Italy has extended Morocco a 30 billion-lira loan to finance development and back programs helpful to small and medium-sized enterprises. (US$1=ITL2,200)
Assistant manager of the Italian financial institution Mediocredito Centrale and Morocco's ambassador to Rome, Aziz Mekouar, signed the accord last week.
The amount will finance the purchase of Italian-made goods and services.
The loan at preferential terms will be paid back over 30 years with a 12-year grace period.
The loan will help create some 500 new jobs mainly in the sectors of agri-business, textile, building, car manufacturing and electronics.
To ease Moroccan operators' access to loans, the two partners decided to set up a technical assistance unit, supervised by the UN industrial development organization (UNIDO), that will help local enterprises present their projects, promote these projects in Italy and ease contacts between Italian and Moroccan operators.
The unit will also seek new financing means. Available figures for the period running from January to November 1999 show that Italian exports to Morocco were worth ITL1.03 trillion while imports from the kingdom stood at ITL656 billion.
Italy is Morocco's 5th or 6th trade partner (according to years), behind France, Spain, the United States, and alternately Germany and Great Britain, holding between 5 and 7 percent of the Moroccan market.
Only 70 small and medium sized Italian enterprises are operating in Morocco, against 800 French and 500 Spanish firms. – (Albawaba-MEBG)
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )