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Morocco: World Bank-IMF Meetings to Proceed After Deadly Earthquake

Preparations for the 2023 annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) due in Morocco in October are advancing in high gear after the North African country faced a devastating earthquake on September 8. Although the 6.8 magnitude earthquake killed more than 2,900 people and left over 5,000 more injured, the Moroccan government and central bank say the host city of Marrakech is safe for the meetings being held in Africa for the first time in 50 years.

The country is building a 50-hectare venue for the meetings taking place from October 9-15. Speaking to African journalists visiting the country days after the earthquake, the Governor of Bank Al-Maghrib, Morocco’s central bank, Abdellatif Jouahri, said teams from the World Bank and the IMF had visited Marrakech to assess the earthquake’s impact on the preparations.

“You have followed the events that Marrakech has just experienced with the earthquake. Well, the representatives of the Fund were already there. They were able to realise that neither the infrastructure at the level of the meetings nor the hospitality infrastructure, that is to say particularly the hotels, were affected,” Jouahri said.

“There is a review which is being carried out by the representatives of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to report to the authorities of the two institutions that the processes are followed by the modifications with the events that Morocco and the Marrakech region are experiencing.”

The government says that hotels in Marrakech and the meetings’ venue, which is under construction, were not affected by the disaster, thanks to modern resilient structures. The Moroccan government also looks forward to the occasion to exhibit the country’s potential for foreign direct investment.

The country expects up to 14,000 delegates, among them hundreds of finance ministers, central bank governors, private sector executives, and academics. On the agenda are issues of global concern, including the world economic outlook, global financial stability, poverty eradication, inclusive economic growth and job creation, and climate change.

The delegates are expected to come up with resolutions on debt restructuring for African countries as well as other current global issues such as climate change, highly needed climate finance, and the emergence of a multipolar world. Morocco will become the second African country to host the World Bank and IMF annual meetings after Kenya in 1973. The central bank governor said this year’s meetings should be an opportunity for Africa to claim its rightful place in the global financial system.