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MED TEST II reveals the hidden potential for resource efficiency in Morocco’s industry

The EU funded SwitchMed - MED TEST II project, has since 2015 demonstrated the business case of how to produce with less resources at a lower cost in 20 Moroccan industries. On the 10th of May, results from these demonstrations were presented, revealing remarkable results both for the business and for the environment.
Published on May 22, 2018

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In 2016, Morocco was hit by a severe drought, causing a loss in production with a slowdown in the national GDP growth as a result.  In a country that borders with the great Sahara desert, water is obviously a scarce resource and indicators are clearly showing that Morocco’s water resources are overexploited. However, water is not the only resource that put Moroccan industries under tighter cost pressure. The cut of government fuel subsidies has caused rising energy costs, something that also threatens the competitiveness of businesses and their ability to contribute to a continued growth and the much needed job creation.

Located strategically between Europe and the African continent, Morocco has always had an important role as a partner for trade and regional cooperation for the European Union. In this regard, the European Union supports to drive the country towards a more sustainable handling with its natural resources that can at the same time also stimulate the economy and create jobs. The industrial sector plays an important role in this process and giving the businesses the right toolkit to identify resource and manage resource losses, is elementary for the businesses.

Since 2015, the EU funded SwitchMed MED TEST II project have engaged 20 industries from the chemical, food, mechanical and textile industry to demonstrate how the UNIDO TEST approach could help the business towards a Resource Efficient end Cleaner Production (RECP). The application of the Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technologies (TEST)  addresses rising energy and raw material costs by demonstrating how best RECP practices, with an attractive return on investment, can be integrated into the current operations of the businesses. In Morocco, the 20 businesses identified 475 measures that will annual save in 98.8 GWh in energy, 489,435 m3 of water, and 5,153 t of raw materials – saving the industries 10.5 million euros in annual expenditures. “The project has clearly demonstrated that resource efficiency and environmental protection can go hand in hand with economic development”, said UNIDO Resident Representative Ms. Hanan Hanzaz.

But, helping Morocco and the private sector to build a competitive, resource efficient and market-oriented industry, investments and access to finance are crucial. The EU has invested nearly 200 million euros in Morocco to support reforms for modernization, but also to facilitate the investment managed by European financial institutions such as the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), or other partners. Thanks to the MED TEST II project, private sector investments in resource efficient technologies worth 21,5 million euros could be identified, and currently, 9 companies in Morocco have thanks to the project become eligible to apply on the Green Finance credit lines from the Morocco—Sustainable Energy Financing Facility (MorSEFF).

“We are particularly pleased with the result because some of the companies that participated, and benefited from MED TEST II, also managed to gain access to additional funding”, said Ms. Claudia Wiedey, Ambassador and Head of the Delegation of the EU in Morocco.

Morocco’s strategy and ambition to develop a low carbon economy that will help protect the natural resources of the country necessitate the involvement of the industry. Accordingly, a widespread adoption of resource efficient production solutions could have a wide-reaching impact, not only for the environment but also for the economy. UNIDO, together with the Moroccan Government, and stakeholders from the industry, have made use of the learnings and results from the project MED TEST II project in Morocco, to progress the RECP approach to other industries and sectors in Morocco. The subsequent findings from these consultations will be published in a roadmap for RECP in Morocco.