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Economic Development Recommendations for Morocco

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The Pandemic and the Informal Economy

The government of Morocco’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has involved strict policies and significant transformative social reforms. These strict policies and social reforms have mitigated the spread of COVID-19 and provided social protection to those affected. However, at least four million informal sector jobs were lost due to the pandemic (Alaoui, 2020), and the Moroccan informal workforce contributes to 30 percent of the country’s GDP (Azarkan, 2021). The lack of social protection to those participating in the informal sector leaves workers falling into poverty and hunger. The vulnerability of the informal sector must be addressed through a system-wide approach that extends coverage. The government must implement a short-term strategy that involves expanding in-kind transfers (e.g. food distribution), conditional cash transfers, and social grants. These strategies will reduce the risk of extreme poverty and food insecurity for those who have suffered from the pandemic in the informal sector; cash transfer specifically is an effective crisis initiative that will improve their well-being. Shifting to the long-term, the government can maintain in-kind distributions and social grants as well as provide paid work opportunities and public work programs that provide significant social welfare benefits. Furthermore, the government can utilize a lending mechanism with the Bank Al-Maghreb to informal MSMEs with less than five employees. There can be no pandemic recovery without the inclusion of informal workers in social protection programs.

Improving Education to Improve the Standards of Living

Morocco’s in-access to education for women and those specifically in rural areas is well below the standards of living. The government has been over-funding private education and underfunding public education which has resulted in a major teacher shortage, resource shortage, and poor education infrastructure. Education itself crucially overlaps with poverty as children under and around the poverty line drop out of school due to the unaffordability and in-access. The growing inequality in education has been characterized by poor learning outcomes, such as 60 percent of rural women being illiterate (Guerraoui, 2019). School attendance is mandated up to the age of 15, yet only 26 percent of female students in rural areas attend school (ProjectB, 2017). I urge the government to abandon private education to focus on ensuring free public education. By ensuring free public education and mandating attendance until the age of 18, inequality will be reduced. To aid accessibility, the government must expand on bussing and provide biking for students. A significant increase in recruitment aiming to reach a teacher-to-student ratio of 1:15 is essential. Recruitments must be given rigorous training that requires the teacher to work in a year of apprenticeship. Graduates of this program will also be required to work two years in administrated districts in order to limit shortages in underrepresented areas. Furthermore, an improvement in the efficiency of resources by repurposing existing buildings for schooling, as well as a transition to a more tech and online approach to learning will help mitigate the shortage of books, school utensils, and paper. This education initiative will reduce gender inequality, improve the literacy rate, and improve the return of investment on education. The development of education will increase human capital, allowing citizens to gain higher wages to positively contribute to their standard of living. This will reduce Morocco’s poverty level by giving opportunities to children living around and under the poverty line.

Improving Agriculture to Improve the Standards of Living

The agriculture sector of Morocco is responsible for approximately 40 percent of the labor force while contributing 15 percent to the nation’s GDP (Madaar 2021). Nonetheless, Morocco’s agriculture sector suffers from significant risk due to its vulnerability to climate and global market shifts. For example, a recent drought diminished crop production, increased food scarcity, and even stripped tap water from millions living in rural parts of the country. The vulnerability contributes to the 68.7 percent of multidimensional poverty in rural areas (Madaar, 2021). The government must adopt an initiative to reduce the liabilities to climate change and market changes. This in return will protect its large job market, increase even more job opportunities, as well as reduce multidimensional poverty. It is essential for the government of Morocco to establish sustainable agriculture that improves the management of water and the efficiency of the distribution of food. Through regulation, Morocco can protect and encourage local food producers from large corporations. This will incentivize and stabilize small-scale farmers. Morocco must reduce the risk of commercializing its agriculture sector as it continues to liberalize its markets through the regulation of its prices. Furthermore, an investment in farmer infrastructure by introducing modern-day technology to rural farms and expanding road systems. By investing in a social program that distributes irrigated to rural communities and encouraging access to rural citizens (specifically women and youth), the agriculture sector can combat poverty that is rooted in the rural communities. An important part of the initiative must include resources to encourage diversification. This agriculture initiative will create a more inclusive sector that is better equipped for the uncontrollable risks that surround them. Simultaneously, the standard of living of the rural community will significantly improve as the majority of the investment addresses the multidimensional poverty issues that they face.


Agriculture and Food Security at heart of climate change action. FAO. (n.d.). Retrieved December 6, 2021, from https://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/453416/icode/.

The hidden hunger in Morocco. Peoples Dispatch. (2021, September 30). Retrieved December 6, 2021, from https://peoplesdispatch.org/2021/09/30/the-hidden-hunger-in-morocco/.

Morocco cuts its informal economy to 30% of GDP. Atalayar. (2021, January 9). Retrieved December 6, 2021, from https://atalayar.com/en/content/morocco-cuts-its-informal-economy-30-gdp.

Project, B. (2020, May 21). Five facts about women's education in Morocco. The Borgen Project. Retrieved December 6, 2021, from https://borgenproject.org/womens-education-in-morocco/.

Saad, Guerraoui. (n.d.). Report raises alarm over rural Moroccan women's access to education and Health Care: Saad Guerraoui. AW. Retrieved December 6, 2021, from https://thearabweekly.com/report-raises-alarm-over-rural-moroccan-womens-access-education-and-health-care.

Sepeda-Miller, K. (2015, August 19). Urban-rural divide in Moroccan education. Poverty and Development News | Al Jazeera. Retrieved December 6, 2021, from https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/8/19/moroccos-teachers-battle-urban-rural-education-divide.

World Bank Group. (2021, November 15). Social Protection for the informal economy: Operational Lessons for Developing Countries in Africa and beyond. World Bank. Retrieved December 6, 2021, from https://www.worldbank.org/en/region/afr/publication/social-protection-for-the-informal-economy-operational-lessons-for-developing-countries-in-africa-and-beyond.

Written by Jonathan Hepburn, A. P. M. (n.d.). How can we improve food security? World Economic Forum. Retrieved December 6, 2021, from https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2015/09/how-can-we-improve-food-security/.