IMF and World Bank to go ahead with Morocco annual meetings despite earthquake

Global institutions say they will adapt the content to the circumstances after tremor that killed 3,000 people

Children attend classes in a tent school prepared by the Moroccan army for pupils affected by the earthquake, in the village of Asni, south of Marrakesh. EPA
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The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have said that their annual meetings will go ahead in Marrakesh in October, despite a recent earthquake that killed about 3,000 people in Morocco.

Marrakesh, a major tourist centre located 72km from the quake's epicentre, suffered damage in its ancient Madinah quarter. Moroccan officials pressed the global institutions to proceed with the meetings, expected to bring up to 15,000 people to the city from October 9 to 15.

“Since the devastating earthquake in Morocco, the World Bank and the IMF staff have worked in close co-ordination with the Moroccan authorities and a team of experts to thoroughly assess Marrakesh’s capacity to host the 2023 annual meetings,” the IMF and the World Bank said on Monday.

“In undertaking this assessment, key considerations were that the meetings would not disrupt vital relief and reconstruction efforts, and that the safety of the participants can be assured.

“Based on a careful review of the findings, the managements of the World Bank and IMF, together with the Moroccan authorities, have agreed to proceed with holding the 2023 annual meetings in Marrakesh … adapting the content to the circumstances.”

A magnitude 6.8 earthquake, Morocco's strongest on record, killed about 3,000 people and injured more than 5,600 when it hit on September 8 in Al Haouz province, south of Marrakesh.

The IMF and the World Bank said the meetings need to be conducted in a way that does not hamper relief efforts and is “respectful” to the victims and the Moroccan people.

“At this very difficult time, we believe that the annual meetings also provide an opportunity for the international community to stand by Morocco and its people, who have once again shown resilience in the face of tragedy,” they said.

The IMF has reached a staff-level agreement with Morocco on a $1.3 billion loan to bolster the country against climate-related disasters from the fund's new Resilience and Sustainability Trust, managing director Kristalina Georgieva told Reuters this week.

Updated: September 19, 2023, 4:57 AM