Rabat – The French Development Agency (AFD) has agreed to provide a €1.5 million (MAD 16 million) grant to the Moroccan Ministry of Tourism, Air Transport, Handicrafts and Social Economy, to help reinforce the social and solidarity economy (SSE) framework in Morocco. SSE’s are enterprises that produce goods and services, while also pursuing social aims.
The signing ceremony was attended by the head of the ministry Nadia Fettah Alaoui, the French Ambassador to Morocco Helene Le Gal, and the director of AFD in Rabat Mihoub Mezouaghi. The grant agreement is aimed at helping the ministry strengthen the national legal mechanisms of Morocco’s SSE.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) defines SSE, unofficially, as a “concept designating enterprises and organizations, in particular cooperatives, mutual benefit societies, associations, foundations and social enterprises, which have the specific feature of producing goods, services and knowledge while pursuing both economic and social aims and fostering solidarity.”
The financial aid will allow the ministry to update the legal framework surrounding SSE, especially in the context of the post-COVID-19 economic recovery.
The assistance will consist of three essential stages: A diagnostics study and the mobilization of stakeholders; updating the text of the law as well as implementing the changes; and establishing support mechanisms for social innovation.
On the occasion, Alaoui explained that the development of SSE in Morocco runs in parallel to the achievements of the National Human Development Initiative, a program launched in 2005 in order to raise the standards of living on a national level.
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An analysis from the ILO shows that SSE organizations can act to both create and preserve employment in the country’s traditional sectors. Furthermore, through providing “quality and stable jobs,” SSE can promote meaningful work, facilitate women’s entry into the labor force, integrate disadvantaged workers, and ultimately, help economies adjust from informal towards formal employment.
The minister noted that through a participatory approach, the ministry can initiate real change, particularly through the promotion of collective and social entrepreneurship. Alaoui hopes that the framework bill will help establish SSE as an independent, recognized economic and social sector in Morocco.
Le Gal believes that the sharing experience between Morocco and France, especially in regards to SSE, will likely advance the various partnerships in favor of social innovations.
The director of AFD noted that the bank is observing a growth of initiatives with a more positive “social, environmental and economic” impact. Most such initiatives are “carried by local actors rooted in a territory and when these are included in an institutional framework favorable to their development and when aggregated, these initiatives can then have a strong leverage effect on economic growth and social resilience,” concluded Mezouaghi.
The fiscal agreement was only the first step towards a consolidated SSE ecosystem. With the strengthening of the regulatory framework that surrounds SSE, Morocco could see a real boost in its economic recovery.