Morocco finds new ways to help jobless youth

With Morocco’s youth unemployment remaining high, policymakers are offering a number of ideas to address the issue.

By Sham Ali for Magharebia in Rabat

[AFP/Abdelhak Senna] Former Moroccan Finance Minister Salaheddine Mezouar (left), seen here with World Bank President Robert Zoellick last year, is encouraging entrepreneurship in Morocco.

[AFP/Abdelhak Senna] Former Moroccan Finance Minister Salaheddine Mezouar (left), seen here with World Bank President Robert Zoellick last year, is encouraging entrepreneurship in Morocco.

Morocco and its international partners are looking at innovative strategies to boost youth job opportunities.

The issue has become a high priority in the kingdom, as Moroccan unemployed youth have put pressure on the government through demonstrations, meetings, and by seeking support from the National Human Rights Advisory Council.

With 250,000 young people entering the job market every year, youth employment is a primary concern for all stakeholders in Morocco, according to Industry and Trade Minister Abdelkader Amara.

The challenge is to train skilled human resources in order to meet the demand for 360,000 jobs in the sector by 2020, Amara said.

Possible solutions have come from a range of sources, he explained. The government plans to launch a training scheme in the retail sector, which has 1.4 million workers and makes the fourth-largest contribution to GDP.

The National Rally of Independents (RNI) proposed a law to create incentives for a “self-enterprise system” known as “Bidaya” (start) that includes simplified administrative, fiscal and social measures.

People who have ideas for businesses should be helped by making the start-up requirements less onerous, said RNI chairman Salaheddine Mezouar.

The opposition party’s idea is to allow people to start businesses over the internet with no initial capital and a flat tax rate of 3%, he explained. This measure would be applied to trading companies that turn over less than 1 million dirhams and service companies with turnover of less than 500,000 dirhams, he said.

These businesses must be helped to win public contracts and all business expenses should be 100% tax-deductible to encourage them to become self-employed and enable anyone to create their own company, he said.

“We need to create something good out of failures, as happens in Anglo-Saxon business culture”, Mezouar concluded.

The World Bank has also taken an interest in youth employment in Morocco.

In its May 14th report entitled “Promoting Youth Opportunities and Participation in Morocco”, the World Bank explained that based on a 2011 survey of 2,883 young people in the urban workforce, nearly 30% of young Moroccans aged between 15 and 29 were unemployed.

According to the report, it is time to engage in dialogue with employers to ensure that young people can make the most of their potential. The World Bank advocated co-operation between the government and young people to seek suitable solutions and recommended that young people be included in the decision-making process.

The research focused on Morocco’s two-speed education system— with private schools educating the elite in French and public schools teaching mainly in Arabic. With employers requiring workers to speak French, graduates from the public system become alienated.

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World Bank analyst Gloria La Cava said that these recommendations should be implemented through inclusive programmes involving both the public and private sectors and civil-society organisations.

She stressed that policies should be adopted to help young people secure jobs by improving training, offering real job opportunities and tackling illegal work.

Sociologist Samira Kassimi agreed. This is what the government is currently trying to do, she explained.

But the road will be long one and with many obstacles because young graduates—especially those who have been out of work for years—do not want to attend any more training courses so they can get jobs, she said.


Posted on June 18, 2012, in Morocco News and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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