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Morocco gets first $2.5bn aid package

Gulf Arab states agree to distribute aid to Morocco and Jordan

Morocco will receive $2.5bn in aid from the Gulf Arab states.

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Morocco has received the first slice of a $2.5bn aid package promised by wealthy Gulf Arab states, a Moroccan official said on Friday and reported by Reuters. The money is part of pledge to cement ties between Arab monarchies in the wake of regional uprisings.

“The valves are opened and we hope they will continue to be so,” said the Moroccan official, who declined to be named and would not say how much money had been transferred.

Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE and Kuwait agreed in December 2011 to distribute $2.5bn to both Morocco and Jordan, the only two Arab states outside the Gulf with monarchies. The aid will be used to help fund Morocco’s infrastructure and development projects.

Sources said the North African country had finalised the agreement with the Gulf Arab countries in Riyadh last month, on the margins of the Arab Social and Economic Development Summit. Analysts say the move to forge closer links between regional monarchies is part of a concerted effort to contain the pro-democracy unrest that has ousted autocratic ruling elites in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and Libya.

Morocco relies on foreign aid, given its $90bn economy is heavily exposed to the debt-scarred euro zone through trade, tourism revenues and migrant remittances.

In August 2012, the International Monetary Fund approved a $6.2bn precautionary line of credit for the North African country, to be treated as “insurance” in case economic conditions deteriorated further.

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