Morocco established several innovative digital solutions to increase the number of beneficiaries of social protection schemes during the pandemic.
Rabat – The International Monetary Fund (IMF) called Morocco a “success story” for its innovative solutions to expand social protections amid the COVID-19 crisis.
In the October edition of its Regional Economic Outlook report, the IMF addressed a key challenge the governments of developing countries have faced during the COVID-19 crisis: Supporting informal workers.
Morocco, however, demonstrated “success” in assisting its informal sector. The IMF said the North African country established “several innovative digital solutions” to “increase the number of beneficiaries of social protection schemes.”
“The government has been able to reach informal workers through a combination of mobile payments for those who qualify for noncontributory health insurance benefits (RAMED) and online cash claims for those who do not qualify,” the report said.
The Moroccan government provided cash stipends to hard-hit households totaling more than MAD 12 billion ($1.31 billion) over the course of several months.
Morocco’s Economic Monitoring Committee, created to mitigate the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, distributed stipends for the months of March, April, and May. Morocco’s Special Fund for the Management and Response to COVID-19 financed the aid.
The IMF report noted that households in Morocco benefiting from the RAMED medical insurance system received a payment of MAD 800-1,200 ($80–$120), depending on household size.
It added that as of April, the program reached 85% of eligible households in the informal sector. In total, more than 4.3 million informal workers who lost work due to COVID-19 measures benefited from the program.
The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the need for Morocco to improve its social welfare program, evidenced in King Mohammed VI’s Throne Day speech in July.
“The time has come to launch a decisive process for the expansion of social welfare coverage to all Moroccans within the next five years,” he stated, firmly echoing a similar call for improvements to Morocco’s social protection system in his 2018 State of the Nation address.
“Universal access to social protection coverage should serve as a lever for the integration of the informal sector into the nation’s economic fabric,” he stressed in July.
The King’s first social welfare prerogative is achieving “universal compulsory health coverage for an additional 22 million Moroccans by the end of 2022, at the latest,” he said in October on the occasion of the first session of the fifth legislative year of the 10th legislature.
Given Morocco’s successful social protection schemes during the COVID-19 crisis, observers such as the IMF might expect the country to make good on its promises of social welfare reform.