Arab fund lends Morocco $237 mln dollars for infrastructure projects

RABAT, June 19 (Reuters) - Morocco signed on Wednesday a deal to borrow 2.27 billion dirhams ($237 mln) from the Kuwait-based Arab Fund for Social and Economic Development to finance a road and dam upgrade projects.

The loan will help the country improve its road network and upgrade a dam serving irrigation purposes in eastern Morocco, finance minister Mohamed Benchaaboun said.

In the last four decades, the Arab Fund for Social and Economic development has given Morocco 72 loans totalling $4.4 billion.

The Moroccan government resorted this month to the sale of an 8% stake in the country’s largest Telecom operator, Maroc Telecom, worth some $920 million to help curb the budget deficit to 3.3% this year, from 3.7% last year.

The budget deficit, excluding privatisation revenue, is expected to stand at 4.1% in 2019, according to the central bank.

Cash-strapped Morocco continues to be exposed to the performance of the euro zone - its main trading partner and source of tourism and migrant remittances.

It expects its treasury debt to hit 66% of gross domestic product in 2019 after 65.8% in 2018 while total public debt is seen rising to 81.8% of GDP in 2019 from 81.4 % in 2018 to, according to central bank figures. (Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi; Editing by Toby Chopra)