The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) executive board on Thursday approved a $1.32 billion, 18-month loan from its new Resilience and Sustainability Facility to help Morocco bolster its resilience to climate-related disasters, the fund said in a statement.
The North African country had requested funds from the IMF’s new trust well before the devastating earthquake that struck in Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains on Sept. 8, killing more than 2,900 people.
The approval, first reported by Reuters, comes weeks before Morocco hosts the annual IMF and World Bank meetings, in Marrakech from Oct. 9-15.
IMF Director Kristalina Georgieva first disclosed the loan in an exclusive interview with Reuters earlier this month, noting that the board would review a staff-level agreement with Morocco later in the month.
The IMF said the arrangement “will help Morocco address climate vulnerabilities, bolster its resilience against climate change, and seize the opportunities from decarbonization.”
It said the funds would also help the Moroccan authorities strengthen preparedness for natural catastrophes and stimulate financing for sustainable development.
The arrangement will coincide with the 18 months remaining on a two-year Flexible Credit Line approved for the country in April 2023.
IMF spokesperson Julie Kozack told reporters earlier on Thursday the IMF and World Bank decided to proceed with their joint annual meetings in Marrakech after being assured that the events would not disrupt relief and reconstruction efforts.
Kozack said the meetings would be adapted to the circumstances but gave no details, saying the schedule was still being finalized.
Kozack said the meetings in Marrakech had been in preparation for five years, having been postponed twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and came at a consequential time for the global economy and IMF members.
“I’m confident that these meetings will showcase the strength of Morocco, the Moroccan people and the Moroccan authorities,” she said. “This is the first time in 50 years that the annual meeting will be held on the African continent.”