New EBRD programme supports youth entrepreneurship in Morocco

Loan of €20 million to Credit Immobilier et Hotelier

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is driving financial inclusion for young entrepreneurs in Morocco through the local launch of its Youth in Business programme. 

As part of the programme, the EBRD will channel €100 million in credit lines to six eligible partner financial institutions (PFIs) for on-lending to youth-led micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) over a five-year period. The PFIs will also benefit from results-based compensation of up to 2 per cent.

Supporting youth-led MSMEs in Morocco is essential for the country’s economic growth, as access to finance remains scarce and there are large gaps in financial inclusion among young business owners and managers. According to the market assessment conducted by the EBRD for the program, there is a strong untapped market potential: while 79 percent of young entrepreneurs mention financing as the key obstacle to growing their business, only 22 percent have used a loan and 52 percent plan to use a loan in the future

The new initiative underscores the importance of supporting young entrepreneurs who are bringing new ideas to market and reimagining traditional industries with innovative business models. The Youth in Business programme will strengthen their access to skills development and financing opportunities, unlocking their full potential as drivers of inclusive market economies.

MSMEs that are privately owned or managed by entrepreneurs under the age of 35 will be eligible to receive tailored capacity-building and business consulting services, including one-to-one advisory projects, training in entrepreneurship, e-learning, and network-building activities.

During the launch event, the EBRD signed €20 million loan to Credit Immobilier et Hotelier (CIH Bank). This was the first EBRD loan under the Youth in Business programme in Morocco, for on-lending to MSMEs owned or managed by young entrepreneurs.

In addition, CIH Bank will benefit from a technical assistance package and incentives to develop a strategy dedicated to better serving youth-led firms. The package will also include a capacity-building component for youth-led MSMEs that will enable the delivery of one-to-one advisory projects, training in entrepreneurship, and digital mentoring.

The launch event was attended by Abderrahim Bouazza, Director General of Bank Al-Maghrib, Antoine Sallé de Chou, EBRD Head of Morroco office, Barbara Rambousek, Director, EBRD Gender and Economic Inclusion and Richard Jones, Director, EBRD SME Finance and Development for the southern and eastern Mediterranean region.

A panel session, featuring local Moroccan banks and other financial institutions, discussed the challenges of starting and growing young businesses. It also looked at efforts to support the local entrepreneurial sector and how the launch of the Youth in Business programme in Morocco is a strategic initiative that responds to the unique needs of this business cohort.

Morocco is a founding member of the EBRD and?the Bank began operating there in 2012. To date, the EBRD has invested €4.3 billion in the country through 96 projects.

* The EBRD’s Youth in Business programme is currently active in Egypt, Morocco and the Western Balkans. The programme is supported by the European UnionLuxembourgSweden and Italy through the Central European Initiative. 

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