On May 29, the World Bank signed an agreement with the Moroccan Ministry for Economy to lend MAD 500 Million ($55 million) to Morocco to “support the economic insertion of Moroccan youth.”
The World Bank-funded project to support youth employment will run over 5 years until 2024. It aims to improve access for youth to economic opportunities in the Marrakech-Safi region of Morocco through three strategies.
First, it will set-up a regional network of “Youth Employment Centers,” across the seven prefectures in the region. The centers will deliver professional training sessions to benefit over 19,000 youths.
Second, it will also develop Morocco’s entrepreneurial sector by setting up a regional program to support local micro, small, and medium-sized projects that have high growth and high employment potential. The program is expected to benefit 25,000 youths and to create 1,500 jobs.
Finally, the project will reinforce existing institutions that work on youth employment.
Since last year, the rate of unemployment in Morocco has dropped, with the creation of new jobs in both rural and urban areas. However, the unemployment rate of Moroccans aged 15 to 24 remains high at 24.1% (in April 2019). The World Bank funds will help target this issue.
The signing ceremony for the loan was attended by the Minister of Education, the Minister for Employment, the Deputy Minister for General Affairs and Governance, the Wali, the national coordinator of the National Initiative for Human Development, and the director of the National Agency for Promoting Employment.
The project fits within a broader 5 year partnership between the World Bank and Morocco, which aims to increase private sector employment, reinforce human capital through improving the education, health and social security system, and promote territorial resilience through improving urban infrastructure and sustainable access to water across the country.
The World Bank lent MAD 6.6 billion ($681 million) to Morocco in February this year under the partnership to help the country introduce digital technologies into banking and economy.
While they promote development in Morocco, loans have raised concern.
The 2019 Global Firepower Index (GFP) found that Morocco owes $51,480,000,000 in external debt. In January, the High Commissioner for Planning (HCP) Ahmed Lahlimi Alami warned Morocco’s economy would continue to be weighed down by debt this year.
He noted the overall public debt of the economy would increase to 82.5 percent of GDP, slightly up from 82.2 percent in 2018.
“Debt is becoming heavier and we must try to increase national savings, ” he added.