Economic and rural development in disadvantaged regions of Morocco

Project description

Title: Economic and rural development in disadvantaged regions of Morocco (PEDEL)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Land: Morocco
Politischer Träger: Ministry of the Interior
Gesamtlaufzeit: 2015 bis 2017 

Context

The Kingdom of Morocco is undergoing radical change. Greater political participation and economic justice were among the demands that emerged from the Arab Spring as it swept across North Africa. Morocco has responded to these demands by launching a number of reforms. These measures now need to be implemented on a sustainable basis. Furthermore, the fundamental conditions required for economic activity need to be created for the population as a whole. Until now, Morocco’s rural provinces in particular have been excluded from economic growth, which is concentrated in the dynamic coastal regions and in the north of the country. This economic disparity is a potential source of conflict and could jeopardise the country’s social cohesion and political stability if allowed to continue unchecked.

Although extensive improvements have been made to infrastructure in recent years, especially in road construction, electrification and drinking water supply, agriculture remains the mainstay of the economy in the rural provinces. However, it does not provide sufficient employment and income-generating opportunities for the people living in these regions. The processing of agricultural produce locally and, by extension, the on-site creation of value offer considerable potential for addressing these issues, yet such activities are currently taking place only on a very small scale. Moreover, the existing markets for agricultural products are extremely limited. The vast distance separating these rural areas from the economic centres near the coast reduces the potential for sales.

Objective

The economic performance capacity and employment situation of local actors – including smallholders and farmers’ associations – are improving. Sales and profitability are on the increase and new markets are being developed.

Approach

The primary aim of the programme is to enhance the economic performance capacity of local actors – such as agricultural producer groups, cooperatives, craftspeople, processing and trading businesses – in selected provinces. These actors are first assisted in identifying sectors where there is potential for growth and employment. Once this has been done, the required support measures and company-related services are determined. These might include technical training programmes or management courses that are needed in order to process agricultural produce locally. The overall aim is to enable actors to identify and exploit existing economic opportunities, and thereby improve their economic performance.

The programme is initially focusing on five rural and economically weak regions in southern Morocco, namely the provinces of Midelt, Ouarzazate, Tata, Tinghir and Zagora. This therefore makes it consistent with the objectives of the Moroccan Government, which wishes not only to grant more political autonomy to the regions but also to improve their economic capability through the Green Morocco Plan (Plan Maroc Vert). The programme also helps existing initiatives to promote economic growth and to improve networking among actors, for instance via chambers of commerce or smallholder cooperatives. In the medium term, the Government’s objective is to roll out the project approach throughout the entire country.

The project is part of a special initiative designed to stabilise and promote development in North Africa and the Middle East run by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Through the projects that make up this special initiative, BMZ is helping to open up economic and social prospects for people in the region. Within this context, an additional sum of more than EUR 200 million has been earmarked for projects carried out by GIZ and other implementing organisations in the period from 2014 to 2019. The thematic focus is on youth and employment promotion, economic stabilisation, democracy and stabilising neighbouring countries in crisis situations.

The consulting firm AFC supports the implementation of the project.