Linking Europe and North Africa through education

With 43% of Morocco’s population under 25, and youth unemployment running at 21%, there is a great need to invest in the skills of young people, something that will spur wider private sector development and inclusive growth in the country. The new Université Euro-méditerranéenne de Fès aims to support this transformation through the construction of a new 123 000m2 eco-campus. It will create places for 6 600 students and 200 researchers, with another 300 planned for lifelong learning and training. With a strong education focus on engineering, around one quarter of the facilities will be devoted to research and development activities and reinforce linkages between teaching, research and local industries to ensure that graduates have the skills they need to seize opportunities and make a real contribution to the economy.

At the same time, this will not be any ordinary university. A flagship project of the Union for the Mediterranean, the university will promote partnerships between institutions across Europe and Morocco, enabling substantive gains in the quality of teaching and research. It is designed to be a unique regional platform promoting dialogue, cultural exchange and cooperation in higher education and research between both rims of the Mediterranean.

The project will also contribute to sustainability. With a great emphasis on energy efficiency in the design of the university, the campus will also be able to generate much of its electricity needs through solar panels. The EIB is supporting the project through a long-term EUR 70m loan which is complementing a EUR 13m grant under the EU’s Neighbourhood Investment Facility. Grant funding is also helping to ensure that the university can provide a significant number of scholarships for students from lower-income backgrounds.