Rabat, Sep 26 (IANS/MAP) The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is helping to further increase financing to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Morocco by providing 217 million dirhams (up to 20 million euros) in local currency loans.

The loan will be provided in two equal tranches to CaixaBank Branch in Morocco (CBM) for on-lending to SMEs, EBRD said in a statement on Tuesday.

Alain Pilloux, the EBRD Vice President for Banking, said: “We are pleased to partner with CaixaBank, to provide this much-needed funding in local currency. SMEs are the backbone of the Moroccan economy and supporting them will increase employment in the country and contribute to economic growth.”

“We are extremely glad to sign this loan agreement with the EBRD and we expect a long lasting cooperation between our institutions,” said Ignacio Pino, Country Manager of CBM in Morocco.

Morocco is a founding member of the EBRD and became a country of operations in 2012. To date, the bank has invested about 1.2 billion euros in 30 projects in the country.

CaixaBank Branch in Morocco (CBM) was established in July 2009. It is an international branch of CaixaBank SA (CBS), the third-largest lender in Spain.

This is published unedited from the IANS feed.