France issues tender for Moroccan debt swapping
France will launch a tender today, September 25, to swap FF63 million of Moroccan debt in private investments, it was officially announced.
A statement from the French economy, finance and industry ministry says this is the first cession operation in the FF700 million debt-swapping agreement signed last March 21 between Morocco and France.
The French ministry invites interested banks to make their bids to buy Moroccan debts after obtaining the green light of Moroccan authorities.
More had reached swapping agreements with France and Spain, one the North African nation's major creditors.
Morocco's foreign debt was brought down from $23 billion in 1998 to $19 billion this year. The debt swapping agreements with Spain sought to use the money Morocco owes to Spain into investment projects in the Moroccan northern regions, notoriously known for growing cannabis, used to make drugs that mainly go to Europe.
Morocco argues that the Europeans have to contribute to the development of these areas and to inject money to substitute the cannabis culture with other economic activities.
The Moroccan authorities set up an agency to manage economic development projects in the area. The six million people that live in these mainly mountainous regions face high employment. Drug trafficking and smuggling people into Europe are their main activities.
The authorities also tightened control around Morocco's northern coasts to prevent the trade in drugs and people. Scores of people are arrested almost on a daily basis, while trying to ferry illegal immigrants or banned substances to Europe. – (Albawaba-MEBG)
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)