Within a decade, the Moroccan government was able to lower the country’s poverty rate to 9%, previously 16.2%, from 2000 to 2010. According to a World Bank report, the rate decreased even more with the national poverty rate at 4.8% in 2018. In 2018, the unforeseeable natural obstructions halted the process of poverty eradication in Morocco. Nevertheless, the strides that some have made in poverty eradication in Morocco serve as examples of the importance of investing in foreign aid. Here are five ways Morocco has successfully helped its citizens with poverty reduction.
Progressive Taxing and Better-Targeted Public Spending
Despite adopting a new constitution in 2011 that granted universal public services, such as free education and healthcare, Morocco still faced some adversities. For one, the Moroccan government was not able to meet the needs of its surging population. The state budget disproportionately benefited cities with larger populations. As a result, it left rural areas with resource shortages. To efficiently reallocate public spending, the country set aside funds for local-level organizations such as NGOs.
NGOs are single-issue driven and avoid any political alliance. NGOs target anything from the distribution of resources, such as water and electricity, to literacy campaigns for their communities. A Carnegie Endowment for International Peace publication concluded that “[d]espite NGOs’ limited resources, case studies have shown that their actions have made a real difference in the lives of people at the local level.” The World Bank study predicts that social spending will increase with the 2020 Budget Law that is under development.
Access to Education
When accessible, education encourages free and critical thinking. ChildFund International believes that knowledge breaks the cycle of poverty because education fosters the power to dream of a better future. Additionally, it purports that education presents employment opportunities. Upon state independence, Moroccan policymakers prioritized free education. A 2019 article estimated that Morocco spent about 5.26% of GDP on education which is “considerably higher than the world average.”
Slowed Down Population Growth
A lower population growth rate means more sustainable resource allocations. Morocco is able to meet demands for resources, such as food and housing, with slow population growth. The Carnegie Endowment report claims that “access to education and fewer opportunities in the labor market delayed the average age of marriage… and slowed down population growth.”
Moroccan citizens are waiting longer to start families, which is allowing them the time to enable economic prosperity as well. By securing their financial stability first, parents are guaranteeing desirable circumstances for raising future children and wealth to inherit. The research also supports that “inheritance is an important channel through which some people in Morocco have moved out of poverty.” Generational wealth gives future generations a financial head-start when they begin to participate in the economy.
Investing in Infrastructure
In decentralizing government spending, Morocco made accomplishments in basic infrastructure programs. These programs tackled the drinking water supply, electrical networks and road systems. For example, the program known as PAGER increased access to drinking water for rural areas by 29.4% in 2009.
The program PAGER has worked to reduce health risks in communities so that there is less strain on healthcare resources. Additionally, the program has removed the responsibility of girls having to carry clean water home from distant drinking wells. Other advances in rural electrification have led to readily available information. Meanwhile, new road constructions make it easier to reach schools and jobs located outside of small towns.
The World Bank estimated that inflation in Morocco had a Consumer Price Index (CPI) of about 0.6% in 2019. Forecasts estimate that inflation will only reach 1.7% in 2021, which is relatively low for neighboring countries. In addition, the World Bank attributes the low inflation rate to “sound monetary policy and ample supply of fresh food.”
Low inflation is important for keeping prices for goods competitive in the world market. Competitive prices are attractive to countries seeking affordable exports and tourists. Additionally, contained inflation protects the income of Moroccans as citizens will not have to pay inflated prices for everyday goods.
Although the country’s hardships are still ongoing, there are many efforts towards poverty eradication in Morocco. Morocco’s efforts prove the efficiency of state intervention when combined with smaller local governments and respond accordingly to the demands of the most vulnerable.
– Lizt Garcia