AfDB pledges $498 mln to Moroccan renewables plan


The African Development Bank (AfDB) said it was close to approving 373 million euros (US$498 million) in financing for renewable energy in Morocco, which has embarked on one of the world’s most ambitious solar energy developments.

The financing is in the course of being finalised, AfDB said in a statement, noting that it expects its board to vet it before the end of 2011.

AfDB did not explicitly refer in its statement to Morocco’s $9 billion solar power programme, which is vital for a country that has no oil or gas but has an abundance of sun. Morocco is also developing wind farms as part of its plan to reduce reliance on hydrocarbon imports, Reuters reports.

Last week, the World Bank approved loans to Morocco totaling $297 million to help finance the first phase of a 500 megawatt solar power plant, one of the largest in the world.

The Ouarzazate concentrated solar power plant is the first in Morocco’s solar power programme.

Separately, AfDB said it approved on Wednesday a 224 million euros loan for the Moroccan government to help it improve access for its population and small and medium enterprises to financial services.