Government Response to COVID-19: Kingdom of Morocco and Republic of Senegal
On May 29, 2020, Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) hosted a high-level discussion and fireside chat featuring H.E. Amadou Hott, Minister of Economy, Planning and Cooperation, Republic of Senegal and H.E. Mohcine Jazouli, Minister Delegate to the Minister of Foreign Affairs on their government responses to COVID-19. Jeffrey Krilla, Vice President for Global Public Policy and Government Affairs, Kosmos Energy moderated the event.
Minister Hott began his remarks by highlighting Senegal’s sustained economic growth over that past five years and their ability to evade an economic recession by taking early measures. In terms of managing the impact of the pandemic, Minister Hott noted the launch of their new social resilience program that will inject 7% of GDP into the economy in the form of food, paid water and electric expenses, and diaspora support. For the private sector, the Senegalese government has provided tax debt relief, concessional lines of credits with low-interest rates, and $500 million of government funds to support impacted companies. The Senegalese government also created a $1.6 billion fund, with $40 million contributed by their private sector to support fiscal and social COVID-19 recovery measures. Looking forward, Minister Hott expects a government investment of an estimated $1 billion in the country’s healthcare systems
Minister Hott further highlighted the importance of international cooperation, listing organizations including the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, African Development Bank, USAID, in helping with technical and financing support.
In turning the discussion over to Morocco, Minister Jazouli briefly reported the country’s flattening curve of coronavirus cases. Moroccan efforts to mitigate the impact of the pandemic include a $3.5 billion fund and an Economic Monitoring Committee both created by His Majesty as economic support measures for businesses and citizens. In terms of private-sector impact, he outlined that over 60% of Moroccan companies have suspended business activities due to the pandemic with tourism, export manufacturing, and services being some of the hardest-hit sectors. He assured that the government and the private sector are collaborating on producing materials and equipment to help manage COVID-19.
The Kingdom of Morocco has also been working with international partners including The Republic of Senegal on the possibility of launching a pan-African initiative to build the operational framework needed for African countries to fight COVID-19. Minister Jazouli further emphasized the importance of regional integration and developing new value chains and underscored that by investing in Morocco, the U.S. private sector will gain beneficial access to regional markets.
In closing out the discussion, both Minister Hott and Minister Jazouli, mentioned energy projects in their countries, with LNG currently being processed in Senegal and the initiation of a $20 billion pipeline project in Morocco. Minister Hott also noted Senegal’s $350 million concessional loan facility for their agro-processing sector and Minister Jazouli acknowledged their Green Morocco Plan that cushioned Morocco’s agriculture sector from COVID-19 impacts.
Florie Liser, CEO and President of CCA closing remarks reiterated CCA’s belief and support of Africa’s ingenuity, resilience, and ability to return to pre-COVID economic growth.