IMF and World Bank to Decide on Annual Meetings in Earthquake-Hit Morocco
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank are set to make a decision on whether to proceed with their annual meetings in earthquake-hit Morocco. The meetings, scheduled for October 9-15, are currently under review as the organizations assess the country’s ability to host the event. IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva revealed in an exclusive interview with Reuters that a thorough review is being conducted before a final decision is made.
In addition to discussing the annual meetings, Georgieva also announced that the IMF has reached a staff-level agreement with Morocco to provide a $1.3 billion loan. The loan aims to enhance the country’s resilience to climate-related disasters through the Fund’s new Resilience and Sustainability Trust. This agreement comes at a crucial time as Morocco continues to recover from a devastating 6.8-magnitude earthquake that claimed the lives of over 2,900 people.
Despite the earthquake’s impact on the country, Moroccan officials have urged the IMF and World Bank to proceed with the annual meetings, which are expected to bring in around 10,000-15,000 participants to Marrakech. The city, located 45 miles from the quake’s epicenter, did experience some damage in its ancient Medina quarter. However, the Moroccan authorities remain committed to hosting the event.
Georgieva expressed her concerns about potentially burdening Morocco with the meetings during its recovery efforts. However, she revealed that Moroccan Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch emphasized the importance of holding the event in Marrakech for the hospitality sector. To address these concerns, Georgieva suggested simplifying the meetings if they proceed in Marrakech. This could involve reducing their length and scaling back attendance.
A decision on whether to proceed with the annual meetings is expected by Monday. Georgieva assured that all factors, including physical capacity and logistics, would be taken into account. She also stated that participant security is not a major concern.
Regarding the $1.3 billion loan for Morocco, it still requires approval from the IMF’s Executive Board. However, Georgieva anticipates that the board will consider the loan in about two weeks, prior to the start of the annual meetings. Although the loan is not directly related to the earthquake disaster, it aims to strengthen the country’s financial capacity and build resilience to climate shocks, such as drought.
It is worth noting that Morocco already has access to a $5 billion flexible credit line from the IMF, approved in April. This credit line is designed to enhance the country’s crisis prevention capabilities.
In conclusion, the IMF and World Bank are carefully evaluating whether to proceed with their annual meetings in earthquake-hit Morocco. The decision, expected by Monday, will take into account various factors, including the country’s ability to host the event and ongoing recovery efforts. Additionally, a $1.3 billion loan agreement between the IMF and Morocco aims to bolster the country’s resilience to climate-related disasters. Despite the challenges posed by the earthquake, Moroccan officials remain committed to hosting the annual meetings in Marrakech.