The Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank conclude in Marrakech

Ajay Banga: "Morocco has done an excellent job, but it can do more by focusing on human capital"

REUTERS/SUSANA VERA - El presidente del Banco Mundial, Ajay Banga, en la Reunión anual del Fondo Monetario Internacional y el Banco Mundial en Marrakech
REUTERS/SUSANA VERA - World Bank President Ajay Banga at the Annual Meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Marrakesh

Redirecting inclusive and sustainable development, building resilience, accelerating the green transition and facilitating access to finance are key measures for the global economy in the face of estimated weak growth in the medium term, according to recommendations from the 2023 Annual Meetings of the World Bank (WB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Marrakech. 

At the global forum for the world's financial and banking elites, which was held for the first time in almost 50 years on the African continent, the various panellists placed particular emphasis on Morocco's efforts in the field of innovation and start-ups, as well as the challenges to be faced in order to maximise the country's innovative potential.

Mehdi Tazi, Vice-President of the Moroccan employers' association CGEM, and Ghita Mezzour, Minister of Digital Transition, revealed the positive signs that the digital and innovative sector has experienced since the pandemic, while warning of the human resources problems that further hinder the development of these sectors in Morocco. 

Ghita Mezzour stressed the dynamism of this industry, which is progressively developing thanks to Moroccan start-ups, creating 15,000 jobs in the last two years

AFP/FADEL SENNA - Ajay Banga, presidente del Grupo del Banco Mundial, Sergii Marchenko, presidente de las Reuniones Anuales 2023 y ministro de Finanzas de Ucrania, y Kristalina Georgieva, directora Gerente del Fondo Monetario Internacional, participan en la Reunión Anual del Fondo Monetario Internacional (FMI) y del Grupo del Banco Mundial (GBM), en Marrakech el 13 de octubre de 2023
AFP/FADEL SENNA - Ajay Banga, President of the World Bank Group, Sergii Marchenko, President of the 2023 Annual Meetings and Finance Minister of Ukraine, and Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, participate in the Annual Meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group (WBG) in Marrakech on October 13, 2023

The human element in Morocco is an asset because it has talented young people in mathematics and physics, but also a challenge because the brain drain phenomenon still persists in the Kingdom. In this context, Tazi revealed that "we are losing 20% of the 8,000 we train in computer science to Europe and Canada". In fact, the retention rate for companies employing technology specialists is set at 70%, losing the 30% who go abroad every year, which represents a real problem that needs to be solved in order to achieve a digital transition in the country.  

Nezha Hayat, president of the Moroccan Capital Market Authority (AMMC), has insisted on the importance of mobilising financial markets in favour of development and facilitating access to finance. "We are committed to ensuring the clarity of the regulatory framework, but also to having an evolving framework," concluded the AMMC chairman. 

Most of the participants stressed the need for investment stability in order to encourage an increase in private capital flows for projects in emerging countries.  

In the same vein, the President of the World Bank, Ajay Banga, explained the strategy of the WB, stressing the importance of creating employment opportunities for young people in the South by adopting a global approach; through the establishment of a quality education system, vocational training and the creation of a favourable environment for companies capable of attracting and employing talented young people

REUTERS/SUSANA VERA - La gente asiste a la reunión anual del Fondo Monetario Internacional y el Banco Mundial, tras el mortal terremoto del último mes, en Marrakech, Marruecos, el 13 de octubre de 2023
REUTERS/SUSANA VERA - People attend the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, following last month's deadly earthquake, in Marrakech, Morocco October 13, 2023

Banga mentioned the institution's role as a "knowledge bank" providing skills, policies and regulations to promote economic growth; highlighting the possibility of establishing partnerships with Morocco to implement such initiatives. 

The World Bank plans to increase its lending capacity to $150 billion over the next decade in order to reduce poverty and promote the inclusion of women and youth. Among the mechanisms through which it intends to achieve these goals are facilitating access to and securing finance and mitigating risks linked to climate change and digitalisation.

For her part, the head of the IMF, Kristalina Georgieva, revealed the fragile outlook for global growth and the IMF's policy priorities in the months and years ahead. She shed light, in this sense, on the imbalance between shock-resistant and fragile emerging countries, highlighting the need to implement effective policies to reduce these inequalities. 

The priorities, according to Georgieva, are to fight inflation to protect the most vulnerable and preserve financial stability, as well as to generate fiscal space so that countries can respond to future shocks with tighter and better targeted fiscal policy. "We forecast global growth of only 3% this year and 2.9% next year, as successive shocks since 2020 bring down global output by $3,600 billion this year, a loss that is unfairly spread," Georigieva said. The priority here is to strengthen the Fund financially in order to increase its capacity to contribute in case of additional shocks, and to adopt substantial policy reforms with a view to creating a financial space open to the green and digital economy.

REUTERS/SUSANA VERA - La presidenta del Banco Central Europeo, Christine Lagarde, habla durante un seminario bancario en la Reunión Anual del Fondo Monetario Internacional y el Banco Mundial, tras el mortal terremoto del mes pasado, en Marrakech, Marruecos, el 14 de octubre de 2023
REUTERS/SUSANA VERA - European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde speaks during a banking seminar at the Annual Meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, following last month's deadly earthquake, in Marrakech, Morocco, October 14, 2023

The IMF head emphasised further strengthening the voice and representation of sub-Saharan Africa, with a new seat on the IMF Executive Board that will be the third for the region. A move that will come into effect in a year's time; stressing the IMF's success in raising the necessary funds to support the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust Fund that allows it to continue to finance low-income countries through interest-free loans tailored to their needs.  

The Marrakech resolution for global cooperation, proclaimed by WB President Ajay Banga, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georigieva, Morocco's Minister of Economy and Finance Nadia Fettah, together with the Governor of the Central Bank of Morocco (BAM) Abdellatif Jouahri, is based on four basic principles: 

First, re-energising inclusive and sustainable growth by promoting structural reforms, strengthening governance, the rule of law, trade and the business environment, diversifying sources of financing and favouring foreign and private sector direct investment.  

Second, build resilience by improving global crisis preparedness. Also strengthen public debt management and workout frameworks by making external and domestic debt restructuring processes more efficient and expeditious. 

REUTERS/SUSANA VERA - El presidente del Banco Mundial, Ajay Banga, y la directora gerente del Fondo Monetario Internacional (FMI), Kristalina Georgieva, asisten a una ceremonia de firma con Tailandia como sede de las reuniones anuales del FMI y el Banco Mundial de 2026 el último día de la reunión, tras el mortal terremoto del mes pasado, en Marrakech, Marruecos, 15 de octubre de 2023
REUTERS/SUSANA VERA - World Bank President Ajay Banga and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva attend a signing ceremony with Thailand to host the 2026 IMF and World Bank annual meetings on the last day of the meeting, following last month's deadly earthquake, in Marrakech, Morocco, October 15, 2023

The third principle seeks to support transformational reforms to accelerate the green transition, the decarbonisation of the economy, technological transformations to avoid digital fragmentation and foster financial inclusion.  

The last principle calls for supporting and modernising global economic cooperation and development; strengthening the international monetary system and the multilateral trading system. 

In the context of the WB-IMF AA2023, the Minister of Economy and Finance, Nadia Fettah, held talks with the Qatari Minister of Finance, Ali Bin Ahmed al-Kuwari, on ways to strengthen economic and investment relations between the two countries. Fettah Allawi also sealed an agreement on 11.6 million euros to finance the reconstruction programme for the areas affected by the 8 September earthquake with the Vice-President of Spain and Minister of Economy and Digital Transformation, Nadia Calviño. It is an initiative by which the Spanish government expresses its solidarity with the population of the province of Al-Haouz. 

In the same line of solidarity, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) of the United Kingdom has announced an allocation of funds of 17.9 million dirhams to help Morocco recover from the recent earthquake in Marrakech. In this regard, the Governor of the Central Bank of Morocco, Abdellatif Jouahri, announced during the IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings that the solidarity fund has raised 12 billion dirhams so far.

In parallel with these meetings, the Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans Residing Abroad, Nasser Bourita, has received several officials, with a view to bilateral cooperation. Thus, dignitaries such as Amina Mohammed, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, Janet Yellen, US Secretary of the Treasury Svenja Schulze, German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Dan Jørgensen, Danish Minister for Cooperation, Development and Global Climate Policy, and Elisabeth Svantesson, Swedish Minister of Finance, reaffirmed their readiness to improve their countries' relations with Morocco; commending the multidimensional approach taken by the Moroccan authorities under the leadership of King Mohammed VI to overcome the effects of the recent earthquake. 

In addition to investment and financing in the service of development, innovation, boosting women's leadership, resilience, solidarity and carbon neutrality, experts and specialists highlighted the importance of continuing to invest in green hydrogen, given its positive environmental benefits. In collaboration with the World Bank, the King Abdullah Centre for Petroleum Studies and Research highlighted the need to strengthen private partnerships and consolidate collective action at local, regional and international levels to make the energy transition system a success and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.