Operationalizing Energy Efficiency in Morocco

Key Contact
Manaf Touati
Start Date
End Date
Funding Amount
$ 45,616
Knowledge-providing Countries
Knowledge-receiving Countries


Energy consumption is forecast to triple in Morocco as a result of its economic growth and fast urbanization. Especially given its very high reliance on imported energy, the Government of Morocco (GoM) has set ambitious goals to increase energy efficiency.  Cities use a great deal of energy, and as Morocco urbanizes, one area of clear need is for municipal authorities to lead efforts to upgrade public street lighting for better energy efficiency. Mexico is one of the countries that has successfully managed a similar program for cities. At the request of the GoM, the World Bank organized a knowledge exchange for national and urban planners in Morocco to meet with agency peers in Mexico to learn to implement improved energy efficiency measures, particularly for urban lighting.



Morocco’s energy intensity use is set to dramatically increase due to soaring energy demand. Primary energy consumption has been growing by 5% per year and is expected to triple by 2030 compared to 2010. At the same time, Morocco remains extremely dependent on fossil fuel imports. With a 96% dependence rate in 2012, Morocco’s energy system is highly reliant on imported coal, oil and gas, and electricity from Spain.

Morocco needs to pursue energy efficiency initiatives at both the city and national levels. The GoM’s National Plan for Priority Actions (PNAP) in 2009 targeted 15% energy consumption reduction by 2030. The Morocco Energy Strategy set ambitious goals for 2020 to have 42% of energy form renewable sources, reduce overall energy use by 15%, while also reducing dependence on imported fossil fuels.

Morocco is also urbanizing fast: 60% of the Moroccan’s reside in cities today compared to 35% in 1970 due to sustained rural-urban migration. By 2050, 70% of the country’s population will be urban, adding about 10 million people to Moroccan cities. There is therefore an important role for municipalities to promote energy efficiency. Street public lighting is the best example of obsolete infrastructure, leading to massive energy waste and poor municipal lighting.



Seeing that it could benefit from a knowledge exchange focused on municipal sectors and energy efficiency, the Moroccan Ministry of Energy, Mines, and Sustainable Development asked to meet with countries that had implemented urban energy efficiency projects.  To inform the design of Morocco’s new Energy Efficiency project, the Moroccans wanted to learn about initiatives for city authorities to achieve tangible, short to-medium-term market-ready energy efficiency investments. In response, World Bank staff used a grant from the South-South Knowledge Exchange Facility (SSF) to organize a knowledge exchange with Mexican experts who had recently completed urban energy-use reforms.

The knowledge exchange started with a video-conference organized by the Ministry of General Affairs and Governance in early 2016 to help the participants identify knowledge gaps, clarify goals for a study visit, and agree on learning objectives. This also built a relationship between Moroccan knowledge seekers and the Mexican knowledge providers. On both the Mexican and Moroccan sides, participants were all directly involved in the preparation and implementation of energy efficiency projects.

For the main part of the knowledge exchange, a delegation from Morocco visited Mexico on May 22-28, 2016. The twelve Moroccan participants in the exchange came from various departments and state-owned enterprises involved in energy efficiency and public lighting: Ministry of Energy, Mining, and Sustainable Development; Ministry of Interior; Ministry of Finance; Municipal Equipment Fund; National Agency for Energy Efficiency; the Moroccan Power Utility ONEE; the Energy Investment National Company (SIE), and the City of Marrakech. Mr. Manaf Touati and Guillermo Hernández, Energy Specialists with the World Bank based respectively in Rabat and Mexico City, organized the exchange between the two governments.

The participants from Mexico were selected to closely match their Moroccan counterparts. The knowledge providers were management and staff from the Mexican power utility (CFE), which had been developing the national efficient public lighting program in coordination with the national agency for energy efficiency (CONUEE) and the local development bank (BANOBRAS). Officials from the Mexican Secretariat of Energy (SENER) also provided valuable energy efficiency policy guidance. The exchange participants held several meetings over a week, including field visits to the City Energy Efficiency Diagnosis and Efficient Public Street Lighting projects. The exchange balanced between presentations of issues with interactive discussions with technical specialists involved in efficient street lighting.

A dissemination workshop in Rabat hosted by the Moroccan Ministry of General Affairs and Governance followed the exchange in June 2016. The Morocco City Energy Efficiency TA (P156179) funded the workshop that presented the results of the exchange and shared the various presentations the Mexican counterparts had delivered.


Lessons Learned

The Moroccan delegation comprised of 12 participants. If repeated, the team would consider lightening the knowledge exchange delegation to be more flexible and to facilitate administrative and logistics management.

Organizing learning exchanges between countries in similar development conditions is very beneficial because they face similar challenges and opportunities. Participants can learn a great deal from both success and failure stories. That said, there is no “one-size- fits-all” solution to promote energy efficiency: each country can learn from experiences of other countries and adjust for their context.

A clear champion and political will at the highest level is needed to deploy energy efficiency national programs. Strong leadership is needed to coordinate relevant actors, local and foreign. The financing support of international institutions is not a prerequisite per se, but performance-based incentives can be very powerful to convince leaders on the importance of promoting energy efficiency.


Beneficiaries / Participants

Moroccan participants:

  • Director for Planning and Energy Transition, Ministry of Energy and Mines
  • Division Chief for Energy Efficiency, Ministry of Energy and Mines
  • Division Chief for Energy Planning, Ministry of Energy and Mines
  • Director for Multilateral Partnerships, Ministry of General Affairs and Governance
  • Division Chief for Studies, Directorate for Municipal Delegated Services, Ministry of Interior
  • Chief Engineer for Street Lighting, Local Collectivities Directorate, Ministry of Interior
  • Division Chief for Energy, Budget Directorate, Ministry of Finance
  • Director for Energy Efficiency, National Agency for Renewables and Energy Efficiency
  • Director for Energy Efficiency, Energy Investment Company
  • Engineer, Distribution Directorate, National Power Utility ONEE
  • Director for Sustainable Development, Communal Equipment Fund
  • Deputy Mayor, City of Marrakech


Mexican participants:

  • Commissioner of the Energy Regulatory Commission
  • Manager of the operator of the national electrical system at CENACE (Centro Nacional de Control de Energía)
  • Director of Energy Efficiency and Sustainability, Secretariat of Energy
  • Director of Energy Efficiency, Secretariat of Energy
  • General Manager at the Under-Secretariat of Electricity
  • Professional in charge of mitigation policies at SEMARNAT (Secretariat of the Environment and Natural Resources)
  • Advisor to the General Director of FIDE (Fideicomiso para el Ahorro de Energía Eléctrica)
  • Director of International Cooperation, CONUEE (Comisió Nacional para el Uso Eficiente de la Energía)
  • Deputy Director General of Training and Innovation, CONUEE.


World Bank Contribution

The knowledge exchange primarily relates to the World Bank’s Morocco City Energy Efficiency Technical Assistance (TA) (P159179). The ESMAP-supported TA aims to assist the GoM to design a sustainable Morocco Public Lighting Transformation Program following a “cascade” decision-making approach using a PPP structure to attract private finance. Furthermore, the activity aims to identify feasible demand-side energy efficiency measures for the city of Marrakech, host of the COP22 conference. This activity is linked to the second pillar of the 2014-2017 Morocco Country Partnership Strategy, “Building a Green and Resilient Future”. The exchange was co-financed by this activity.

The exchange is also synergistic with the World Bank Morocco Inclusive Green Growth Development Policy Loan Series (DPL, P149747 & P127956). The programmatic series of DPLs support sustainable Moroccan growth and reforms, including low-carbon growth similar to the new Mexican energy model.


Moving forward

The long-term goal of this initiative is to make Moroccan cities more energy efficient by improving public street lighting. Follow-up took the form of technical assistance to develop a national lighting transformation program for street lighting in Morocco. This follow-up activity involved all stakeholders in the knowledge exchange, and was financed by the Morocco City Energy Efficiency Technical Assistance (FY16 to FY18).



New Knowledge: The exchange allowed the Moroccans to learn from a similar developing country with similar energy challenges related to lighting strategies and programs. The Moroccans learned about the Mexican energy sector, its new energy transition model, and the Mexican Efficient Lighting Program. The delegates learned about major reforms in the Mexican energy sector conducted in August 2014: break-up of Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) monopoly over the hydrocarbon sector; opening of oil exploration to private and foreign investors; liberalization of electricity transmission and distribution; and establishment of an exchange market for electricity and gas. The Moroccans also learned about Mexico's energy efficiency program, establishment of a green certificate market, and the choices made by Mexico related to pricing electricity and production and transport costs.

Enhanced Skills: The exchange strengthened the Moroccans’ technical and operational skills related to energy efficiency programs. The exchange strengthened the GoM’s ability to design energy policies and projects. The Moroccans learned from Mexico’s strategy to finance and facilitate investment in energy efficiency and public lighting, standardize energy efficiency codes, disseminate good practices, and centralize data on sector energy intensity. The Moroccans also learned about Mexico’s actions to protect the environment and reduce the impact of climate change.

Enhanced Connectivity: The resulting partnership will help strengthen Moroccan capabilities to implement efficient public lighting. This exchange is highly replicable. Additional exchanges can build on the learning form the energy transition models in Morocco and Mexico.

New and Improved Actions: Enhanced knowledge and skills form the KE informed the preparation and design of the Moroccan National Lighting Transformation Program launched in December 2016 and completed in April, 2018. With World Bank assistance, GoM carried out a detailed review of the public lighting sector as part of a strategy to deploy public-private partnership (PPP) approaches to upgrade public lighting across the country.  After the exchange, Moroccan officials involved in energy efficiency were prepared to increase the number of feasibility studies in cities throughout Mexico. For example, the city of Marrakech completed a preliminary assessment of some municipal services’ energy performance in the context of the COP22 Conference for Climate Change in 2016.

This knowledge exchange provided an excellent snapshot of what Mexico is doing in the field of energy efficiency, and we all can see how advanced the country in these issues. This was also a very good opportunity to learn from an emerging country with similar energy issues and institutional setting. This exchange has significantly contributed to the success of the Morocco City Energy Efficiency Technical Assistance financed by ESMAP,” said Mrs. Maya Aherdan, Director for Observation, Communication and International Cooperation, Morocco’s Ministry of Energy, Mining and Sustainable Development.




  • CENACE (Centro Nacional de Control de Energía)
  • Secretariat of Energy
  • Under-Secretariat of Electricity
  • SEMARNAT (Secretariat of the Environment and Natural Resources)
  • FIDE (Fideicomiso para el Ahorro de Energía Eléctrica)
  • CONUEE (Comisión Nacional para el Uso Eficiente de la Energía)


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Photo Credit: Maurizio de Mattei


Story Author: Aldo Morri