Established in 1971, The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, ADFD, is the national organisation responsible for assisting developing countries through administering loans and direct grant aids on behalf of the Abu Dhabi government. Since its inception, ADFD has overseen the provision of Dh64 billion towards financing 424 development projects in 71 countries around the world.
In a report issued this week, ADFD has highlighted the active role it has played in supporting sustainable development in the Kingdom of Morocco since 1974. Over the past 40 years, the fund has implemented several successful development projects in Morocco, accelerating economic development throughout the country.
Related to key economic sectors, the projects have helped Morocco achieve social and economic development in areas such as infrastructure, social services, healthcare, housing and education.
Additionally, the UAE in 2013 offered Morocco an Dh4.6 billion grant (US$1.25 billion) as part of the US$5 billion GCC grant programme to support the Moroccan economy. Articulating the UAE's ongoing commitment to promoting sustainable development in Morocco, the grant was allocated to fund vital projects that have the potential to raise the Kingdom's social and economic conditions.
The latest allocation takes the total value of loans and grants managed by ADFD in Morocco on behalf of the UAE government since 1974 to Dh7.3 billion, earmarked to finance 65 development projects.
Stressing the importance of cooperation between the UAE and the Kingdom of Morocco, Mohammed Bou Saeed, the Moroccan Minister of Economy and Finance, said, "The UAE is one of the major contributors to the economic development of Morocco and has initiated various development projects through the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development across the Kingdom. These projects have significant social and economic implications for the Moroccan economy especially in advancing the country's infrastructure, ports and railway stations, as well as in providing electricity, drinking water and housing services for thousands of our people." The Minister also commended ADFD's proactive and historic role in financing several major projects in Morocco such as the Tangier Port and the high-speed railway project.
Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General of ADFD, said, "The development assistance provided by the UAE to the Kingdom of Morocco through ADFD is a reflection of the close ties and long-standing cordial relations between the two countries. The diverse portfolio of projects undertaken by ADFD in Morocco articulates our pledge to support brotherly and friendly countries in successfully overcoming their most pressing economic and development challenges. As part of our ongoing commitment to promoting sustainable economic and social development in Morocco, we support key economic sectors that strengthen the Moroccan national economy and ease the economic burden of its people." Al Asri Saeed Al Dhaheri, the UAE Ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco, said, "Under the directives of the UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and with the active follow up by His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of ADFD, the fund plays an active role in supporting sustainable and inclusive development in the Kingdom of Morocco, reflecting the distinguished relations that bind the UAE and the Kingdom of Morocco." The contribution of ADFD to the long-term development of Morocco, coupled with the successful completion of the many projects funded by ADFD in the Kingdom, underline the importance of efforts being made by the fund on behalf of the UAE government. These projects are indicative of strong bilateral cooperation between both brotherly nations at various levels, contributing to robust economic development and creating thousands of new job opportunities in the Kingdom.
In line with its belief that a sound modern infrastructure is an important first step to building a strong and well-developed economy, ADFD has provided more than Dh2 billion in loans and grants to Morocco to fund a total of 11 projects in the transportation sector.
Notable among these is the Dh367.3 million loan offered to finance the construction of a competitive and safe high-speed rail network linking the cities of Tangier and Kenitra in Morocco to meet the anticipated growth in merchandise and passenger movement. The project will also cater for the needs of the upcoming Tangier Port, another important infrastructure undertaking funded by ADFD in Morocco. Expected to cut travel time between the two cities from five hours to around 2.5 hours, the high speed train will accelerate the pace of economic growth through doubling container traffic as well as increasing passenger movements from three million to 10 million per annum.
ADFD is also focused on developing Morocco's maritime infrastructure through improving the role of seaports in propelling economic growth and boosting investment. The fund in 2002 supported the Tangier Port development through offering an Dh734.6 million loan and managing an Dh367.3 million grant.
The project included the construction of a deep water port east of Tangier on the Mediterranean Sea as well as a special economic zone that helped create thousands of job opportunities for Moroccan youth and generate new revenue streams for the economy.
Housing is another important sector supported by ADFD in Morocco as part of its priority to achieve social stability and development in the country. The fund has leveraged the UAE's contribution within the GCC's development grant programme for Morocco in 2013, supporting the housing sector through the allocation of Dh830 million. The grant has been used to build housing units in major cities of Morocco, offering a strong boost to the Moroccan government's efforts to raise the standard of living in the country. This project has provided housing assistance for hundreds of thousands of families from the low-income category in Moroccan cities, including 108,000 housing units in Marrakech, 42,800 units in Casablanca, 91,000 housing units in Pullman in Fez, 41,800 housing units in the east, 58,800 units in Tangier and Tetouan and 56,300 housing units in Meknes.
The total value of loans and grants offered by ADFD to the Moroccan housing sector since the fund began its involvement in Morocco amounts to Dh1 billion allocated for 13 projects.
In line with its commitment to support social and economic development in Morocco, ADFD manages seven projects aimed at developing water resources in the country, supporting the Moroccan government's priority to enhance the standard of living across the country through offering adequate access to water for the country's growing population. The total value of grants and loans offered by ADFD to this vital sector stands at over Dh738 million.
As part of the UAE's contribution to the GCC programme to support Morocco, the fund manages several government grants, including ADFD's contribution to the construction of Al Kharoub Dam, which aims to provide clean water to the people of Asseelah and Tangier areas. The project involves the construction of a dam for drinking water near the city of Tangier for storing rainwater as well as the water flowing from the nearby valleys. This project includes the establishment of a 60-meter high dam with the capacity to store up to 200 million cubic meters of water. The UAE's contribution to this project is Dh501 million. ADFD also manages a water treatment plant project aimed at providing the city of Khouribga and neighbouring areas with drinking water. The project additionally involves the setting up of a pumping station and six kilometre-long canal (1.8m width). The UAE's contribution to this project is estimated at Dh88.9 million.
In its efforts to advance the healthcare sector in the Kingdom of Morocco, ADFD has been funding and managing five healthcare projects across the country at a total value of Dh423 million. The Sheikh Zayed Hospital in Rabat, funded by a government grant in 1989, is a testament to the huge support provided by the UAE to the people of Morocco in the vital healthcare sector. The fund also manages a grant offered by the UAE government to finance the 8.8 hectare, 916-bed Mohammed VI University Hospital, an important healthcare facility in Morocco. The University Hospital also boasts a 247-bed mother and child hospital spread across an area of 20,260 square meters. The project comprises a 54,500 square meter specialty hospital with the capacity to accommodate 585 beds, an 84-bed cancer hospital and several in-patient clinics. The UAE's contribution to this project is Dh238.7 million.
Given the important role of education in the development and prosperity of nations, ADFD has prioritised the funding of several educational projects in Morocco through the UAE's allocation within the GCC development grant. This includes 12 projects worth Dh355 million aimed at improving the higher education landscape in the country. The grant was earmarked to establish several vocational training institutes, build and expand university campuses, and set up and equip a college of medicine and pharmacy in Morocco.
Agriculture is an important contributor to the Moroccan economy and ADFD has supported this sector through the allocation of Dh200 million for three vital projects. Of these projects, Western Plain Agricultural project was funded in 1979 with a loan from ADFD. The project aims to improve the living standards of people in the Western region of Morocco by creating new job opportunities as well as expanding agricultural land through bringing about fundamental changes to the irrigation system. The project covers an area of 45,500 hectares north of the city of Rabat. ADFD has also supported other agricultural projects in Morocco including Central Al Haouz that was supported in 1982 with the objective of raising the standard of living of people through accelerating agricultural production. The project also helped increase power generation from hydroelectric resources and facilitated the supply of drinking water to the city of Marrakech.
In the electricity sector, ADFD has managed three major projects that aim to supply adequate electricity for several Moroccan cities. Additionally, the fund has supported Moroccan electricity sector through its contribution to the GCC grant programme for Morocco. These projects involve renovation of a number of power stations as well as increasing the capacity of power transmission networks across large Moroccan cities. ADFD's contribution to the Moroccan electricity sector is estimated at Dh122 million.
All of the above development projects are in line with ADFD's commitment to improving the standard of living in Morocco and advancing sustainable development through financing infrastructure projects. The projects also aim to stimulate economic and social growth, create new employment and investment opportunities and achieve greater social stability.
ADFD has also been working with other developing countries to help them overcome economic hurdles and achieve sustainable economic growth. The fund has extended financial support and made massive investments in economically viable projects to help countries confront various economic challenges. ADFD also contributes to poverty eradication and achieving sustainable development across the world, especially in countries that suffer low development rates.