Morocco is the United States’ oldest friend in the Middle East and North Africa. This bond, dating back over 200 years, is forged on a solid foundation of shared values in security, freedom, and prosperity. Located in an unstable and volatile region, Morocco continues to set itself apart with its stability and steadily growing economy.
Since 1957, the United States and Morocco have been working together to improve the lives of Moroccan citizens. Both the Government of Morocco and its citizens show a clear commitment to addressing Morocco’s development challenges by implementing progressive reforms to increase social and economic opportunity. USAID partners with the Government of Morocco, civil society organizations, and the private sector to design programs that support the country’s ambitious development goals. USAID’s programs focus on enhancing participatory local governance, expanding business and livelihood opportunities, improving community resilience, and increasing educational attainment.
In 2011 Morocco announced a new constitution that includes several reforms for greater civic engagement and responsiveness to citizen needs. To support the Government of Morocco in implementing these policies, USAID provides technical assistance to elected sub-national governments in targeted regions to improve their performance and accountability. This support also empowers citizens and civil society to play a more active role in local governance by enhancing opportunities for collaboration between government and citizens around regional and local development priorities. USAID is working closely with sub-national government entities, elected officials, civil society organizations, and higher education institutions to deliver these programs, with particular emphasis on empowering youth, women, and persons with disabilities to become dynamic and empowered members of their communities.
Despite strong economic growth during the past decade, the Moroccan economy has not been able to create enough meaningful employment opportunities for youth entering the workforce. The private sector has struggled to find appropriately skilled applicants for jobs, and regional disparities in economic growth have led to a sense of exclusion among some Moroccans. USAID works closely with the Government of Morocco and key partners to expand business and livelihood opportunities by enhancing vocational training and workforce skills, priming the business enabling environment for increased investment in focus regions, and promoting entrepreneurship and innovation. USAID also relies on publicprivate partnerships for demand-driven workforce development training in key job market areas.
Youth make up more than half of Morocco’s population and are disproportionately affected by socioeconomic challenges. These challenges, including a lack of access to quality education, high unemployment, and political disenfranchisement, contribute to high rates of marginalization. This reality is particularly prevalent in the north of Morocco, where many young people who live in densely-populated and underserved neighborhoods lack the resources and support necessary to become productive members of the workforce and their communities. USAID seeks to address the growing marginalization of youth by addressing socio-economic drivers behind their disaffection. USAID programs work with local authorities and civil society organizations to provide services that help curb drop-out rates and increase employability, create stronger bonds within communities, build the local capacity of youth-serving institutions, and foster community participation and volunteerism.
Numerous studies have shown that children with poor reading skills are more likely to fall behind in school, therefore setting the stage for future dropout, poverty, limited job opportunities, and strains on the overall social support system. Through a lockstep partnership with the Ministry of Education, USAID is supporting the Moroccan government’s efforts to incorporate effective methods of reading instruction and language teaching into the national teacher preparation program. Furthermore, USAID’s activities generate data and information which contribute to sustainable, evidence-based development of the national education system, leading to stronger education attainment and quality outcomes.