30% of Morocco’s urban youth unemployed, says World Bank report

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Young protesters gather in front of Morocco's Parliament building to demand jobs and end to corruption. Photo - Abdelhak Senna/AFP/Getty Images

According to a World Bank report, almost 30% of Moroccans between 15 and 29 years of age are unemployed. The study also noted that those most likely to suffer unemployment are uneducated city dwellers.

Based on innovative research that focuses directly on the personal views and experiences of young people, the research titled “Promoting Participation Youth Opportunities and Participation,” was completed in 2011 using a sample of 2,883 youth. The finding underlines that unemployment in Morocco is disproportionately affecting the illiterate and less educated.

According to The World Bank, around interviews were conducted with 2,883 young people living in 2,000 households. Numerous focus groups were also held in addition to record the aspirations of a diverse cross section of the country’s youth and to identify the barriers that are holding them back.

The results suggest approximately 80% of the unemployed do not have any secondary education, and less than 5% of them hold a diploma.

“Young people in Morocco are full of ideas and are keen to contribute to society,” Gloria La Cava, a World Bank Social Scientist and the leader of the team that produced the report, said. “But they have been excluded from opportunities, have not benefitted from the last decade of economic growth, and have very limited voice in the decision-making process,” she added.

The World Bank has proposed a plan to tackle unemployment, especially among the youth. The report insisted it is time to establish a dialogue with the segment of the population, noting that current efforts are focused on those with university diplomas.

According to the High Commission for Planning (HCP) in Morocco, unemployment rate rose from 9.1% in the first quarter of 2011 to 9.9% in the first quarter of 2012, with around 93,000 unemployed.

The HCP report also disclosed that unemployment is the highest in urban areas, where number of unemployed men between 15 and 24 years of age increased by 3.5% and 2.4% for women of the same age. Unemployment for those between 25 and 34 rose 2%. In rural areas, unemployment for the 15-24 group rose 1.4%.

The report said that with regard to unemployed population, 4 out of 5 live in urban areas, with 2 out of 3 between the ages of 15 and 29 years old, and 1 out of 4 holding a university degree. About half are applying for a job for the first time, and 2 out of 3 have been unemployed for over a year.

“Youth represent the future of Morocco and overcoming youth exclusion can have a significant impact on the country’s development and prosperity,” says Inger Andersen, the World Bank Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa region.

“The report is a useful guide for policy-makers on how to integrate the challenge of youth inclusion into Morocco’s broader social and economic agenda.”

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