analysisBy Hassan Benmehdi
Casablanca — SMEs, entrepreneurship and other youth employment strategies will enhance economic development in Morocco, a government body says.
The creation of jobs and wealth topped the agenda for the latest session of the Moroccan Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE).
"Morocco must use youth employment as a pathway to social and economic development," Council President Chakib Benmoussa told Magharebia at the January 10th meeting in Casablanca.
"Our Council is a reflection of Moroccan society, its challenges, its expectations and the issues facing it, which include employment, education and training for young people," he added.
Young Moroccans, who now make up around 40% of the country's population, aspire to a better future.
Casablanca residents El Orabi Majid and Manhaji Karim make no secret of their concerns about employment.
"We will get our degrees in computer engineering this year and we really want to find jobs. We can't imagine being unemployed after our studies," the young men said.
Hotel management student Hamza Khadraji, 20, shares their concerns - especially since she will get her degree this year. "It hurts me to see that tourism in Morocco is doing badly because of the economic crisis," she said.
Before an audience of businessmen, Benmoussa touched on the scale and problems of the Moroccan economy.
"The work of the Council is focused on two main areas, namely economic competitiveness and social cohesion," he underlined, adding that the CES calls for public involvement in job creation.
Urgent solutions are now needed to resolve the problem of unemployment, economic analyst Nora Talibi said.
"The cost of delays and the wait-and-see attitude will cause a heavy burden on the country's economic policies," she said.
The Council should offer "guidance to institutions and decision-makers to help them solve the problem of unemployment as soon as possible".
The CES is indeed tasked with advising the government and parliament, Benmoussa confirmed.
He explained that the Council gives "its opinion on the overall direction in which the national economy and training are heading, analyses the situation and monitors national, regional and international economic and social policies".
The advisory body is currently focusing on the new regional development model for the southern provinces, "a project which must be integrated and sustainable and create wealth and jobs for local communities", Benmoussa said.
Youth employment is complex and necessitates long-term structural reforms, the Council said in its 2012 report.
Ten measures were proposed as ways of helping to restore young people's confidence, such as labour market regulation and action with regard to job supply and demand.
The Council also says that self-employment and the establishment of small businesses could create many jobs and should be encouraged through a special policy.