The World Bank issued a statement announcing $400 million to support social protection system
Rabat – The World Bank in Washington, DC has said it is “proud” to support Morocco’s “sweeping reforms” to protect vulnerable people. A World Bank press release on Thursday announced that the World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved a $400 million program to support Morocco’s social protection system.
“Morocco has reacted decisively and swiftly to support the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said World Bank Maghreb Country Director Jesko Hentschel. The regional director added that Morocco is “now accelerating reforms to strengthen its social protection system that we, at the World Bank, are proud to support.”
The World Bank was commenting on Morocco’s ambitions to expand important social protections to the most vulnerable in society. King Mohammed VI has tasked the government with the ambitious goals of expanding healthcare and pension coverage order to support and alleviate the suffering of the weakest members of society who have struggled during the COVID-19 crisis.
“I believe the time has come to launch a decisive process for the expansion of social welfare coverage to all Moroccans within the next five years,” the King stated in his Throne Day speech on July 29.
Starting in January 2021, the government will gradually expand Morocco’s welfare system, with the goal of improving pensions for retirees, supporting poor families and expanding healthcare coverage.
The World Bank appears determined to contribute to Morocco’s ambitious plans. The $400 million the World Bank will provide to Morocco “supports the country in its response to the pandemic as well in its plans to build a broad, effective and vital safety net system for vulnerable populations,” Hentschel stated.
The World Bank estimates that the pandemic has “halted” roughly 712,000 jobs in the formal sector and a remarkable 4 million informal jobs. Morocco will receive financial support from the World Bank to help those who lost their jobs in both the formal and informal sectors. The initiative also aims to “support the capacity of those most in need to overcome the crisis.”
The cooperation between the World Bank and Morocco will cover emergence cash transfers that have provided a lifeline to many struggling families as well as help strengthen Morocco’s social protection programs.
The crisis has made it difficult for many families to support their children’s education amid financial hardships. The World Bank will therefore support Morocco’s Tayssir program that protects children’s education through conditional cash transfers.
“In crises like the one we are experiencing now, protecting children as well as their continued learning is a critical response,” according to Carlo del Ninno, the World Bank’s Lead Economist and co-task team leader. He added, “Similarly, income transfers are a lifeline for many households who are dependent on the informal sector.”
The World Bank’s statement concluded that its $400 million project “fully supports the Government of Morocco’s efforts and ambitions to strengthen its social protection system.”