The World Bank (WB) approved a loan of $ 450 million in support of Morocco’s long-term strategy to strengthen human capital.
This loan, which aims to improve early childhood development in rural areas, will finance the third phase of the National Initiative for Human Development (INDH), with the development of young children as a central focus, said , in a statement, the international financial institution based in Washington. “Morocco’s future social and economic trajectory will depend on its ability to accelerate progress in development and the equitable distribution of human capital”, underlined the director of operations of the World Bank for the Maghreb, Jesko Hentschel, quoted in the press release. “The program will support essential interventions to strengthen rural populations’ access to quality early childhood development services,” he added.
The program is designed to support the strategies adopted by the Moroccan authorities to promote the development of children, based on evidence, explained the World Bank, noting that it appears that the disparities observed to the detriment of children rural areas of Morocco are linked to their lack of access to quality early childhood development programs and their remoteness from services focused on nutrition, health and early cognitive stimulation.
The program will therefore focus on supporting this full range of services in rural areas, the same source continued. “The first years of life are a period of intense cognitive, social and emotional growth. Children’s experiences during this phase of development are critical to their future health and well-being,” said senior economist and project team co-leader Fadila Caillaud. “Investing in the health, nutrition and education of young children is the best investment a country can make, and we are happy to support this strategic initiative,” she said. Monitoring, evaluation and coordination of early childhood development services will be strengthened using institutional mechanisms already in place. “Monitoring the overall development of children from birth through to entering primary school is critical to ensuring that early childhood development systems around the world are effectively supporting vulnerable children” added education specialist and project team co-leader Samira Nikaein.
“Inequalities in the development of children in rural areas are linked to a lack of access to services and a reduced level of exposure to nutritional and medical care as well as to early childhood education. The program will therefore support the development of education, health and nutrition services in rural areas,” noted the program manager for human development and project team co-leader, Luc Laviolette.