Thousands of youth from the Marrakesh-Safi region to benefit from improved training and job-matching services
Washington D.C., May 1, 2019 – The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved today a $55 million loan to develop youth employability programs in the Marrakesh-Safi region of Morocco. The new project titled Supporting the Economic Inclusion of Youth project will finance an innovative approach that combines training for lower skilled youth, support for potential entrepreneurs and investments in local businesses in promising value chains. The project will draw on lessons learned from past programs aimed at developing the capacity of local authorities to address unemployment by connecting youth to economic opportunities at the local level.
“Youth unemployment remains an acute challenge for Morocco, and we are drawing on our global experience in supporting governments in their efforts to address it through innovative solutions“ said Marie Françoise Marie-Nelly, Maghreb Country Director. “This project will focus on developing the skills of young people seeking jobs, while increasing their economic opportunities by enhancing the conditions for promising businesses to grow. The project is designed to address the specific conditions in the Marrakech-Safi region, but the intention is to build on this first experience to replicate an integrated and efficient model across the entire country.”
The project will target a set of beneficiaries including young men and women who are neither employed nor in training as well as aspiring young entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises operating in value chains with high potential for growth. The project will set-up “one-stop-centers” which will provide career guidance as well as on-the-job training in the seven provinces of the Region and in the Marrakech prefecture. Managed under the supervision of Morocco’s employment agency (ANAPEC), these centers will establish greater synergies between existing national programs, the private sector and the relevant public authorities to identify the needs of the local private sector and equip young people with the relevant skills and information to access and maximize these opportunities.
“There is a significant skills gap for semi-qualified professionals especially in high-growth sectors. The project seeks to work closely with the youth population, adopt youth-friendly approaches to guide them towards training and continuous support which combined, can maximize youth employability in the region” said Ana Paula Fialho Lopes, Senior Social Development Specialist and co-Task Team Leader.
To boost job creation in the Marrakech-Safi region, the project will also foster the entrepreneurial ecosystem and support entrepreneurship opportunities for youth in high potential value chains. By strengthening synergies between public and private stakeholders through the Regional Center for Investments (CRI), the project will help aspiring entrepreneurs develop their capacity to build effective business models in sectors with high growth potential.
“The innovative approach of this new project lies in the provision of support services throughout projects’ life-cycle. Building on existing programs such as the National Initiative for Human Development (INDH), the purpose is not only to provide young entrepreneurs with advisory services but also to support them financially through small grants” said Hind Kadiri, Senior Private Sector Development Specialist and co-Task Team Leader.
In addition, the project will aim to strengthen the capacity of relevant actors at a ministerial and regional level, namely the Ministry of Labor and Professional Insertion, ANAPEC, the Secretariat of Professional Training and its Regional Department as well as the CRI, to oversee the execution of project activities, to innovate and learn from implementation in an agile manner and to explore new approaches.
The project is aligned with the Government’s employability programs, including the National Employment Strategy, the National Professional Training Strategy as well as the Youth inclusion pillar of the third phase of the INDH. It is built on a participatory approach with dedicated feedback mechanisms for project beneficiaries, to regularly improve the quality of service delivery. Gender inclusion is a major component of the project, which aims to lift barriers faced by young women in accessing career guidance and job-matching programs and skills development services. The project will adopt gender-friendly communications and outreach to families, particularly in rural areas.