Rabat – The COVID-19 pandemic has had serious repercussions on the Moroccan society, worsening social inequality and increasing poverty seven-fold, according to the latest report by the High Commission for Planning (HCP).
The HCP report notes that Morocco’s poverty rates during the quarantine have increased from 1.7% before the pandemic, to 11.7% during the three-month quarantine. The pandemic has also more than doubled the vulnerability rate, which rose from 7.3% before the quarantine, to 16.7% during the quarantine.
The incidence of poverty has increased by five times in rural areas, rising from 3.9% to 19.8%, and 14 times in urban areas, which grew from 0.5% to 7.1%.
Despite the improvement in living standards between 2013 and 2019, the downward trend in “poverty, vulnerability and social inequalities [reduction] has been shattered by the COVID-19 pandemic.“
According to the report, “these major repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic on the socioeconomic well-being of households are forcing Morocco to react by doubling the efforts and urgent measures to fight against the” increase in poverty and social inequalities.
To address the situation, the government must “strengthen the resilience of households vulnerable to the health crisis to reverse the trend towards a more egalitarian society,” the report notes.
Despite a marked increase in poverty during the quarantine, public aid significantly reduced the most serious effects and consequences of the COVID-19 lockdown on Moroccan households.
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According to the same report, the absolute poverty rate was later reduced by 9 points at the national level, which stood at 11.7% before the transfer of public aid, and shrunk to 2.5% after the transfer.
A 2020 report, co-authored by Morocco’s High Commission for Planning (HCP), the UN System in Morocco, and the World Bank, studied the social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on Morocco.
The report predicted that the COVID-19 pandemic would put 1.06 million people in Morocco at risk of poverty in 2020.
“The socioeconomic impact of the crisis will undoubtedly be felt first and foremost by workers in the informal sector who represent a large majority of working Moroccans and foreigners (migrants, refugees),” the study said.