An additional financing to continue supporting the implementation of a modern and efficient social protection system
WASHINGTON, June 12, 2023 – The Board of Directors of the World Bank approved on June 9th US$350 million in additional financing to scale up and broaden the activities of the Morocco COVID-19 Social Protection Emergency Response Project, adding to the initial US$400 million Program approved and disbursed in 2020. The original financing was motivated by supporting the Government of Morocco in mitigating the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis by providing Emergency Cash Transfers (ECTs), but it also included measures to guarantee access to and strengthen cash transfer programs to support vulnerable households and the Kingdom's social protection initiatives.
Since the first financing, the COVID-19 pandemic, climate-related shocks, and various crises have significantly impacted the Moroccan economy, hampering its recovery following a recession in 2020. These consecutive shocks may threaten shared prosperity in Morocco and exacerbate pre-existing vulnerabilities. An adaptative and better-targeted social protection system would constitute a more cost-effective tool to mitigate the impacts of these supply shocks. Morocco has launched a comprehensive reform program for the whole social protection sector and made significant headway in implementing it.
The additional financing supports the design of Morocco's universal Family Allowance program and strengthens the adaptive social safety net system in the medium term.
"Since its inception in 2020, the COVID-19 Social Protection Emergency Response Project has supported building the foundation for a modern and efficient social protection system," says Jesko Hentschel, Country Director for the Maghreb and Malta at the World Bank. "This Additional Financing supports the operationalization of key parts of the Kingdom’s social protection reform, paving the way for a modern social protection system to make growth more inclusive."
This Additional Financing (AF) will support two key aspects of the social protection reform: it is intended to expand the support for the Government of Morocco's existing cash transfer programs and implement the new health insurance non-contributory program for poor and vulnerable households. It also adds a component to enhance the information system of social assistance programs for vulnerable groups, including persons living with disabilities.
"Given the importance of these programs to the welfare and resilience of households, guaranteeing continuity of program benefits, the digitalization of payments and the enhanced Management Information System will be essential to a successful transition towards the new system envisioned by the Social Protection Reform," relayed Mahdi Barouni, Senior Economist and Program Leader at the World Bank.
The AF will help ensure a seamless transition from existing cash transfer programs into the universal Family Allowance program. Moreover, the AF will support the implementation of AMO-TADAMON – a key pillar for protecting households – especially the most vulnerable – against health risks, which are expected to be exacerbated by the impacts of climate change.
"The implementation of AMO-TADAMON will be critical to protecting vulnerable populations (women, children, people with disabilities) and isolated populations (in rural or remote areas) against health risks. To achieve this, it will be essential to capitalize on the identification and targeting tools of vulnerable populations already developed," said Dalal Moosa, Senior Economist and Program Co-Leader at the World Bank.
In addition, the AF will also cover persons with disabilities through the implementation of a disability assessment system that will facilitate identification and access to services. This system aims to reach all persons with disabilities in Morocco (about 2.6 million).