the joint press conference held last week in Morocco, by President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen and Head of Government, Aziz Akhannouch, in which the two officials expressed their mutual willingness to strengthen the close, privileged and long-standing ties between the EU and Morocco, with special attention to youth and education.

Palanza noted that “this ambitious program dedicated to rural schooling in Morocco, is perfectly in line with Morocco’s strategy to promote educational inclusion of young Moroccans in rural areas, especially girls, and it will allow the younger generations to better integrate into society”.

For his part, Benmoussa stressed that this program makes a major contribution to the efforts of the Kingdom for equity of access to education in rural areas and the improvement of school conditions for a quality school for all.

These financial contributions from the EIB and the EU are in line with the 2015-2030 education sector reform in Morocco. The objectives of this reform are to strengthen equity in access to education throughout the country, with an emphasis on the inclusion of girls and equal opportunities to achieve a genuine educational renaissance.