Morocco: EBRD Launches its 'Youth in Business' Program in Casablanca

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) launched, on Monday in Casablanca, the "Youth in Business" program to promote youth entrepreneurship in Morocco.

The program will strengthen young people's access to skills development and financing opportunities to unlock their full potential as drivers of inclusive economies.

This new initiative underlines the importance of supporting young entrepreneurs who bring new ideas to market and reinvent traditional sectors with innovative business models.

According to the market survey carried out by the EBRD for the program, there is a great deal of untapped market potential, with 79% of young entrepreneurs citing financing as the main obstacle to growing their business, only 22% having used a loan and 52% planning to do so in the future.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, managing director of Bank Al Maghrib (BAM), Abderrahim Bouazza, said that the development of entrepreneurship is at the heart of today's economic challenges, recalling that the number of unemployed young graduates is five times higher than that of young people without diplomas, according to statistics from the High Commission for Planning (HCP).

Referring to the "Youth in Business" program, Bouazza pointed out that it represents a new step in the process of building the ecosystem of youth entrepreneurship and small businesses, which has been steadily developing under the impetus of the government and BAM, with the contribution of players in the financing and support ecosystem.

"This program adopts an integrated approach insofar as it covers the financial and non-financial services dimension aimed at developing the capacities of project promoters", he pointed out, emphasizing that this demonstrates the suitability of Morocco's institutional environment for the implementation of important socio-economic programs, particularly those initiated by EBRD.

For his part, EBRD director for Morocco, Antoine Sallé de Chou, said that this program is the first of its kind in Morocco and one of the most important that the EBRD has been able to carry out in relation to this issue.

"It is the perfect illustration of our interest in the key theme of economic inclusion for young people, which, along with digital technology, is one of the EBRD's strategic priorities", he stressed, noting that through this program, the EBRD supports the economic participation of young people by financing businesses run or owned by entrepreneurs under the age of 35.

According to Sallé de Chou, the EBRD will provide 100 million euros in credit lines for on-lending to young small and medium-sized enterprises over a five-year period, as well as capacity building for partner financial institutions.

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