Marrakech - On the occasion of the United Nations International Day for Older Persons on October 1, Help Age International launched the Global Age Watch Index, which ranks 96 countries in regards to the social and economic well-being of older people.
Marrakech – On the occasion of the United Nations International Day for Older Persons on October 1, Help Age International launched the Global Age Watch Index, which ranks 96 countries in regards to the social and economic well-being of older people.
The index measures well-being for older persons in four key areas: income security, health, personal capability, and an enabling environment.
Morocco is ranked 83; the best-performing African countries are Mauritius (38), South Africa (80), Ghana (81), and finally Morocco (83).
The Carnegie Foundation states that no more than 45 percent of the working-age population in Morocco is actually employed, due to low workforce participation among women and high unemployment rates, particularly among young people.
The Foundation says that the Moroccan pension system covers barely one-third of the working population in Morocco, in comparison with 60 percent in middle-income countries and 80 percent in OECD member states. This is mainly a result of the spread of unregulated businesses that employ workers informally, as well as the presence of a large segment of self-employed people who are excluded from access to existing pension programs.
The Carnegie Foundation adds that Morocco has a fragmented system with a limited number of subscribers. This reduces the viability of a fully-fledged “pay-as-you-go” pension system in Morocco. The number of pensioners among civil servants and employees in state-owned enterprises has seen a significant increase in recent years, compared to the growth in flow of new employees. The latest figures indicate that the ratio of contributors to pensioners in the government is equal to three, in comparison with double that number a decade ago. This ratio is expected to continue its decline, given the rapid aging of the population of civil servants.
The Moroccan government has proposed raising the pension age for men to 62, but this has been met with considerable opposition from unions. As with European pension systems, Morocco’s system is in need of reform; otherwise, pension funds are likely to be bankrupt by 2020. This is because pension funds will not cover the increase in the pensioner population.
The 2014 Index shows that most African countries are still ranked low; since these countries have predominantly young populations, ageing issues are rarely high on domestic policy agendas.
Few African countries are included in the Index because internationally, comparable data sets on older people are missing. Kenya is one such country not included in the Index, despite being a regional power.
Mauritius does particularly well in the income security domain (8) and fairly well in the enabling environment (38), reflecting its long-term investment in social security for older citizens.
Other African countries included in the Index are clustered at the lower end of the rankings, with income security for older people being particularly weak. This reflects the absence of pensions and the strain on household incomes, reducing the amount of cash or in-kind support available to older family members.
The Global Age Watch Index report for 2014 focuses on pension policy and how this is being managed across the globe. Only half the world’s population can expect to receive even a basic pension in old age, and although policies supporting people in later life exist, they need to be implemented faster and more systematically, the report concludes.
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