Magharebia (Washington DC)

Morocco: Nation Holds Global Conference On Employment

Casablanca — Experts from across the world discussed ways to tackle the global phenomenon of joblessness.

Hundreds of participants from thirty countries gathered in Fes last week to examine the problems of labour, governance and employment.

"Through ten years of promotion of investment and opening big factories, Morocco managed to cut unemployment to less than 9% among job seekers," Moroccan Employment Minister Abdelwahed Souhail said at the opening of the October 1st-2nd event.

The problem of employment has become a global phenomenon requiring intensification of efforts, development of new approaches and views of countries concerned, he said.

The event, organised by Morocco's National Agency for the Promotion of Employment and Skills (ANAPEC) in association with the World Union of Public Employment Agencies, focused on the role of local administration and governance in promoting employment.

Attendees included experts from Morocco, Algeria, Croatia, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Nigeria and Benin among many others, as well as representatives of the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the Arab Labour Organisation.

According to Souhail, two major obstacles prevent elimination of joblessness: training and its responsiveness to the labour demands and inability to ensure good governance to spur job creation for degree holders.

Morocco needs to work in the framework of pre-emptive policies for job needs, to bring the national observatory for employment to light as soon as possible and to look for an effective strategy for harmonising labour market needs with available human potentials, the minister said.

Participants in the conference shared their countries' experiences in combating unemployment and managing the crisis between employers and local communes.

"Forty-eight per cent of populations in North Africa are not active," said World Bank representative Nadine Poupart. "Political and social factors definitely help aggravate the problem. We know that active citizens in North Africa have greater confidence in the public sector and see it as more stable and secure than the private sector."

She continued, "The problem of unemployment in North Africa is due to lack of major enterprises, failure to promote investment and aging management and administration mentality in Maghreb countries."

In his turn, Taher Shalal, director of Algeria's National Agency for the Promotion of Employment, said that the problem of unemployment in Algeria is similar to that of Morocco.

"The problem needs to be dissected, and we need to look for solutions that would enable us to put an end to unemployment that now threatens even Western societies in view of lack of job opportunities because of the economic crisis in our world today," he said.

Hassan Numairi, who obtained a university degree in Islamic studies five years ago but is still out of job, was not optimistic about the outcome of such meetings.

"We need practical and urgent measures. International meetings and conferences are just a waste of public money," he told Magharebia. "All that we took from the ministry concerned is just promises and dreams that weren't, and won't be, realised in the absence of a clear strategy for employing thousands of unemployed young people who hold university certificates and whose number is increasing day after day."

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