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Morocco’s sound economic management in recent years has yielded strong growth and investment grade status and it is weathering the negative impacts of the global crisis impressively well. Morocco is now addressing persistent social problems by reducing absolute poverty rates, investing in human capital through quality education, expanding access to drinking water, and linking rural areas to markets through investment in roads.
Morocco faces challenges on human development outcomes despite progress over the past decade, in particular. Overall illiteracy rates and gender disparity in access to secondary education remain high and the country continues to suffer poor outcomes on infant and maternal mortality. It also needs to diversify its economy, become more competitive, and integrate further into the global economy if it is to reach higher growth levels. The government has recognized this challenge and has put in place an ambitious process of legal, policy, and institutional modernization that has far-reaching political, economic, and social dimensions. It has designed and is now implementing a comprehensive set of new sector strategies that respond to the overall national vision and that target development challenges with clear, measurable goals and indicators.
IBRD is one of several partners with the government that are supporting the National Initiative for Human Development (INDH) which is the main nationwide poverty-fighting program launched by the King in mid-2005.
The first phase of the INDH program covering 2005-2010 is for a total of US$1.1 billion, of which IBRD is financing US$100 million. The INDH program relies on bottom-up participation and planning to improve living standards and give greater voice to the poor in targeted communities. More than 20,000 sub-projects have been financed so far and the evaluations currently underway of the first phase are showing some impressive results: (i) the rural poverty rate has decreased from 36 percent in 2001 to 14 percent in 2007; (ii) 19 percent of households reported that they participated in all or part of the INDH participatory process; (iii) 62 percent of households, and 60 percent of women and youth reported increased access and use of basic infrastructure after sub-project implementation; and (iv) 46 percent of households reported that their livelihood has improved. The government and its partners in the INDH are concentrating on ensuring greater inclusion and empowerment of women, youth, and vulnerable groups in all phases of implementation and in all structures as beneficiaries and decision-makers.
Additionally, IBRD delivering financing of US$36.9 million in 2004, US$60 million in 2006, and additional financing of US$81.5 million in FY10 to support a program to improve 15,000kms of rural roads. As part of this program, 2.9 million people would benefit directly and about 760,000 people indirectly from roads constructed, representing a total population of nearly 3.6 million people, including people living in villages of less than 50 households.
Additionally, as a result of an acceleration of rural water supply programs, potable water access has risen to over 87 percent in 2009 from 50 percent in 2004. Morocco is now on track to exceed the targets for water and sanitation services contained in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
And in education, from 1990/91 to 2008/09, national net enrollment rates increased from 52.4 percent to 90.5 percent for primary education, and from 17.5 percent to 42.7 percent in middle school. The Bank recently approved (in FY10) a US$60 million development policy loan to the education sector with the goal of continuing IBRD support to the government for its education reform agenda.
Toward the Future
The World Bank Group’s objective over the next four years —as articulated in the recently-finalized Country Partnership Strategy—is to support implementation of the government’s reform program. The focus of the program will be on facilitating institutional reform, sequencing of reforms and contributing toward the “how to” of implementation. The World Bank Group will continue to work on inter-agency coordination and capacity-building and the program will pay particular attention to results orientation both within World Bank-financed activities and in the government’s overall program.
Read more: Results Profile Morocco