The Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE) of Morocco released a report on Tuesday, attributing the country’s economic downturn to a number of factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and rising inflation.
The report found that the COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated existing inequalities in Moroccan society, with the poorest and most vulnerable households being the hardest hit.
According to the report, an additional 3.2 million people have fallen into poverty or vulnerability two years after the start of the crisis. This is a significant increase, given that Morocco already had a poverty rate of over 20%, according to the National Human Development Observatory.
While inflation halved, food inflation remains high and continues to disproportionately affect the most modest households, according to the latest World Bank monitoring report on Morocco.
Notably, the CESE report spotlights the disproportionate impact on women, unveiling a harsh reality of exacerbated gender inequalities.
Building on global research trends, the CESE findings align with the finding of the World Bank report on the Moroccan economy in 2021 which indicated that women historically bear the brunt of economic crises, facing higher job losses and income reductions.
As Morocco strives for economic recovery, the CESE report has applauded the government’s signing of the national charter for social dialogue.
This “important milestone” emanated from a social agreement inked in 2022, between the government and key economic and social partners.
Another important action, according to the report, is the acceleration of the generalization of obligatory medical insurance as part of an overall reform of social protection, as well as the continued overhaul of the national healthcare system.
However, the report also urged urgent action, especially with regard to the long-term repercussions on Moroccan households, with a particular focus on the vulnerability of women.
The report underscores the need for a comprehensive revision of the family code. Issues such as guardianship of children, marriage of minors, property management during marriage, and the duration of divorce proceedings take center stage in the suggested reforms.
The report also includes a number of specific recommendations aimed at promoting gender equality and empowering women to participate fully in the economy.
These recommendations include engaging in reflections on how to value the domestic work of women at home in order to strengthen the economy, reduce the responsibilities weighing on women in terms of family responsibilities, and promote women’s entrepreneurship.