the urban-rural poverty gap in morocco

Though Morocco’s economic and political status has improved as a result of King Muhammad VI’s reign, the North African nation remains impoverished. Specifically, the urban-rural poverty gap in Morocco is one of the nation’s most complex issues. Morocco’s larger cities, namely Casablanca and Rabat, are evolving into flourishing economic centers, attracting companies and tourists from around the world. Simultaneously, Morocco’s rural and agrarian communities–the Amazigh people–have found themselves stuck living with little access to modern commodities.

A First-Hand Account

Sophie Boyd, an undergraduate student majoring in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at Colgate University, studied abroad in Rabat last summer. Boyd provided the Borgen Project some insight into the poverty situation in the North African nation. “There was a huge disparity between the living conditions of Moroccans in cities compared to the rural Amazigh villages we visited,” Boyd said. “You could be wandering around the enormous shopping mall in Casablanca and still only be an hour drive away from people who live with almost no electricity. This extreme gap was unfortunate to see and these neglected and impoverished people desperately need more accessible resources and aid.”

The Amazigh People

Unfortunately, Boyd’s observations were fairly accurate and realistic, as Morocco’s Amazigh population has faced hardship and poverty for decades. Though there are about 19 million Amazigh people living in Morocco, which makes up approximately 52 percent of the nation’s population. Their language, known as Tamazight, was not even recognized as an official language of Morocco until 2011. Not only do the Amazigh people who occupy these rural communities not have adequate means to subsist on, but they had also lost their representative voice in the Moroccan government until recently.

Urban Gains

A 2017 study conducted by the World Bank and the Morocco High Commission for Planning found that poverty was actually decreasing at a much faster rate in urban areas than in rural communities. This makes sense considering there is more room for economic growth and consumption in urban centers. Still, this phenomenon contributes to the urban-rural poverty gap in Morocco and creates an even more drastic inequality between rural and urban communities.

Poverty Rising

Another aspect of the urban-rural poverty gap in Morocco that has continued to develop over time is the concept of subjective poverty. The subjective poverty rate refers to the percentage of people, in this case, Moroccans, who consider themselves to be poor or impoverished. The aforementioned World Bank study found that from 2007 to 2014, the subjective poverty rate in rural areas increased from 15 percent to 54 percent. This drastic increase can be partially attributed to the recent economic growth in urban areas. However, it may also have to do with the daily living conditions of the rural Amazigh communities. For example, CIA World Factbook states that only 68.5 percent of Moroccans are literate. This can make life for rural people trying to emerge from poverty increasingly difficult, compounding with other factors such as the infertile, arid land.

A Hopeful Future, Still

The Moroccan government has made it a point to address the urban-rural poverty gap in Morocco. The nation has already demonstrated its interest in resolving this gap through initiatives such as the National Initiative for Human Development Support Project, a plan launched in 2005 to try and close the poverty gap. Morocco will have to continue to work toward better living conditions in its rural communities. If the nation can fix issues like illiteracy and decrease the subjective poverty rate, then it will be well on its way toward closing the urban-rural poverty gap in Morocco.

Ethan Marchetti
Photo: Flickr

Girls Finishing Primary School
The importance of education in lifting a country out of extreme poverty has been well established. Specifically, girls’ education promotes gender equality, raises wages and results in smaller, healthier families. There is an unprecedented increase in girls finishing primary school, allowing them to get educated alongside their male peers.

Income Levels and How they Affect Girls Finishing Primary School

The percentage of girls who can afford to attend (and finish) primary school is directly tied to their country’s income level. Level 1 is extreme poverty; the family can barely afford to eat and must get water from wells. Level 2 is lower-middle income; the family can afford decent food and shoes. Level 3 is upper-middle income; the family can afford running water and basic appliances. Level 4 is high income; the family can afford a nice house and cars.

Level 4: Oman

One hundred percent of girls in Oman finish primary school. Primary school starts at age 6 and continues until age 18, and girls can go to one of 1,045 schools as of 2011. However, back in 1973, when Oman was a Level 1 country, there were only three primary schools with no girls attending them at all. Oman has experienced phenomenal advances in both poverty reduction and girls’ education.

Sultan Qaboos bin Said ascended the throne in 1970 and did not like what he saw. He vowed to improve life for the Omani people. This included, among many other things, opening more schools and allowing girls to attend them. Additionally, he made public school free, allowed private schools to exist and created a comprehensive kindergarten curriculum. With the availability of free education for girls, 100 percent of girls attend and complete primary school.

Level 3: Iraq

In Iraq, 58.8 percent of the nation’s girls finish primary school. This is down from 68 percent in 2004, but it is higher than the 0.722 percent that it was in 1974. At present, girls make up 44.8 percent of students in primary schools.

The Iraqi school system is far from ideal. Uneducated girls, when asked why they do not attend school, cite abusive teachers, poverty, the presence of boys and concerns about domestic and national safety. Those who do go to school endure dirty bathrooms, a lack of clean drinking water and the aforementioned abusive teachers. Despite this, there are enough girls finishing primary school in Iraq to keep the country out of extreme poverty in the next generation.

Level 2: Morocco

In Morocco, 94.7 percent of girls finish primary school. This is a stark increase from 22.9 percent in 1972. After King Mohammed the Sixth ascended the throne on July 30, 1999, he began placing more focus on the education of his people. His efforts have impacted girls more than boys, as shown by the fact that only 9 percent of girls have to repeat any grades in primary school, which is less than the 13 percent of boys who have to do so. Although this has done little to improve women’s reputations as workers thus far, it is still a victory for the country.

Level 1: Myanmar

In Myanmar, 89.3 percent of girls finish primary school. This number was only 30.8 percent in 1971 for a simple reason: extreme poverty. While schooling itself is technically free, parents still need to pay for uniforms and supplies, and boys are favored over girls in terms of whom parents will spend money on. Sometimes, girls as young as 4 years old are sent to schools in Buddhist monasteries, which means being separated from their families.

However, help is being provided by the international community. Educational Empowerment is an American organization dedicated to promoting educational equality in Southeast Asia. It develops and supports schools in Myanmar, publishes books, and gives microloans to mothers to help get their daughters into school. This has helped girls catch up to their male peers and finish primary school.

For girls, getting an education has historically not been an easy task. Between the cost of school attendance, the existence of extreme poverty and general gender inequality, girls often fall behind their male peers when it comes to receiving an education. However, thanks to new government rulings and help from nonprofit organizations, there are now more girls finishing primary school than ever before, and the number is set to rise even higher. In the near future, girls’ education will be on par with that of their male counterparts. This is important because educating girls leads to educated women, and educated women can help lift a country out of extreme poverty.

– Cassie Parvaz
Photo: Flickr

Assessing Credit Access in MoroccoMorocco is a North African country bordering the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the north. Its economy relies largely on vibrant services and agricultural sectors for growth, and after experiencing a severe drought in 2016, the latter sector has bounced back in 2017. The industrial sector, however, has yet to see significant investment or growth.

According to the Moroccan government’s own estimates, extreme poverty has been eradicated in recent years. The percentage of the population living below the national poverty line was around 4.8 percent in 2014.

One signal of a healthy economy is access to credit. Below are some of the current strategies for improving credit access in Morocco.

Agricultural Credit Access in Morocco: The “Meso-Credit”

As is the case in many countries, rural areas in Morocco have a tougher time gaining access to credit — oftentimes, their residents don’t even bother trying. Innovations for Poverty Action reports that 50 percent of the rural households surveyed indicated that they needed credit in the previous year but never actually requested it.

To meet the needs of the 40 percent of Moroccan farms that are midsized, the Group Crédit Agricole du Maroc offers an innovative “meso-credit” portfolio. Midsized farms are considered too small to take a traditional banking approach but too large for a microfinance approach. Meso-credits are generally loans given to agricultural small and medium enterprises (SMEs) consisting of less than €9,300, with good success and repayment rates.

When the midsized farms can access credit, they can survive, thrive, expand and hire, which ultimately will reduce rural poverty in the area.

The World Bank’s Contribution

In May 2017, the World Bank announced a $350 million program to fund financial intermediation reforms in Morocco.

The program has four main goals:

  1. Support new sources of financing for SMEs
  2. Tighten oversight of the banking sector,
  3. Encourage capital market development by increasing the range of investment tools and protecting Moroccan investors
  4. Invest in the civil service pension fund to keep it solvent

Low-income households are expected to benefit from these reforms, as are female entrepreneurs. The reforms allow women to gain access to more sources of financing and electronic payment systems, which remove social and economic barriers that previously stood in the way of women.

The Takeaway

Many projects are underway to help improve Moroccan investors’ access to credit in a responsible and growth-oriented way.

Hopefully, these efforts—and others like them—will improve credit access in Morocco, get development projects off the ground and lift even more Moroccans out of poverty.

– Chuck Hasenauer

Photo: Flickr

Morocco Poverty Rate

A culturally rich and beautiful country, Morocco lies in North Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, and is a frequent tourist destination. Despite its reputation for opulence and wealth, the country remains developing, with a significant wealth disparity between rural and urban areas. Although the Morocco poverty rate has been steadily decreasing, there is still much work to be done.

In 2005, Morocco’s government began focusing on raising the standard of living through a project called the National Human Development Initiative Support Project (INDH). The main goals of this initiative included reducing poverty in urban and rural areas and offering support to the most vulnerable groups in Morocco. Through a budget of over $1 billion and a five-year implementation plan, the country made some progress in improving living conditions and reducing poverty for Moroccans.

From 1998 to 2007, the Morocco poverty rate dropped from 16.3 percent to 8.9 percent. In 2014, the rate has reduced further, to 4.2 percent. Despite this admirable progress, nearly 19 percent of Morocco’s rural population is in poverty, showing the large gap in wealth between the urban and rural populations. Furthermore, while only 3.1 percent of the population lives on $1.90 per day, an estimated 15.5 percent of the population lives on $3.10 a day.

The efforts to lower the Morocco poverty rate have been relatively successful, but there are undeniable underlying factors that have contributed to the lower levels of poverty seen today. Some of these factors include the large amounts of money that many Moroccans living abroad send to their families back home, the continued support of nonprofit organizations and decreasing rates of population growth. Researchers believe that these specific circumstances may have artificially lowered poverty rates, displaying Morocco’s poverty-reducing efforts as being more than successful than they truly are.

While the economic liberalization and other economic developments has provided further wealth to the elites of Moroccan society, these benefits have yet to be similarly reaped by the country’s poor. In fact, the number of Moroccan millionaires has doubled to 4,800 since 2000, but economic inequality continues to run rampant. Although 75 percent of Morocco’s poor live in rural areas, serious levels of unemployment plague urban youth, with 39.9 percent of them unemployed.

Morocco’s government has undoubtedly emphasized bettering the population’s economic conditions, but many of these efforts have been unsuccessful in their ability to truly reduce extreme poverty, especially in rural areas. Progress has been made, but much remains to be done to eliminate extreme poverty and reduce inequity between urban and rural areas.

Akhil Reddy

Photo: Flickr

Morocco's Poor Human Rights Record
Morocco is a north African country situated on the Atlantic coastline of the African continent. The country is governed by a constitutional monarchy headed by King Mohammed VI. Although the government features an elected legislature and other democratic institutions, Morocco’s poor human rights record indicates that the country is still far from egalitarian.

Morocco’s government possesses many authoritarian aspects that favor the monarch, often at the expense of the population. According to the Moroccan constitution, the King can dissolve parliament, dismiss government officials, demand elections and unilaterally create laws at his whim.

Even though the King’s broad executive power gets shared with the prime minister, the King has the authority to choose the prime minister in the first place. Unsurprisingly, the King’s executive dominance and de facto legislative ability leave civil rights and civil liberties in Morocco vulnerable at all times.

Not only is the Moroccan government structurally ill-equipped to defend human rights, but the government also suffers from procedural failure.

The right to due process gets often violated in Morocco, with numerous reports of mistreatment, failure to abide by the rule of law, and even torture on the part of Moroccan authorities. Prisoners and people in pretrial detention are subject to abuse and inhumane conditions. Also, the Moroccan judiciary often denies the accused of their right to a fair trial.

Aside from Morocco’s inhumane justice system, the people of Morocco face oppressive legislation and blatantly authoritarian policies. The rights to free speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of the press are strictly limited in Morocco. Under Moroccan law, the people are forbidden from criticizing or demonstrating against the monarchy, Islam, the state’s official religion, all due to fear of imprisonment.

Additionally, women in Morocco do not possess equal rights. According to the 2004 Family Code, women do possess neither the same rights of family inheritance nor divorce as men. Although the legal age of marriage has been raised to 18, Moroccan authorities continue to permit marriage to underage girls.

Morocco’s government also victimizes the LGBT community. In Morocco, same-sex intimate relations are considered illegal, and many queer couples face jail time as a result.

Despite Morocco’s poor human rights record under King Mohammed VI’s government, the state of human rights in the country is better than in previous reigns. During the infamous “Years of Lead” period in the late 20th century, politically motivated killings and unaccounted disappearances were rampant.

There were no documented instances of such violence in 2016, according to the State Department’s annual report. Also, the government has ended the practice of trying civilians in military courts. Similarly progressive, Morocco has become more accepting of refugees and migrants and plans on revamping their current asylum policy.

Overall, Morocco’s poor human rights record harms the legitimacy of Morocco’s government and the quality of life of its people. On a more positive note, the country is slowly making progress in correcting these shortcomings and transforming Morocco into a more just and free nation.

Isidro Rafael Santa Maria

Photo: Pixabay

When many Americans hear “Morocco,” they likely conjure up the image of Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart standing on an airplane tarmac in Casablanca. Almost four decades after the release of the movie, the impact of refugees escaping Moroccan forces has become an ingrained issue among northwest African countries. The following 10 facts explain the fascinating history of refugees in Morocco, both those running away from the North African nation and those running to it.

10 Facts About Refugees in Morocco

  1. Morocco, long controlled by Spain, earned independence from France in 1956. In 1976, Morocco laid claim to the Western Sahara, an area south of Morocco, after Spain withdrew from the territory.
  2. This action incited a decades-long war between Morocco and the Polisario Front, Western Sahara’s liberation movement, that lasted until 1991 when the United Nations brokered a cease-fire.
  3. The suspension of hostilities left Morocco with de facto control over two-thirds of Western Sahara. As a result, thousands of refugees from Western Sahara fled to Tindouf, Algeria.
  4. 2016 data from the U.N. Refugee Agency estimates that 90,000 Western Saharan refugees remain in camps in Tindouf, Algeria. They have not returned to their native region because a referendum to vote on the independence of Western Sahara from Morocco — promised in the 1991 U.N. cease-fire — has yet to occur.
  5. While the situation seems desperate, many of the refugees remain hopeful that they will one day return to their homeland. They consider themselves to be a democratic movement and strive for gender equality. A U.N. program flies the refugees back to Western Sahara for short-term visits.
  6. Algeria, where the Western Saharan refugees now live, has a historically strained relationship with its neighbor, Morocco. Most recently, 41 Syrian refugees were stuck between the borders of the two countries for weeks until Algeria accepted them.
  7. The North African nation has received an influx of refugees since the start of the Syrian civil war, signaling a new chapter for refugees in Morocco. The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that more than half of the 6,000 refugees and asylum-seekers currently in Morocco are from Syria.
  8. The UNHCR works with public and private partners to provide assistance to these refugees. The Moroccan Ministry of Education, for instance, guarantees the right of all children to enroll in primary classes, regardless of legal status.
  9. Morocco currently extends protection from deportation to most refugees and migrants, even if they entered the country illegally.
  10. Most of these refugees attempt to use Morocco as a means to enter Europe, believing that it is the safest passage, though most end up waiting for months in cramped immigration centers. About 200 refugees make the crossing to Europe each week.

As the number of refugees continues to swell and the fear of terrorism increases, the status of refugees in Morocco will be questioned. Nonetheless, the Moroccan government and the global community remain committed to finding a long-term solution so that the rights of each refugee are recognized and that they have a place to call home. Refugees continue to impact northwestern Africa in numerous ways.

Sean Newhouse

Photo: Flickr

8 Facts About Water Supply in MoroccoIn Morocco, water supply and quality can be the deciding factor in the survival of a community. Today, 83 percent of Moroccans have access to improved drinking water, and 72 percent have access to improved sanitation. However, in a steadily growing population, the percentage of Moroccans lacking such access are faced with many challenges. Here are eight facts about water quality in Morocco.

8 Facts About Water Quality in Morocco

  1. In just half a century, Morocco’s population has more than tripled from 10 million to 32 million. Mass migrations have brought more than half the population to cities, giving rise to “tin cities,” or slums. These communities are located on the outskirts of urban areas, where access to clean water, electricity and sanitation services does not exist.
  2. The one-third of Moroccans without access to proper sanitation services are at high risk of waterborne diseases such as gastrointestinal infections, malaria and typhoid.
  3. Agriculture is responsible for 19 percent of Morocco’s GDP, but only 15 percent of agricultural land has access to irrigation. Due to a lack of sanitation services and inadequate wastewater treatment, the already scarce water resources for irrigation are often contaminated.
  4. Due to climate change, rainfall in Morocco is predicted to decline by as much as 50 percent by the year 2050, increasing the risk of droughts.
  5. Between 2004 and 2011, Morocco’s own Cities Without Slums urban development campaign created 100,000 new housing units in different parts of the country, providing 1.5 million people with access to water, power and sanitation.
  6. In 2016, USAID provided 336 Moroccan families with information on the best sanitation and hygiene practices. It also rehabilitated the retaining walls of a community’s water reservoir to prevent contamination.
  7. The same year, Moroccan farmers received irrigation advice for their crops from USAID through an SMS service, helping the country’s agrarian society achieve the greatest potential from limited resources.
  8. Also in 2016, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization teamed up with USAID to create a regional drought monitoring system that serves to maximize early warnings for droughts in North Africa and the Middle East.

While steps are being made toward a promising future, efforts of local and foreign aid to improve water quality in Morocco and strengthen resources must gain momentum in order to counter the effects of a growing population and a warming world.

Sophie Nunnally

Photo: Flickr

Boeing Ecosystem: Striking Manufacturing Deal with Morocco
In September, the country of Morocco signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the aerospace industry giant Boeing, signifying a leap forward in pursuits to increase the industrial presence of the company in the North African region. Boeing aeronautics and astronautics, the world’s leading manufacturer of commercial jets, established a separate joint entity with Safran Power Systems in 2015 and is now manifested as MATIS Aerospace. Investment in the creation of a “Boeing ecosystem” seeks to attract aeronautical suppliers and to facilitate a spike in exports of manufacturing exports in the sector.

In 2013 the Oxford Business Group attributed a $1 billion turnover and the employment of 10,000 individuals to the Moroccan aerospace sector. The nation’s aerospace industry is now ranked 15th internationally and is the host of 120 companies in the sector.

Morocco, through the establishment of the Boeing ecosystem, aims to create over 8,000 jobs and projects annual export revenues to reach $1 billion. Hindered growth forecasts as a result of the European financial crisis have increased the vitality of growth of the job market. In 2012, The World Bank reported unemployment among citizens ranging from 15 to 29 years of age to be 30 percent, which is especially startling considering these individuals constitute 44 percent of the working-age citizenry. The IMA aeronautics institute, strategically located next to the international airport in Casablanca, also provides prospective employees with new hire and continuing education resources and is a state-run collaboration between the aforementioned government and industry.

Strategies for the development of Morocco’s industrial sector from 2014 to 2020 have also been outlined in an Industrial Acceleration Plan (PAI). The Moroccan Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Investment and Digital Economy highlights the establishment of half a million jobs, equally derived from foreign direct investment and a renovated industrial hub. A nine-point rise in the nation’s industrial share of GDP to 23 percent by 2020 has also been recognized as pivotal to reach the plan’s aim for industrial growth.

Amber Bailey

Photo: Flickr

Food Insecurity in MoroccoThough Morocco’s GDP growth rate has decreased from 4.4 percent rate in 2015 to below two percent this year, the country eradicating hunger for its citizens.

According to a Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report titled “The State of Food Insecurity in the World,” Morocco has made significant progress in the reduction of hunger.

The United Nations group reports that the nation has successfully achieved the Millennium Development Goal to cut the number of the population living in hunger by half in 2015. Addressing food insecurity in Morocco has been a priority with hunger levels currently below 5 percent.

The vast progress in hunger reduction that has earned the Northern African country praise from the United Nations is the result of an economic plan launched in 2008. “Plan Maroc vert,” a plan for a green Morocco (PMV), aimed to stimulate socioeconomic development through agriculture. The plan stipulated policies that maximized production from large-scale farms and supported small-scale farms in reducing poverty and hunger through venture capitalism.

Since 2008, several banks and international agencies have invested $12 billion have been in an estimated 700 mechanization, irrigation and soil fertilization projects.

The Moroccan ministry of economy estimates an additional $2 billion have been spent on 500 small-scale projects to help farmers bring more diversity to their businesses, increase harvest yields and experiment with new seed varieties. Private agricultural investment firms hope to bring Morocco’s fruit and vegetable export potential to fruition in Europe.

Agriculture makes up 15 percent of Morocco’s GDP, with up to 40 percent of the population working in the sector. As a result of the PMV, the agricultural industry has grown by approximately 7 percent, exports have increased by 34 percent and farmland use has risen by 11 percent. These production increases have contributed to decreasing the rate of hunger in Morocco from 7.1 percent and 4.6 percent two years ahead of schedule.

Despite the remarkable progress, some critics of the PMV believe the initiative has prioritized the interests of large-scale agricultural production firms over the needs of rural farmers living in poverty. The FAO reports that small-scale farmers, especially females, often find difficulty in obtaining financial support and technical training. The heavy reliance on rain for abundant harvests has also worried officials of the Morocco’s ability to recover from the effects of climate change.

However, the PMV has exposed neighboring countries to an alternative economic plan. “The plan Maroc vert has created an irreversible momentum without precedent,” Michael George Hage, an FAO representative in Morocco told the Guardian. “It has played a determining role in food security and is inspiring several other African countries.”

Ashley Leon

Photo: Flickr

Green GrowthBasic energy services are the cornerstone of any robust poverty reduction strategy. Providing power to the poor is a prerequisite for the improvement of many other indicators of development. For example, it is very difficult to study at night, run a hospital, or start a business without some basic access to electricity.

That is why power access is often the focus of international development policy. Currently, the Electrify Africa Act of 2015 has been introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives and is awaiting consideration. This piece of legislation directs the President to partner with aid recipients in Africa to develop their power resources.

However, while providing power is an important first step in relieving abject poverty in developing countries, it also can be an opportunity to sidestep further environmental damage. Growing concern with climate change is motivating large aid donors to turn their attention towards green growth and the development of renewable energy resources for their recipients. The logic behind this is that, with the help of already-industrialized nations, developing countries should not have to progress through dirtier energy resources, such as coal and oil, and instead can benefit from more efficient, earth-friendly technologies.

The World Bank, cognizant of both the threat of climate change and the lack of energy services for the poor, is adopting an overall strategy of “green growth.” Rachel Kyte, the World Bank’s climate change envoy, explains that “we have to keep economies growing to bring shared prosperity for all, but we also have to bring down greenhouse gas emissions.” Balancing growth with a reduction in emissions could involve encouraging developing economies to invest in renewables, emphasizing climate-friendly agriculture, or instituting some sort of carbon tax.

One tangible way in which the World Bank already encourages green growth is through issuing “green bonds,” development loans set aside for renewable energy projects. The value of issued green bonds currently amounts to about $8.4 billion total.

Green energy investments can take many different forms, depending on the unique needs and economic environment of the country in question, and do not always involve large infrastructure projects. In Malawi, for example, there is a large focus on providing small solar lights to some of the poorest communities, so that children can study at night, and people can make money by using their personal solar devices to charge mobile phones. SunnyMoney, a social enterprise backed by the UK’s aid agency, is working to distribute the technology in small villages in Malawi. The lights are paid for initially with donor support and sold to villagers on credit.

Even small solar devices can have a huge impact on quality of life. Acreo Kamera, the headmaster of St. Martin’s secondary school in Nambuma, is enthusiastic about the lights’ impact on education. “I would say the performance of the pupils will definitely improve enough to get people to pass exams. Now they can stay later at school and revise. Without light, pupils have had little chance to read or write. Everyone will save money on torches and batteries and reduce living costs, too,” he said.

Elsewhere, in countries such as Bangladesh and Morocco, government-supported green energy programs are providing jobs and basic energy services, not only improving quality of life for the poor but creating long-term economic investments. In rural Bangladesh, a government-run program has resulted in the installation of an estimated 3.5 million home solar systems, also creating thousands of jobs to service the new infrastructure. Similar developments are being undertaken in Morocco, with a special long-term emphasis on creating an energy grid suited to running off of sustainable energy sources such as wind and hydropower.

Providing basic energy services to the poor is one of the most direct ways of encouraging growth and development. Access to electricity, even if it is just enough to charge a phone or power a light, can enable those in developing countries to fully take advantage of their educational and economic opportunities. However, in a world where climate change is a growing threat, aid donors and aid recipients are forming strong partnerships to provide power services to the people that really need them.

Derek Marion

Sources: International Business Times, The Guardian
Photo: The Guardian