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IMF lends Morocco $1.3bn to fight climate change

“Climate change is already dramatically affecting us,” says IMF head Kristalina Georgieva Reuters/Ahmed Yosri
“Climate change is already dramatically affecting us,” says IMF head Kristalina Georgieva
  • Funds will be used to build resilience
  • IMF, World Bank meetings in Marrakech to go ahead

The International Monetary Fund is to lend Morocco $1.3 billion to help the country guard against climate-related risks.

The staff-level agreement was confirmed by Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the IMF, who said the funding would be used to build resilience against future climate disasters.

“Climate change is already dramatically affecting us,” Georgieva said in an interview with the Moroccan news agency MAP.

She stressed that climate change was one of three areas of focus for the IMF at the UN Sustainable Development Goals Summit, now underway in New York on the sidelines of the General Assembly.

The other key areas are debt and digitalisation.

Moroccan cities, which contribute more than 75 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, are becoming increasingly vulnerable to natural and climate hazards, which cost the country an estimated $575 million each year, according to a World Bank report.

“These include extreme weather events, such as floods, heatwaves and droughts, and slow-onset events, such as sea level rise, all of which are expected to worsen in the next decades due to the impacts of climate change,” the report said.

The natural hazards also include earthquakes, such as the 6.8-magnitude shock that devastated Al Haouz province on September 8.

More than 3,000 people were killed in the quake and many more remain missing. The disaster has prompted analysts at BMI, formerly Fitch Solutions, to cut GDP growth expectations for this year from 2.4 percent to 1.8 percent.

The IMF, World Bank and Morocco confirmed on Monday that the annual meetings of the two organisations would go ahead in Marrakech next month.

The meetings, which are expected to attract between 10,000 and 15,000 people to the historic city, will be held from October 9 to 15, just 45 miles from the epicentre of the earthquake.