Morocco’s low labor costs and close proximity to Europe has allowed the nation to move towards a diverse market-oriented economy. Despite its economic progress, four million Moroccans remain in poverty and live on less than $4 a day.
Recognizing the poverty crisis in Morocco is essential to alleviating it; such a feat is possible through providing facts about poverty in Morocco to the public.
The Top 10 Facts About Poverty in Morocco
- Morocco announced the National Human Development Initiative Support Project (INDH) in 2005. The project’s $1 million budget and five-year timeline intended to improve living conditions of citizens, reduce poverty throughout the country, assist vulnerable demographics and support families in dire need.
- In 1998, 16.3 percent of Moroccans were considered poor. This number was nearly cut in half by 2007, with only 8.9 percent of Moroccans considered poor. Although the poverty rate was further reduced to 4.2 percent in 2014, over 18 percent of Morocco’s rural population still lived in poverty or were considered vulnerable.
- Geographical divides play a major role in Morocco’s poverty; of the four million people living in poverty in Morocco, three million reside in rural areas.
- Reduced poverty rates stem from slowed population growth, remittances from Moroccans living abroad, economic stability and nonprofit organization involvement.
- Nearly 19 percent of Morocco’s population lives on less than $4 a day.
- Three factors impede Morocco’s development: illiteracy, financial inequality and economic volatility. It is difficult for Moroccans to transition out of poverty with over a quarter of Morocco’s adult population being illiterate. According to the Gini Index — a scale that measures financial inequality from zero (absolute equality) to 100 (absolute inequality) — Morocco sits at 40.7. Morocco’s economy largely depends on agriculture as it accounts for 19 percent of its GDP and 40 percent of jobs. However, Morocco’s agriculture sector is incredibly volatile; only 18 percent of Morocco is arable and this sector is prone to changing weather conditions.
- In November 2017, 17 people were killed and over 40 injured in a stampede for food stamps; of the 17 victims, 15 were women. The stampede occurred while a local philanthropist distributed food stamps to needy families in Sidi Boulalam of the Essaouira province.
- The Essaouira stampede highlights the suffering Moroccans experience as a result to current drought, increased food costs, skyrocketing unemployment and fixed incomes. Economist and 2015 Nobel Prize-winner Angus Dayton pointed out the role globalization and technology play in creating millions of jobs and subjecting a large number of people to unemployment, which thus widens the gap between the rich and poor.
- Improved literacy levels can reduce poverty in Morocco. Not only does education lift families out of poverty, it keeps them from falling back into it. Children who receive an education attain skills that render them a vital component of the workforce.
- Promoting volunteering among young change-makers and international organizations is essential to solving the poverty crisis in Morocco. Entrepreneurship could create innovative solutions and accelerate efforts to help those in need.
Although Morocco’s economic progress has reduced poverty to some degree, these facts about poverty in Morocco illustrate how the country still suffers from illiteracy, unemployment and poverty. Possible solutions include reforming the government and education system, and time to see what steps Morocco implements next.
– Carolyn Gibson