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Morocco determined to enhance human potential

MAP

Since its independence, Morocco has adopted a long process to enhance its human potential and has worked to establish a modern economy capable of guaranteeing the country's development, noted a report on Morocco's human development during the last 50 years and on prospects for 2025.

The report, drawn up under the instructions of King Mohammed VI, noted that this process which was adopted under different names - "human resources development," "social policies" and social development" -aimed at promoting and consolidating domestic capacities and improving living standards.

Concerning the enhancement of human potential, which is among the first development indicators, the results of the last 50 years are not optimal, pointed out the report, made by a committee under the chairmanship of the King's advisor, Abdelaziz Meziane Belfkih.

Even though important efforts have been made in terms of electrification, drinkable water supply, and opening up remote areas, these initiatives and services have not yet been generalized, said the report.

It noted that "it is only in the last ten years that key programmes have been launched to tackle these disparities with satisfying results, particularly in rural and suburban areas."

The document underlined that in the post independence, the State has exerted significant efforts in the field of education, recalling that until the late 70s, the national education system has fulfilled its mission in general.

Despite important deficits encountered at the beginning and despite the demographic growth, the State managed to expand Moroccans' access to education and provide the administration and the national economy with necessary executives and managers. In addition, the educational system has become a platform for social mobility, openness and access to modernity.

However, since the early 80s, the educational system has witnessed a long crisis despite a series of reforms, sometimes improvised and often incomplete. It has become a low profitable machine, generating degrees that are not in harmony with the changes and needs of the modern economy and society, deplored the report.

This system has resulted in performances that are deteriorating even more in areas that are far from urban agglomerations, added the report.

Underlining that important efforts have been made in managers' training and vocational training, the document noted that higher education has strongly contributed in the two decades following independence to providing the necessary managers for the structures of a modern State.

In the fields of health, social protection and fighting poverty, the report pointed out that Moroccans' health level has significantly improved since independence, underlining the end of diseases and epidemics that ravaged the country. Life expectancy has significantly increased and currently exceeds 70 years, though under that of developed countries.

The document deplored that some indicators of infant and maternal health are still alarming, hampering the level of the country's human development.

Morocco has not managed to definitely tackle the problems related to the “diseases of poor countries” while it has to face an increase of “diseases of rich countries” that are more difficult and more expensive to deal with.

Access to medical care remains incomplete and unequal; meanwhile, the state of care units and public hospitals stagnates or deteriorates despite the isolated attempts of some doctors or Moroccan researchers, said the report. It also pointed out that the lack of financial means represented an obstacle, stating that a new financial and management strategy in the public health sector is crucial to prevent a further deterioration.

On social protection, several reforms have been made to expand medical coverage of impoverished persons and diversify services. The report indicates that the level of social protection remains insufficient and creates serious problems of viability.

If breakthroughs have been made in the quality of human resources in terms of health administration, there is still a huge gap between projects of reform and their implementation, said the report.

Several problems directly linked to governance still exist, notably with regard to the lack of a strategic action framework and a global vision for the health system, the excessive centralism of health administration, the weak development of local services and the crisis of public hospitals.

According to the report, the level of human development in Morocco is still affected by the persistence of poverty. Because of demographic growth, it said, the absolute number of poor people has remained around 5 millions in average, including three quarters in rural areas.

After it recalled the national economy evolution since independence, the document noted that except some forms of public generosity and State assistance, such as support to basic alimentary products, the systematic fight of poverty is a recent concern in public policies.

It noted that these policies remain insufficient and do not rely on the principle of reinforcing the capacities of individuals so that they take themselves in charge in the long run.

After independence, said the report, Morocco has worked to establish a modern economy by putting the necessary bases such as the issuing of a national currency, the creation of regularization bodies and fiscal, monetary and budget policies tools, control of inflation, the development of a national financing system, the setting up of small and middle-sized enterprises and a network of private groups serving as a locomotive in certain economic branches.

The report also pointed out to significant strides such as the increase of populations' living standards in terms of revenues, purchase power, consumption and saving.

The document noted that the Moroccan economy growth has been stagnant since 1955 and that the rise of revenues per capita was weak.

The same source ascribes this weak performance to a series of factors related to the macro-economic environment, the agricultural and private sectors, difficult access to loans, the high interest rates, real estate complications, administrative obstacles and judicial uncertainty.

As to the national economy competitiveness, it has remained under aspirations especially because of the weakness of productivity and the feeble contribution of qualified manpower among the global manpower.

The report said the domestic market is scanty due to smuggling, the feeble domestic consumption and the development of an informal economy on which currently depends a large part of the urban population.

Evoking the measures adopted to speed up growth and development in Morocco, the document referred to a train of actions and legislative, financial, administrative, social and educational reforms.

This is the way to attract foreign investments, multiply the creation of enterprises and create activities with a higher added value, said the report.