The Moroccan government has launched stimulus contracts for exporting companies as part of an ambitious programme to increase employment.
Some 25 companies, including 16 that are emerging and nine that are established, have benefited from the first stimulus contracts as of August 1st. This programme will be spread over three years with a budget of 1 billion dirhams and aims to strengthen exports of Moroccan companies, through support for contracts related to growth, consortia and auditing for export.
"The goal is to generate additional exports, allow exporting companies to access certain resources needed to develop their products and strengthen their position in target markets," according to Industry and Trade Minister Abdelkader Amara.
By 2017, some 375 companies are expected to have benefited from the programme. The amount of support represents 10 per cent of the total additional revenue of each company for a given year, for three years. It is capped annually at 5 million dirhams for experienced exporters and 2 million dirhams for emerging exporters.
As part of the strategy dubbed "Maroc Export Plus", the government intends to triple exports over 10 years to reach 327 billion dirhams by 2018. This will create 380,000 additional jobs, according to the government.
Morocco needs similar strategies to reduce unemployment and boost employment, according to economist Hamza Raji.
"The revival of exports will promote productivity and the creation of new jobs in several sectors. This bodes well for the Moroccan economy which has been affected by the vagaries of the economic crisis that hit Europe, our largest trading partner," the economist said.
He added, "Morocco is expected to diversify its markets not only to fight against the effects of the current economic situation, but also to stop unemployment that has experienced in recent months a slight improvement."
The economist also noted that "according to official figures, there has been a general improvement in the rate of economic growth during the first quarter of 2013, with a decline in the unemployment rate. During this period, 99,000 jobs were created, allowing a decrease in the unemployment rate from 9.9 per cent to 9.4 per cent compared with the same period last year."
According to the High Commission for Planning (HCP), the unemployed labour force fell by 4.7 per cent from 1.13 million in the first quarter of 2012 to 1.077 million in the same quarter of 2013, or 53,000 less unemployed. The most significant decline was among young people aged 25 to 34 years and graduates.
Most new positions are in the service sector and service industries, according to Raji. On the other hand, the agricultural sector was most affected by job losses, with 100,000 jobs eliminated.
The HCP said the main reasons for unemployment were termination (27.2 per cent) halting studies after obtaining a diploma (20.6 per cent), and stopping school without graduation (14.2 per cent).
"The government is called upon to find solutions to all these factors to reduce unemployment," Raji said.