AMF provided $211 to Morocco and $98 million loan to Tunisia amid COVID-19 pandemic

The headquarters of Arab Monetary Fund

The Arab Monetary Fund (AMF), a regional lender,has provided a loan of $211 million to Morocco to assist it in undertaking public finance reforms amid the COVID-19 pandemic.Morocco’s Minister of Finance, Economy, and Administration Reform, Mohammed Benchaaboun, signed the lend agreement with the General Manager and Chairman of the Board, Abdulrahman bin Abdullah Al-Hamidi. The AMF has also extended a $98 million loan to Tunisia to support reforms in its banking and financial sectors, UAE’s news agency reported on Friday.

The Arab Monetary Fund (AMF) is a regional Arab organization, a working sub-organization of the Arab League. It was founded 1976, and has been operational since 1977.The Arab Monetary Fund’s main objectives are to correct and balance the payment of its member states, remove payment restrictions between members, improve Arab monetary cooperation, encourage the development of Arab financial markets, paving the way for a unified Arab currency, and to facilitate and promote trade between member states.

The Abu Dhabi-based fund is also examining requests from other member countries and is expediting the processing of new loan requests. In early May, the AMF alreadyprovided a loan of $127 million to Morocco to support the country’s financial situation and meet emergency needs.The AMF assistance aims to support “the reform efforts of member countries and the measures they are taking to stimulate the economy and provide liquidity in order to contain the negative effects of the virus outbreak,” the organization said in a statement.

Both Morocco and Tunisia rely heavily on the hard-hit tourism sector as a source hard currency.The global outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has paralyzed the international economy, especially tourism-dependent economies. The COVID-19 crisis has led to an economic recession caused by the suspension of flights, closure of nonessential businesses, and movement restrictions.

The sector contributes approximately 11% to Morocco’s GDP and reviving it will require implementing an effective strategy to keep Morocco from losing up to $13.85 billion in revenue between 2020 and 2022, as estimated by the National Confederation of Tourism (CNT).The authority further estimated Morocco’s losses at MAD 33 billion ($3 billion) in April, predicting the lost of 500,00 jobs due to the pandemic, which threatens 8,500 companies with bankruptcy.

Morocco’s Minister of Tourism Nadia,FettahAlaoui,affirmed last week that 97% of hotels in Morocco shut down due to the crisis. As many other countries, with the pandemic crippling international tourism, Morocco and Tunisia plan on promoting domestic tourism to revive the hardest-hit sector of their economy.Officials and tourism professionals in Tunisia are planning to upgrade tourism services and lower prices in order to attract a maximum number of local tourists.

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