The Moroccan Hassan II Development Fund has earmarked $1.2 billion to develop industrial zones and build low-cost housing for the poor. The housing project, which costs $227 million, will receive $110 million of the budget allotted by the fund, said Moroccan Housing Minister Mohamed Yazghi. The Hassan II Development Fund was set up by King Mohammed VI shortly after he came to power in July 1999. The Fund seeks to back projects for economic and social development in Morocco. The budget was earmarked under a convention concluded between the fund and Housing Department.
Morocco faces an acute housing crisis. An average apartment can cost up to $ 25,000 , a price unaffordable for most Moroccans, some 13 percent of whom live under the poverty line of $1 a day.
The housing minister said the government is trying to address the crisis, with 8,440 lodgings built under the new project.
Heavy migration from rural areas to cities has resulted in the construction of unhealthy housing and shanty towns, which form poverty belts around the country's major cities, as in Casablanca and Rabat.
The minister said more than half the new lodgings will be used to resettle shantytown dwellers. Part of the fund's financing targets the promotion of the industrial and productive networks in several Moroccan cities.
The move is also meant to prepare these areas in central and northern Morocco for investment projects, the government said. – (Albawaba-MEBG)
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