The World Bank (WB) Board of Executive Directors approved a $ 55 million donation on Friday to support youth-friendly programs in the Marrakech-Safi region.
The project funds an innovative approach that combines training for low-skilled youth, support for aspiring entrepreneurs and investments in local businesses operating in promising value chains, the WB said in a statement.
It will build on the lessons learned from previous capacity-building programs of local authorities to combat unemployment by bringing young people closer to economic opportunities.
The beneficiaries of the project will be young women and men who are currently neither at work, school or training (NEET) but also budding young entrepreneurs or small and medium-sized entities operating in retail chains of value with high growth potential.
The project will open “one-stop shops” to provide career guidance and continuing education in the seven provinces of the region and in the prefecture of Marrakech.
Managed by the National Agency for Promotion of Employment and Skills (ANAPEC), these spaces will aim to strengthen synergies between existing national programs, the private sector and the public authorities concerned in order to identify the needs of Local private agents and to provide young people with the skills and information they need to access these opportunities and maximize opportunities.
In order to stimulate job creation in the Marrakech-Safi region, the project also intends to develop the entrepreneurial ecosystem and support the possibilities of business creation by young people in high potential sectors. By strengthening the synergies between public and private actors, through the Regional Investment Center (RIC), the project wants to help those who are looking to create a business to develop their capacity to design viable business models in these strong sectors of potential.
The project is a continuation of the government’s employability programs, such as the National Employment Strategy, the National Strategy for Vocational Training and the Youth Inclusion pillar of the third phase of the program INDH.
It is based on a participatory approach with dedicated feedback mechanisms, in order to promote a constant improvement of the quality of services rendered. The inclusion of women is one of the priorities of the project, which aims to remove the obstacles faced by young women to access career guidance services and matching programs between their profiles and the jobs offered, as well as the services offered by women in reinforcement of qualifications.
The project will adopt a communication strategy promoting gender equality and focus on involving families, especially in rural areas.
“Faced with the major challenge of youth unemployment in Morocco, we are mobilizing our vast international experience to offer innovative solutions to the authorities of the Kingdom,” said Marie Françoise Marie-Nelly, Director of Operations for the Maghreb, quoted by the communicated.
“This project will focus on building the skills of young people seeking employment and, at the same time, developing economic opportunities through an optimized business operating environment. Designed to meet the specific challenges of the Marrakech-Safi region, the efficient and integrated model underlying this first project will eventually be rolled out over the entire territory,” she added.
“The project aims to work closely with young people in the region, follow an adapted approach to orient them towards training and continuous support and, thus, to maximize the employability of youth,” says Ana Paula Fialho Lopes, senior specialist in social development and co-team leader of the project.
“The innovative nature of this new project is due to the support services that will be offered throughout its deployment. Building on existing programs, such as the National Initiative for Human Development (INDH), it is not only about providing young people with counseling services, but also about supporting them financially through small grants”, says Hind Kadiri, senior private sector development specialist and co-team leader of the project.