Morocco is overhauling its urban public transport to meet the demand of its growing urban population. To support this, the World Bank has announced a US$200 million program to improve urban mobility in Morocco, and in particular the quality and management of public transport. With 60% of 34 million Moroccans living in cities, public transport has a vital role to play. Local municipalities have struggled to provide good roads, and with the limited resources and capacity they have to manage public transport. This has affected its quality and reliability.
The transport program will focus on cities of over 100,000 inhabitants in nine regions, aiming to strengthen the capacity of local authorities to plan and monitor public transport, centrally and locally. A central goal is to improve the quality of urban transport services, with a large reduction in travel time. This program, a Program for Results (PforR), will disburse funds only when milestones agreed upon in advance are completed.
“An efficient urban transport system is essential for urban mobility, which will underpin the development of Moroccan cities”, said Marie Françoise Marie-Nelly, World Bank Maghreb Country Director. “Improved public transport systems will mean increased productivity and better access to economic opportunities and key services such as health and education, particularly for the most disadvantaged citizens.”
Morocco estimates the financing for its urban transport sector will reach US$3 billion over a decade. The goal of its national plan is two-fold: to improve the sector’s management and make it financially sustainable; and to build a web of urban transport corridors within larger cities. The Bank will support the government’s plan with expertise and global knowledge.
“This is a timely program to support the Moroccan government’s public transport agenda.Beyond strengthening institutions and decentralized management more broadly, the project will support the establishment of public transport corridors and improve the efficiency of traffic management with dedicated infrastructure,” says Vickram Cuttaree,Senior Infrastructure Economist and Task Team Leader.
The World Bank has stepped up its engagement in the urban transport sector in Morocco over the past few years. A US$136.7 million-Development Policy Loan (DPL) was launched in 2011 to improve the sector’s governance and increase urban transport and infrastructure. This was coupled with regular technical assistance for the Moroccan government’s transport strategy, along with research to deepen its knowledge of the sector.