EBRD extends Women in Business program in Morocco

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The EBRD is extending the reach of its Women in Business program in Morocco by expanding the Tangier, Tetouan-Al Hoceima and Oriental region of the country.

The region has a high concentration of women in the medical, retail and service sectors. The expansion of the EBRD, which was launched last year, will provide female entrepreneurs with access to finance, advisory services and trainings.

The EBRD's Women in Business program receives significant support from the European Union under the EU Initiative for Financial Inclusion * which is delivering crucial funding for guarantees to EBRD partners banks and advisory services for banks and women entrepreneurs.

Marking the beginning of the implementation phase of the program in Tangier, the EBRD Director for Morocco, Marie-Alexandra Veilleux-Laborie, said: "This program has the potential to make a major impact in Morocco. Currently, only 50 per cent of women-led firms report to the bank account and even those who are often unable to provide services. This program will empower women entrepreneurs with access to finance and know-how. "

In an introductory phase in Morocco, the EBRD is providing the equivalent of a total of € 35 million in local currency to BMCE Bank of Africa and BMCI (Moroccan Bank for Trade and Industry) to support women-led small and medium- sized enterprises (SMEs) from across the country. The EBRD has signed a € 20 million loan with BMCE and a € 15 million loan with BMCI.

Other banks are expected to join the nationwide initiative. The program aims to reach at least 200 women entrepreneurs in Morocco in its initial phase through financing and advisory services. A focus will be supporting entrepreneurs outside of Morocco's main commercial centers.

In addition to financing, women entrepreneurs receive more business, mentoring and network-building services, and also access EBRD's online self-diagnosis, Business Lens . The training and mentoring allow women entrepreneurs to share and learn from each other.

The EBRD Women in Business program supports women entrepreneurs across the Bank's regions. Since it launches in 2014, the initiative has reached 55,000 women, providing financing of over € 485 million in more than 30 countries.

The EBRD started investing in Morocco in 2012. To date, the Bank has financed 50 projects worth € 1.7 billion in the country and provided over 550 Moroccan SMEs with business advice.

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