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Morocco Week in Review 
May 7, 2022

Virtual Magazine of Morocco on the Web

Social Dialogue: Morocco to Increase Minimum Agricultural Wage Starting Sept. 2022

May 1, 2022 Rabat

Morocco's guaranteed minimum agricultural wage (SMAG) will increase by 10% from September 2022, with a view to bringing it into line with the guaranteed minimum inter-professional wage (SMIG) in the industry, trade and liberal professions sectors by 2028, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Maritime Fishing, Rural Development and Water and Forests.

Acting within the framework of the social agreement concluded between the government, the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises (CGEM) and the most representative trade union centers, this measure will be applied gradually, the ministry said in a statement. "The Moroccan Confederation of Agriculture and Rural Development (COMADER) is committed under this agreement to implement the SMAG increase by respecting the agreed timetable, to join the conclusion of collective agreements of work, continue efforts to declare employees to the National Social Security Fund (CNSS) and respect the freedoms and rights of trade unions," said the same source.

The ministry recalled that the SMAG increase and its alignment with the minimum wage in other sectors is among the main objectives of the 2020-2030 Génération Green strategy launched by His Majesty King Mohammed VI, which prioritizes the human element by creating an agricultural middle class through the improvement of farmers' income and their social development. In this regard, the Ministry works together with other ministerial departments concerned in the framework of programs, dialogues and meetings that aim to improve the working conditions of this category, insofar as committees have been formed to study the axes and have led to the drafting of the minutes of the social agreement, signed at the meeting of the High Commission for Social Dialogue chaired on Saturday by Head of Government Aziz Akhannouch.

The Ministry attaches great importance to social dialogue as a means to consolidate participatory democracy and an essential mechanism to develop cooperation with its social partners and achieve lasting social peace through the resolution of labor issues, ensuring adequate working conditions for these partners and strengthening trade union freedom. This importance is reflected in the full commitment of the Ministry to implement the circulars issued by the Head of Government on the sectoral social dialogue and opt for the open door to trade unions that represent the sector, concludes the statement.

Morocco: 58,000 Jobs Lost in Q1-2022 - HCP

May 5, 2022 Casablanca - The Moroccan economy has lost 58,000 jobs at the national level between the first quarter of 2021 and the same period in 2022, according to the High Planning Commission (HCP). The loss results from the combination of the creation of 90,000 jobs in urban areas and the loss of 148,000 jobs in rural areas, the HCP said in its note on the labor market situation in Q1-2022.

By type of employment, 98,000 unpaid jobs were lost, including 80,000 in rural areas and 18,000 in urban areas, said the same source, adding that wage employment has increased by 40,000 positions, following the creation of 108,000 jobs in urban areas and the loss of 68,000 jobs in rural areas.
Regarding the activity rate, it has declined, at the national level, by one point to 44.5% between Q1-2021 and Q1-2022. This decline is the result of a 1% decrease in the labor force and a 1.4% increase in the population of working age (15 years and older). The decline in the activity rate is more marked in rural areas (-1.8 points to 49.3%) than in urban areas (-0.7 points to 41.9%). During the same period, the employment rate fell to 39.1% nationwide. This rate fell by 0.2 percentage points in urban areas (from 35.3% to 35.1%), and by 1.6 percentage points in rural areas (from 48.4% to 46.8%).

Gov't Signs Social Agreement, National Charter for Social Dialogue with CGEM, Trade Unions

May 1, 2022 Rabat

The government, the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises (CGEM) and the most representative trade unions on Saturday signed the minutes of a social agreement and a national charter of social dialogue. This agreement, which was signed during the meeting of the High Commission for Social Dialogue chaired by Head of Government Aziz Akhannouch, includes a set of mutual commitments, including raising the minimum wage in the industry, trade and services sectors by 10% over two years. It stipulates raising the minimum wage in the public sector to 3,500 dirhams net, in addition to abolishing scale 7 for civil servants belonging to the categories of administrative assistants and technical assistants. It further provides for increasing the promotion quota in the grade from 33% to 36%, and increasing the value of family compensation for the fourth, fifth and sixth children in the public and private sectors.

The agreement covering the period 2022 and 2024 was signed by Akhannouch, CGEM President Chakib Laalj, Moroccan Labor Union (UMT) Secretary General Miloudi Moukharik, and General Union of Moroccan Workers (UGTM) Secretary General Naama Mayara. It was also signed by Democratic Confederation of Labour (CDT) Representatives Khalid Alami Houir and Bouchta Boukhalfa, and the President of the Moroccan Confederation of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohamed Ammouri, said a statement from the Department of the Head of Government. This agreement goes in line with the implementation by the Kingdom of the axes of the New Development Model whose effective kickoff was given by His Majesty King Mohammed VI, the statement added.

Morocco’s Ministry of Culture to Digitize 200 Public Libraries

The project aims to provide Moroccans with online access to libraries' contents.

Oumaima Latrech May 5, 2022 Rabat

Morocco’s Ministry of Youth, Culture, and Communication is set to digitize 200 public libraries across the country. The ministry announced in a facebook post that the book directorate has recently created digital spaces within the libraries under the ministry, with an aim to digitize their services. The project is part of the digitization process carried out by the various ministerial departments. The list of libraries can be found on the ministry's website.

In the wake of COVID-19, the ministry has adopted various approaches to support remote learning and allow Moroccans to access research content digitally.
Morocco has launched the e-Marefa digital library, a database platform that offers free access to e-books, scientific journals, book reviews, statistics, among others. The database was developed by Knowledge World for Digital Content in Jordan, in partnership with many universities in the Arab world. It features over 1900 academic and statistical journals in English and Arabic, and more than 25,000 theses, 14,000 e-books and book reviews, and 6,500 Arabic reviews for Islamic Economics and Finance.

The National Library of Morocco in Rabat (BNRM) has also taken a similar initiative in 2020, where it provided its subscribers with free access to all of its e-books.
Among similar cultural initiatives taken in 2020 to keep Moroccans entertained during the lockdown, the Moroccan National Foundation of Museums (FNM), offered free online museum visits through a 360° virtual immersion tour. Meanwhile, the Tenor Foundation for culture streamed free live music to entertain people staying home.

Morocco’s Food Security Under Pressure Amid Ukraine War

Amid rising food and energy prices, Morocco’s government will be forced to turn to a more sustainable strategy to protect vulnerable households.

Jihane Rahhou May 4, 2022 Rabat

Despite the Moroccan government's numerous measures to mitigate the effect of the Ukraine war on national food security, the crisis is projected to put severe pressure on the country’s resources. A recent report by the Moroccan think tank The Policy Center for the New South has reached the conclusion that Morocco's reliance on food imports makes it especially vulnerable to exterior shocks resulting from the Ukraine war. In its analysis, the think tank pointed to this year's record drought, the Ukraine war-induced disruptions to the global supply chain, and the lingering effect of the COVID-19 crisis’ economic fallout as the main reasons for Morocco’s growing food security challenges. 

In 2020, Morocco’s food imports stood at $ 6.5 billion while its exports stood at $ 4.2 billion. The country's grain production averages 70 million quintals, while its grain imports average 50 million quintals in a typical year. Drought years increase the country’s reliance on imports such as 2022 and 2019-2020. Drought can bolster grain imports to 87 million quintals a year, costing over MAD 2.9 billion ($290 million) and accounting for almost half of agricultural imports.

13 Moroccan Groups Among North Africa’s Top 20 Companies

Morocco’s telecom operator Maroc Telecom is the largest company in North Africa with a market valuation of $11.8.

Jihane Rahhou May 4, 2022 Rabat

13 Moroccan companies feature among North Africa’s top 20 biggest firms in terms of market capitalization, according to a report by African Business, a pan-African business-oriented business magazine.  Leading the charts is Maroc Telecom, Morocco’s leading telecommunication firm, with an $11.8 billion valuation.
Despite topping the list of North African companies, Maroc Telecom slipped from the list of the top 10 companies on the continental ranking. The Moroccan firm’s market capitalization fell from $13.5 billion to $11.8 billion between 2021 and 2022, according to a report by African Business. 

Maroc Telecom ranked 13th in Africa, down from 8th in 2021, the report noted. With a market capitalization of $10.3 billion, Attijariwafa Bank, Morocco’s largest bank, came in second place on the list of the top 20 largest companies in North Africa.  On the continental level, Attijariwafa Bank fell from the 15th to the 19th in 2022 even as its capital grew by $0.4 billion in the past year, reflecting strong growth in Africa’s business landscape. Morocco’s Banque Centrale Populaire ranked as North Africa’s third-largest company; the Moroccan banking group was meanwhile ranked 32nd in Africa, with market capitalization has fallen from $5.652 billion to $5.622 billion in the past year. 

LafargeHolcim Maroc construction group ranked fifth in the North African market and 39th in Africa. The group’s market capitalization stood at $4.623 billion, up from $4.167 billion in 2021. The final Moroccan bank to feature on the list of the top 20 largest companies in North Africa is Bank of Africa in 6th place in North Africa and 42nd across the entire continent. The banking group’s market capitalization in 2022 is valued at $4.238 billion, up from $3.563 billion a year before, the report indicates. Other Moroccan companies featured in the regional ranking include construction materials manufacturer Ciments du Maroc and energy company TAQA Morocco. The two firms are respectively ranked 7th and 8th in the North African market.

Food manufacturer Cosumar Maroc is ranked as the ninth-largest company in North Africa and 61st in the whole of Africa. Meanwhile, Mining company Managem, and Morocco’s national port operator, Marsa Maroc, ranked in the 11th and 12th ranks respectively. The final Moroccan companies to appear in the ranking in 13th, 15th, and 17th place are Wafa Assurance, Afriquia Gaz, and Total Maroc respectively.

Moroccan Women Are Still Left Behind in Job Market

Despite significant efforts to improve women’s situation in the job market, challenges related to wage gap and gender inequalities still persist in Morocco.

Oumaima Latrech May 2, 2022 Rabat

Low opportunities and a high demand for low-skilled labor continue to negatively affect women’s employment in Morocco, the Democratic Association of Moroccan Women (ADFM) said on Sunday. Citing recent figures from Morocco’s High Commission for Planning (HCP), ADFM noted that over 33% of higher education graduates face the same difficulties to integrate the labor market.  HCP’s latest report showed that 8 out of 10 women in the country remain outside the labor market, with 73.7% of them working as housewives. Meanwhile, the ADFM highlighted that the wage gap between women and men remains significant (30%), while only 64% of women workers are paid, against 91% of men. Women make 30% less than their male peers and record lower productivity overall but the wage gap is much more significant in the industrial sector, where women have 45% lower productivity than average. 

While Morocco has made a number of legal and political reforms to advance women’s rights, the ADFM said there is a  “decline in women’s access to administrative and economic decision-making positions.”  As Morocco seeks to achieve democracy, human rights, and the sustainable development goals (SDGs), the NGO insists that “equality between women and men is a major gateway and a prerequisite for sustainable development.”  In recent years, Morocco has strengthened its gender equality-related institutional framework by developing programs and adopting policies to boost gender equality and women’s rights.
Aziz Akhannouch’s government welcomed seven women ministers, making a third of the government’s representatives.

Women’s participation in the government testifies to Morocco’s efforts to promote female visibility in the public sphere and improve women’s lives. In April, Morocco’s Ministry of Tourism, Handicrafts and Social, and Solidarity Economy signed an agreement with  the Office for the Development of Cooperation (ODCO) and the We4She Association to promote female economic inclusion. But more progress is still needed to empower women while upholding their political, social, and economic rights by fighting against all forms of gender-based violence and discrimination to reach gender parity.

Morocco to Strengthen Women’s Leadership, Economic Inclusion

The partnership focuses on establishing action to reinforce the economic inclusion of women.

Oumaima Latrech April 6, 2022 Rabat

Morocco is aiming to create more jobs for women and close the gender pay gap, according to the Ministry of Tourism, Handicrafts and Social, and Solidarity Economy, which is strengthening efforts to promote female economic inclusion. Tourism minister Fatim-Zahra Ammor signed an agreement on Tuesday with Youssef Hosni, director at the Office for the Development of Cooperation (ODCO), and the president of the We4She Association Lamia Merzouki. The agreement adds to Morocco’s efforts to boost gender equality, strengthen women’s position in social and economic sectors, as well as empowering them through creating more jobs with incomes equal to their male counterparts, the ministry said in a statement on Tuesday. Ammor said that the partnership would reinforce the economic inclusion of women, especially in rural areas.

The institutions spoke about several actions that will be put in place through their partnership, including strengthening women’s know-how on entrepreneurship to developing their cooperatives and contributing to the national economy. The partnership is also set to provide women with the necessary financing funds to ensure the sustainability of their entrepreneurship projects. As part of empowering Moroccan women, the “Women in Leadership” program was launched on March 21 to give Moroccan and African women the opportunity to engage in dialogue and raise awareness about female leadership on the continent. The program is the result of a collaboration between Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane (AUI) and the Africa Business School (ABS) under the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P).

In March, Bank Al-Maghrib launched the “City-Tour” concept aimed at improving access to financial services, particularly for women, youth, and micro-entrepreneurs from urban and rural areas. The latest report from Morocco’s High Commission for Planning (HCP) highlighted a low rate of women’s participation in the country’s economic growth and sustainable development. According to HCP’s data, 8 out of 10 Moroccan women are not part of the labor market, and around  73.7% of them are housewives. Since October 2021, the indicators of progress among women are alarming and continue to drop, reported the commission in its latest “Moroccan Women in Figures” publication.

Morocco Announces Licenses to Permit Exporting Argan Oil

Morocco announced measures to regulate the export of one of Morocco’s best-known products.

Lamine Rahhali April 14, 2022 Rabat

Exporters wanting to export bottles exceeding five liters in size must submit their requests, starting from July 1, on Morocco’s platform PortNet to facilitate foreign trade, the Moroccan Ministry of Industry. The ministry announced this decision on April 5, and it will come into effect on July 1, 2022. Morocco aims to control the exported quantities and preserve the jobs of Moroccan workers in the sector, particularly those who fill argan oil bottles for a living, explained government spokesman Mustafa Baytas on April 7.

The difference between cosmetic and culinary argan oil is that cosmetic argan oil is made with unroasted kernels, whereas culinary argan oil is made with roasted kernels. Culinary argan oil can be used to dip bread and add a tasty flavor to most dishes. Cosmetic argan oil is used to treat different types of acne and a smoother complexion on the face. It can also be used to treat burns and light skin injuries. The Souss valley in south-western Morocco is the argan tree's native habitat. Argan forests cover more than 71% of the Souss valley, cementing Morocco's position as the leading international exporter of argan-based products.

UNESCO: Moroccan Girls Outperform Boys in Reading

Despite governmental efforts, gender biases continue to limit girls' enrollment in scientific fields.

Souad Anouar April 28, 2022 Rabat

UNESCO has reported that Moroccan girls outperform boys in reading by 10 points.  On Tuesday, UNESCO published its annual global education monitoring report, titled “Deepening the debate on those still left behind.” The report is based on analyzed data from 120 countries in primary and secondary education.  The data shows that girls outperform boys in reading in primary education and in science in secondary education, particularly in middle and high-income countries. For instance, girls aged below 15-year-old from Lithuania and Norway perform 15% better in reading compared to their male counterparts.  Commenting on the report, activist Malala Yousafzaico highlighted that “Girls are demonstrating how well they can do in school when they have access to education. But many, and particularly the most disadvantaged, are not getting the chance to learn at all. We shouldn’t be afraid of this potential. We should feed it and watch it grow.” The report also noted that boys tend to perform better in mathematics in their early years, but the gender gap fades away as they age. Still, girls are less likely to pursue scientific careers due to existing gender biases related to women’s presence in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields.

Mohammed V University Organizes Workshop To Raise Awareness About Gender Violence

According to recent figures, physical violence affects 12,9% of females in Morocco

Oumayma El Ahreche April 27, 2022 Fez

On Tuesday, the Law Clinic of the Faculty of Legal, Economic, and Social Sciences of the Rabat-based Mohammed V University organized a workshop with the Council of Europe to discuss domestic violence and violence against women in Rabat. The workshop is supported by the “Regional Consolidation of Human Rights, the Rule of Law and Democracy in the Southern Mediterranean” program and co-financed by the European Union and the Council of Europe. Attending the event were researchers, experts, and judicial officers to promote a direct and free right for the citizens to address and combat domestic abuse and violence against women.

According to organizers, another crucial goal of the workshop is to expand Mohammed V University’s academic programs and provide students with the appropriate tools to address the issue of gender violence. The meeting introduced a practical guide to assist women who are victims of violence with legal, psychological, and health services and collected judgments and briefs on violence against women issued by Morocco’s courts and the European Court of Human Rights. Participants highlighted the contribution of these judgments and briefs as well as the public prosecutor’s role in fighting against domestic violence and violence directed at women. The workshop also discussed the significance of both the National Legal Framework and the Council of Europe Convention on domestic violence and violence against women.

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