AFD departure raises eyebrows at Fes

Published 16th December 2009

The decision by French development agency AFD and the European Investment Bank (EIB) to withdraw MAD440 million ($56 million) in funding for a new 130,000m3/d WWTP in the Moroccan city of Fes is increasingly being seen by sources close to the project as a strategic move.

AFD and EIB withdrew their funding after the local water authority RADEEF awarded the MAD700 million ($89 million) five-year BOT contract to a consortium led by Belgium’s Waterleau and China’s Golden State Environment in July 2009. That consortium is also currently constructing a 100,000m3/d WWTP in Marrakech under a €100 million 10-year DBO contract. Biwater, Veolia/OTV and Degrémont led the three other bidding consortia at Fes.

AFD denies the allegation from Moroccan authorities that it withdrew because the French-led consortia were left empty-handed. “The tendering procedures as agreed by AFD and EIB were not respected and, as such, we were not able to give our approval,” according to a statement.