With a population of 355 million and the vast majority of people living in middle-income countries, the MENA region came into the Arab Spring with multiple strengths, including a young and educated population, strong resource base, and economic resilience that helped it weather the 2008/9 global financial crisis.
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WASHINGTON, August 26, 2014 – The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved today a US$100 million project in support of the government of Morocco’s ongoing efforts to boost employment and imp... Show More +rove the quality of jobs. The project will focus on ensuring the skills taught in universities and vocational training programs match the needs of the labor market, increasing the efficiency of employment services and broadening their reach to disadvantaged segments of the population, promoting micro-enterprises while formalizing the employment conditions for the many currently employed by them, and reinforcing the governance of the labor market.The Second Skills and Employment Development Policy Loan (SEDPL2) is the second in a programmatic series of two projects aimed at addressing employment. A principal aim of the SEDPL2 is to support the development of a clearer path from school to work. The reform of educational and training programs will improve the job prospects of graduates, by equipping them with the right skills, while more effective employment services will match them with available jobs. The project will also support government plans to expand the reach of the national employment agency, ANAPEC, beyond graduates, to offer services to less-qualified individuals. Another policy initiative supported by the SEDPL2 will be to create a new legal status for self-employed individuals who want to exit the shadow economy and pay taxes, in exchange for a package of benefits; including access to credit and affordable social security. Finally, the project will contribute to improving the quality and availability of information needed to make employment policy decisions.“Unemployment continues to be a critical development challenge for Morocco,” said Simon Gray, World Bank Country Director for the Maghreb Region. “The government is taking significant steps to improve how institutions respond to the needs of young people, in terms of providing them with the skills that are most relevant to the job market, as well as empowering them to create their own opportunities. We are pleased to be working closely with the authorities to support these and other efforts to boost employment.”In preparation for the launch of the program’s second project, the government undertook a number of initiatives. These included the signing of agreements with thirteen new private sector providers of vocational training; the launch of a support program for Non-Governmental Organizations, which will be funded to provide training programs to out-of-school youth from disadvantaged backgrounds; the launch of an 18-month pilot program to extend the coverage of ANAPEC to non-graduates in five local offices; the adoption of a draft law to promote micro-enterprises; and the establishment of a National Observatory for Employment. “As a result of the reforms supported by this project, we hope to see more people employed in more productive jobs with better working conditions,” said Nadine Poupart, World Bank Task Team Leader for the project. “The project also aims to reach a broad cross section of society, with equal access for women as for men and programs designed specifically for young people from disadvantaged areas.” Show Less -