Tag Archives: Morocco

FEMISE welcomes 6 new members !

Following the accession of the 6 new members, FEMISE is pleased to announce that the number of members of the network reaches 109 institutes: 58 of the North and 51 of the South.

This is a vote of confidence for FEMISE, which is developing to become the most impactful EU-Med network, with a growing number of economic and political researchers from both shores working together for inclusive and sustainable development and regional integration, and with a growing number of contacts with policy makers and international organizations.

 

Bios about new FEMISE members:

 

 

Institut Supérieur de Commerce et d’Administration des Enterprise (ISCAE), Morocco :  ISCAE (Higher Institute of Commerce and Business Administration) is a major school of business and management in Morocco. It has the status of public institute under the supervision of the Ministry of Industry and Trade. ISCAE has three campuses: ISCAE Casablanca, ISCAE Rabat, and ISCAE Guinea. This Institute cooperates closely with the national economic fabric in order to achieve a perfect symbiosis between the training it provides and the evolving needs of the private sector.

 

 

 

Fondation pour les etudes et recherches sur le développement Internationales (FERDI), France : FERDI is a think tank which was created in 2003. Its primary, research-based purpose, is to influence the international discussion on major development issues. Independent and not-for-profit, FERDI mobilizes high-level researchers in the field of international development and offers relevant and innovative thinking on the key issues in development economics. FERDI is particularly active on issues related to development effectiveness, sustainable development, and global governance.

 

 

 

Institut Tunisien de la Compétitivité et des Etudes Quantitatives (ITCEQ), Tunisia :  The Tunisian Institute of Competitiveness and Quantitative Studies (previously called Institute of Quantitative Economics) is a major Tunisian center for economic and social studies and competitiveness. It was created in 1973. Among its missions, it ensures the follow-up work, analysis of the Tunisian economy and its determinants at the product-level and at the macroeconomic, sectoral and regional levels and carries out surveys on the competitiveness of the private sector and the business climate.

 

Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies (ACPSS), Cairo, Egypt : ACPSS is one of the leading think tanks in Egypt and the region, consistently rated among the top 30 think tanks in the world in the global “Go-To think Tanks” annually produced at the University of Pennsylvania (USA). ACPSS serves as a connection space where knowledge-based policies/consultancy are produced and where different challenges faced by the region are also thoroughly studied.

 

 

 

 

DIAL- UMR LEDa – Paris Dauphine, France :  The LEDa, Dauphine’s Economics Laboratory, is a research unit created in 2009. It brings together all the economist professors-researchers from Paris Dauphine University as well as IRD and CNRS researchers. Its decision-oriented research focuses on several broad-spectrum society issues: health and aging, development and mobility, macroeconomic policies, environment and climate, and finance.

 

Yaşar University, Turquie :  Yaşar University is a university, in Izmir, Turkey. The university faculty teaches in English, with programs at both the undergraduate and postgraduate level. Yaşar University presents itself as a “boutique university”. Its goal is to be identified as a small but prestigious international Turkish university.[1] Yaşar University also adheres to a policy of internationalization: a process of connecting a globalized world with the local community through a variety of social responsibility projects.

Education Mismatch in North Africa: determinants and impact (report FEM44-13)

Using the SAHWA survey, this paper examines the determiannts and impact of the education-job mismatch in three North African countries . The results show that men and low educated workers are more likely to be in an unmatched situation. The presence of unem- ployed in the household has ambiguous effects (positive in Algeria and negative in Tunisia). Youth living in urban areas are less likely to be in the ”Unmatched situation” compared to young people living in rural areas. The analysis of the distribution of wages by types of job ”Matched” vs ”Unmatched” shows a difference between the countries, with a large positive gap in Morocco, a lower gap in Algeria and no difference between Matched and Unmatched jobs in Tunisia. The estimation of the determinants of wages shows that youth who are in the Unmatched situation earn on average less than youth who are in the ”Matched Situation” at least in the case of Algeria and Morocco. The results show also that men in an Unmatched Situation earn more compared to women in the same situation.

EuroMed Report: Identification of barriers to the integration of Moroccan SMEs in global value chains

The new EuroMed Report (September, 2019) is now available

Identification of barriers to the integration of Moroccan SMEs in global value chains [1]

The report is available for download here.

 

The purpose of this report is to identify the obstacles to the integration of Moroccan SMEs into global value chains. This new report is a continuation of the previous one because it again deals with issues that concern the private sector. However, this time it offers a more detailed analysis by targeting a specific problem, the integration of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in global value chains, in the case of one country in particular, Morocco.

This choice enabled us (i) to carry out an in-depth analysis on a given problem, (ii) to work in close collaboration with a Moroccan institution (ISCAE) and with the African Development Bank (AfDB) office in Rabat and (iii) to enhance our report with case studies of Moroccan SMEs and with a series of interviews and working meetings with representatives of business associations and heads of national organizations concerned with the issue. Before the finalization of the economic policy recommendations, this study was also the subject of a workshop organized in Rabat in the presence of decision makers, entrepreneurs and senior civil servants.

The report was coordinated by:

  • Patricia AUGIER (President of the Scientific Committee of FEMISE and of Institut de la Méditerranée),
  • Vincent CASTEL (Chief Country Economist – Morocco at the African Development Bank – AfDB) and
  • Tarik EL MALKI (Professor of Management and Corporate Social Responsibility at ISCAE).

It benefited from contributions by:

  • Mohammed Amine HANIN (Financial Auditor at EY),
  • Maryse LOUIS (General Manager of FEMISE),
  • Josef PERERA (Political Economist and FEMISE Researcher),
  • Constantin TSAKAS (General Secretary of FEMISE and General Manager of Institut de la Méditerranée) and
  • Jocelyn VENTURA (Political Economist at Institut de la Méditerranée / FEMISE).

The Euromed report is an annual publication of FEMISE which deals with topics of importance and interest for the Euro-Med region. The report brings a real added value in terms of knowledge on the topic covered. It provides an in-depth analysis proposed by specialized economists and with a multidisciplinary approach to the North and South of the Mediterranean. This brings a common vision on both sides of the Mediterranean and political recommendations that can contribute to the transition process of the South Med countries.

[1] This report has been prepared with the financial support of the African Development Bank and of the European Union through the FEMISE project on “Support to Economic Research, Studies and Dialogues of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership”. The content of the publication is the sole responsibility of the authors.

Med Change Makers e08 : Vera DANILINA, Green Public Procurement Vs. Environmental taxation: potential for EuroMed environmental cooperation

 

FEMISE launched in 2018 its series of interviews called « Med Change Makers ».

« Med Change Makers » are text and video-based interviews that allow dynamic researchers of the FEMISE network to illustrate how their research addresses a policy-relevant question and how it contributes to the policy-making process in the Euro-Mediterranean region.

 

Green Public Procurement Vs. Environmental taxation: potential for euro-mediterranean environmental cooperation

Interview with Vera Danilina, Aix-Marseille Université and FEMISE

Environmental issues are among the priorities of FEMISE research / action. In the Mediterranean, the consequences of climate change will always be stronger than elsewhere. The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the adaptation needs of bordering countries are more than ever necessary.

Author of a FEMISE MED BRIEF, Vera Danilina focuses on environmental taxation and green public procurement (GPP). She provides a comparative analysis of their effectiveness and reveals the opportunities for harmonized environmental policy between countries. Her results suggest specific implications for environmental collaboration between EU countries and those of the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa). Interview :

1. Your recent FEMISE Brief is focused on the comparison between GPP and environmental taxation. What are these two policy instruments and why do you focus on them ?

The first instrument is Green Public Procurement and is related to the process whereby public authorities seek to procure goods and services with reduced environmental impact. Accordingly, it corresponds to their initiative to consume eco-friendly products. This policy instrument is relatively new: within the EU the importance of GPP was stressed in 2003 when the member states were urged to adopt national plans for greening the public purchasing policy. Despite the relatively slow development of GPP, 55% of the contracts signed by European public authorities in 2009/10 included at least one EU core GPP criterion.

The second instrument, which is the environmental tax, targets directly the negative impact of production. Nowadays, in the EU-28 such taxes account from 30-50% (UK, Belgium, Italy, Denmark) to 60-80% (Germany, France, Norway) and even to 80-100% (Spain, Liechtenstein) of all key environmental policy instruments in use. Environmental taxation accounts for 2.4% of the EU-28’s GDP varying from 0.77% in Liechtenstein to 4.14% in Denmark.

Why focus on these two policy instruments? First of all, because they belong to alternative approaches to regulation that feature mandatory vs. voluntary participation and direct vs. indirect influence. The second reason is that while environmental tax can be considered as one of the most or even the most widely used policy instruments, the expansion of GPP is much more modest. But at the same time, GPP has been constantly high on the policy agenda of different countries since 1970s that shows its expected potential in the environmental policy development. Thus, the main reason to choose taxes and GPP for our analysis is to investigate the pros and cons of a traditional and a relatively innovative policy instrument exploring their possible complementarity or/and substitutability.

2. Are economic instruments for environmental policies widespread in Mediterranean countries of the South shore and why (not) ? Are there South-Med success-stories ?

The South-Med countries are mostly focused on the environmental taxation as the more transparent and straightforward instrument: it represents from 64% (Israel) to 100% (Egypt, Tunisia) of key environmental policy instruments toolkits. Meanwhile, in the majority of countries they represent a relatively modest share of GDP. At the same time in Israel green taxes account for 3% of GDP and 2% – in Morocco which is in line with European practices.

Public purchasing accounts for around 18% of GDP within the MENA region indicating a significant potential to influence markets and industries. Green procurement is not widely developed though. However, we would mention such countries as Israel, Egypt, Morocco and United Arab Emirates as leaders in GPP movement. According to the Ecolabel Index, there are up to 20 eco-labels in each of these countries including such nationally developed green standards as “Green Star” label for the responsible tourism in Egypt or a multi-industrial Israeli Green Label. These countries have also launched a range of governmental programmes supporting eco-innovations.

In general, environmental regulation is not well-developed in the South-Med countries. Among the reasons we would mention a wide range of social and economic problems that seem to be more urgent. At the same time we observe the development of environmental policies that indicates the growing understanding of their importance.

3. How can environmental policies and instruments in the South Med co-exist with the social and economic difficulties these countries are facing ?

It is well-known that the South Med region experiences a wide range of social and economic difficulties that might seem to be much more important than ecological threats. At the same time, the costs of environmental degradation for this region ranges from 2-3 % of GDP in Tunisia, Jordan, and Syria, to 5-7 % of GDP in Egypt and Iran. These figures are impressive. They assure that without developing green policy, the South Med countries risk to deepen not only the ecological problems but also the social and economic difficulties.

Moreover, focusing on economic development without corresponding environmental restrictions could potentially aggravate environmental degradation worsening the quality of life of the population. As an example, we would particularly stress health problem that can drastically reduce GDP. The link between environment, health, and GDP is potentially strong in the absence of environmental regulation and in the presence of “basic” threats such as car emissions, for example, that most directly affect the population.

4. How important is the coordination of environmental policies across South Mediterranean countries and why ? What direct and indirect benefits ?

Our research urges for the policy harmonisation across trading countries. We see this strategy as a first-best or a “win-win” option that allows the actors to coordinate their environmental efforts without implicating any disproportional burden to any of them.

Otherwise, the countries who focus more on the environmental regulation could be demotivated by the return effect of international trade. Thus, the country who opts for more severe environmental taxation wins from trade integration with the country who introduces GPP or lower taxation. In the literature this phenomena corresponds to a “pollution haven effect” by which trade integration makes polluting industries move from countries with more severe to countries with less severe environmental regulation, while not necessarily leading to the reduction of global environmental degradation. If all countries opt for the GPP policy, the more environmentally virtuous country whose government spends more on green goods faces purchasing power decline while the less environmentally virtuous country whose government is less generous in environmental spendings gains. In our research we call this result a “paradox of virtue”.

Last but not the least is the argument of trade and environment complementarity. When environmental policies are identical both in their type and stringency, trade integration leaves the environmental degradation level unchanged but incurs an increase in purchasing power across trading countries.

Consequently, on the side of direct benefits of policy harmonisation we would mention environmental degradation decline and the equality of the policy burden. Talking about the indirect effect, we definitely stress the positive effects of the regulation to the business traditions as well as consumer preferences. Even more, harmonised policy implies the harmonisation of eco-standards across countries that simplifies the cross-country cooperation, joint ventures development, and public control.

5. How can collaborating with the EU, within the framework of EuroMed cooperation, provide answers to environmental concerns ?

The EU is known for its well-developed system of environmental regulation that can be seen as one of the examples to spread to the South-Med countries. Both the public and the private institutions of the EU contribute to the system of eco-labelling and eco-certification, influencing the choice made by consumers and enterprises. Thus, Germany and Austria are the pioneers of GPP programmes. Since 2008 the European Commission has developed more than 20 common GPP criteria covering a wide range of sectors.

The EU has also proposed criteria of two different types, core and comprehensive. Core criteria address the key ecological impacts and are easy to get verified while comprehensive criteria are stricter and more complex requiring additional verification efforts. The variety of criteria guarantees the flexibility of the GPP strategy that can be tailored to the needs of a particular industry and country.

6. Are there other frameworks of cooperation (regional, bilateral) that can benefit the South ?

We particularly stress coordinated GPP as a form of cross-country environmental support. Our research shows that GPP can be related to the environmental support across countries when one can be a donor, and another one – a recipient. A country that has higher financial and institutional capacity to develop GPP can increase its green public spending allowing a country that has lower financial and institutional capacity to develop GPP to benefit from the green demand of the partner country. Donors are in the position to set the standards and quality control that allows to diminish or even avoid greenwashing and, at the same time, propagate the corresponding ecological standards to the recipient. By getting accepted, the environmental criteria system could uniform the rules for companies in all participating countries facilitating their access to the markets and diminish the environmental degradation. This approach could be considered for the collaboration of EU and MENA countries in order to strengthen the environmental policies in the latter and establish a first step towards the harmonisation of green policy approaches.

7. What is your top-recommendation for South Med officials ?

First of all, we recommend the wide implementation of GPP as an efficient approach to environmental policy design. Despite being a voluntary tool, it can motivate firms to opt for green technologies even when the only incentive is originated from the government. The effect can be amplified by taking into account the consumers eco-biased demand that, in its turn, can be boosted by the corresponding public policy. At the same time, GPP is not risk-free: the absence of public monitoring can diminish the positive effect of the policy approach allowing firms to greenwash, or cheat on the environmental quality of their products. Accordingly, a corresponding monitoring policy is required.

Second main recommendation is to opt for the long-term environmental policy harmonisation even across countries with different level of economic and institutional capacity to introduce symmetric policy instruments.

The coordination of environmental policies is of particular importance for the South Mediterranean countries in view of meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (the UN, 2015), as well as for two following reasons. First, a relatively low share of intra-regional trade with the EU which is expected to increase due to the current policy agenda of the Euro-Mediterranean trade partnership. Thus, further trade liberalisation will increase the opportunities for cross-region cooperation and an environmental policies harmonisation could be key to avoid the above mentioned “pollution haven effect”. Second, the decline in economic growth in the MENA region that could potentially be partially restored with the contribution of a deeper trade integration. At the same time the environmental degradation increase that might correspond to economic growth can be mitigated by the environmental policies coordination.

Interview by Constantin Tsakas

This activity received financial support from the European Union through the FEMISE project on “Support to Economic Research, studies and dialogues of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership”. Any views expressed are the sole responsibility of the speakers.

Mediterranean Youth Climate Network, FEMISE and IM conclude a partnership for the Environment and Youth in the Mediterranean

Mediterranean Youth Climate Network (MYCN), FEMISE and Institut de la Méditerranée conclude a strategic partnership in favour of the Environment and Youth in the Mediterranean

Press release – March 22 2019

Mediterranean Youth Climate Network (MYCN), FEMISE and Institut de la Méditerranée conclude a strategic partnership in favour of the Environment and Youth in the Mediterranean

MYCN, Institut de la Méditerranée and FEMISE announce their collaboration in the framework of a strategic partnership. The three institutions are committed actors in their efforts to contribute to inclusive and sustainable development models, to promote environmental and youth-inclusion values at the Mediterranean and international levels. They are aware of the need to pool means in order to act for strengthening the impact and outreach of messages, as well as to enrich knowledge.

The works of the FEMISE think-tank and of Institut de la Méditerranée show that new models are needed in the Mediterranean to bring about economic, social and environmental change and to show the whole society the potential of young Mediterranean people as solution-makers. For its part, MYCN is a Mediterranean Youth Network for Climate, a place conceived for the sharing of ideas and the implementation of concrete actions. It is also a place for the capitalization of the know-how of young people around the Mediterranean, placing them at the forefront of climate action, which is a major priority for the region.

Therefore, this partnership aims to create a multidisciplinary and dynamic virtuous circle in the Mediterranean, allowing for impactful proposals and actions to emerge. It will focus on themes ranging from the fight against Climate Change, Water-related issues and the promotion of Sustainable Development, to Responsible Entrepreneurship dynamics carried by the youth and the role of young people in Research and Innovation. Amongst other things, the partners will deploy their cooperation efforts to:

  • elaborate and develop cooperation projects for young people in the euro-mediterranean region,
  • create, animate and promote a set-up to allow for a Mediterranean ecosystem of young people with environmental impact to emerge,
  • organize joint events and publications and carry out awareness-raising in the countries around the Mediterranean.

For MYCN, FEMISE and Institut de la Méditerranée, it’s not just about talking regarding the youth, but about working with them and including them for inclusive and sustainable solutions in the Mediterranean!

For more information, please contact :

MYCN : Hajar Khamlichi, President, Mediterranean Youth Climate Network, hajarkhamlichi32@gmail.com www.facebook.com/MYCNetwork/      

IM / FEMISE :
Dr. Constantin Tsakas, General Manager of Institut de la Méditerranée, General Secretary of FEMISE c.tsakas@femise.org ++ 33 (0)4 91 31 51 95
www.femise.org

Mediterranean: “Facing an increasing water scarcity is one of the greatest challenges” (repost)

World Water Day is celebrated on March 22nd and this year its theme is “Leave no one behind”. The event is an opportunity for FEMISE and its partners to take stock of the situation in the Mediterranean, where the water problem has become a crucial issue.

Water is a vital resource, yet it is lacking. World Water Day is an opportunity to take stock of the situation and the objectives to be achieved in order to reduce inequalities in terms of access to water. This year, the theme of this World Day is “Leave no one behind”.

“This is an adaptation of the main commitment of the 2030 Sustainable Development Programme: everyone must be able to benefit from the progress made in sustainable development,” states the UN announcement.

At the same time, the organization published an alarming report a few days earlier. The main conclusion is that more than two billion people in the world, representing three out of ten, do not have access to a drinking water distribution infrastructure. In addition, six out of ten are deprived of sanitation facilities.

The Mediterranean hosts 60% of the “water-poor” population

In the Mediterranean countries, the situation is far from idyllic. On the occasion of this World Day, researchers from the FEMISE network and its partners lean on the issue.

“The Mediterranean represents only 7% of the world population and yet it is home to more than 60% of the so-called water-poor population”, a striking information relayed by Céline Dubreuil, Programme Manager at Plan Bleu, one of the Regional Activity Centres of the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP) of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Some 28 million Mediterranean people still do not have access to sanitation, the researcher adds, and 18 million do not have access to drinking water.

“Climate change will have specific consequences,” warns Stephane Pouffary from association Energies 2050. “Urban and demographic constraints will be exacerbated.”

As for Julie Harb, researcher at Université de Montréal and FEMISE, she points out that Mediterranean countries such as Lebanon need to respond to two issues: lack of efficiency and lack of funding.

A critical level regarding water availability

Thus, FEMISE and its partners are also working to provide solutions to the issue. According to Karine Moukaddem, researcher at SciencesPo, Eco-Union and FEMISE, “we must find sustainable, less costly and more effective solutions. This is what the Union for the Mediterranean is trying to do, for example, with its platform for cooperation on water resources”.

For his part, Stéphane Pouffary underlines the importance of an inclusive multi-actor approach, which Energies 2050 supports, to build bridges between different actors in order to duplicate projects and bring out concrete arguments.

As Constantin Tsakas, General Secretary of the FEMISE network, points out, “the water issue is becoming increasingly important” in the region, “the balance between water demand and availability has reached a particularly critical level!

Researchers from the FEMISE network and its partners ensure that new irrigation approaches are to be explored, better waste management and increased awareness efforts are needed. Thus, “solutions must also include a culture of innovation that would create a virtuous circle for more efficient management of water resources, both from the supply and demand side,” concludes Julie Harb.

 

by the Ecomnews Med editorial team in collaboration with FEMISE

FEMISE MED BRIEF no17 : “Closing the gender gap: policy-making that promotes inclusive Mediterranean societies”

Karine Moukaddem

The FEMISE Policy Brief series MED BRIEF aspires to provide Forward Thinking for the EuroMediterranean region. The briefs contain succinct, policy-oriented analysis of relevant EuroMed issues, presenting the views of FEMISE researchers and collaborators to policy-makers.

The latest FEMISE MED Brief is on ” Closing the gender gap: policy-making that promotes inclusive Mediterranean societies” and is available for download here.

It is also available in Arabic here.

 

Summary : This MED Brief presents some preliminary findings of a recently launched assessment of existing policy measures regarding women empowerment issues in the South Mediterranean region. In order to explain the persistence of numerous gender gaps, I examine the reasons behind the inefficiency of national policies regarding gender equality, by comparing the wanted effects of implemented legal measures with the latest state of play in terms of gender issues in the different countries of the region.
Combatting unconscious biases and policy inefficiency goes through increasing the outreach of female success stories, mentoring, promoting collaboration between stakeholders and embedding women empowerment in public-private partnerships.

The list of FEMISE MED BRIEFS is available here.

The policy brief has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union within the context of the FEMISE program. The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of the authors and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.

Morocco and Tunisia in Global Value Chains: focus on business services as innovation drivers

In this report we will argue that for a better understanding of how business services can contribute to competitiveness and growth in Morocco and Tunisia decomposing trade flows in terms of value added can be a useful first step. We start from the OECD-WTO Trade in Value Added database (OECD, 2016) to decompose exports in value added in business services from Morocco and Tunisia to the EU28 and to the rest of the world. This decomposition is used to compute several indicators of participation in the GVCs. Two business services industries are examined: computer and related activities and R&D and other business activities.

Combining an adequate trade liberalisation and investment policy reforms and the promotion of business linkages between foreign and domestic firms could help local companies move up to GVCs thanks of the transfer of knowledge, skills and technology.

Med Change Makers e06 : Alexandra FLAYOLS, Education & Integration of the Marrakech youth

 

FEMISE recently launched its series of interviews called « Med Change Makers ».

« Med Change Makers » are text and video-based interviews that allow dynamic researchers of the FEMISE network to illustrate how their research addresses a policy-relevant question and how it contributes to the policy-making process in the Euro-Mediterranean region.

 

The key role of education in the professional integration of young people in the Marrakech region 

Interview with Alexandra Flayols, Université de Toulon, FEMISE

FEMISE recently published the Policy Brief « The key role of education in the professional integration of young people in the Marrakech region »

Author of the MED BRIEF, Dr. Alexandra Flayols highlights the important role of secondary education in gaining access to paid employment. However, many young people drop out of school early. The analysis of reasons for stopping studies is essential so that public authorities can put in place effective measures. Interview :

1. In this policy brief, early-stage obstacles to the professional integration of young people are explored, notably regarding access to education. However, aren’t there other key factors hindering this insertion? So why is it more optimal to invest in education?

Education is obviously not the only factor influencing the professional integration of young Moroccans. Several studies have highlighted the existence of other factors that can constrain the professional integration of young people. These factors may include previous work experience, the young person’s financial situation, mobility, the socio-professional category of the parents, active labor market policies, etc.

Regarding the factors that can more specifically be attached to the Moroccan case, the place of residence may for example hinder the professional integration of the youth. The region of Marrakech-Tensift-Al Haouz (MTH), which is the subject of this study, is mainly rural (198 rural communes against 18 urban). Although the OCEMO survey (2008) used in this work does not allow to distinguish the place of residence due to lack of data, our results show a differentiated impact of the level of education in urban and rural areas. In addition, the lack of job creation in the private sector, despite the lower dynamic demand for workers in the public sector, which until the 1990s was the largest employer of skilled workers, generates additional insertion obstacles.

We have chosen to focus on education because besides the fact that it is a determining factor of professional integration, it is a central issue in Morocco where education is experiencing considerable difficulties. Moreover, the fact that having a degree does not constitute a protection against unemployment in Morocco, contrary to the case of developed countries, pushes us to pay particular attention to this problem. Investment in education has become a standard in developed countries, however, while it is important for economies to move up the international value chain, it is not a sufficient condition in the access to employment. The match between trainings, formations and the job market is thus particularly important. The quality of education is also paramount and is highly criticized in Morocco.

2. What are the main reasons you have identified to explain why young people quit their studies in Morocco?

The first reason that pushes young Moroccans to abandon their studies is financial (23%). It is followed by lassitude (21%) and poor school results (15%).

The reasons for dropping out of school are indicative of the difficulties encountered in the education system and may also allow public authorities to target their interventions. Thus, by grouping the different reasons for dropping out according to whether they are voluntary or involuntary, we have seen that 60% of young people are quitting schooling; this rate even reaches 67% in rural areas. We observed other disparities by place of residence, but also by gender. Young girls in rural areas are thus more likely to be refused by their parents the right to peruse their studies (12% versus 6% in urban areas). The distance from school is also an important reason for stopping studies since it concerns 19% of young people in rural areas compared with just 4% in urban areas.

3. You mentioned that reaching the secondary education level is an important pre-requisite for young people, both to improve their probability of continuing their studies and their chances of being better inserted professionally. So what do you think is the best way to make secondary education more attractive to young people?

One of the first ways that could be implemented concerns the quality of education which, as we saw in the previous question, could be a means of encouraging young people to continue their studies. In recent years, private schools have experienced a significant growth in Morocco yet, their quality remains questionable and their high tuition fees reinforce the inequalities in access to education between students of wealthy families and those from a more modest social background.

The quality of education concerns its content as well as the supervision and creation of new schools. The language of learning, for example, causes significant difficulties for some young Moroccans. French, which was considered a foreign language, is now used as the language of instruction in higher education for science and economics. Thus, the orientation of young people who do not have the expected level in French is then constrained.

It is also essential to pay particular attention to the opportunities of the sectors proposed, whether for general education or vocational training. This could be an additional motivation for young people to continue in these streams. Finally, the establishment of bridges in the education system could also reduce the number of drop-outs as young people may be able to reorient themselves more easily.

4. As you pointed out, some schooling drop outs are involuntary. What recommendations would you give the public authorities to limit these cases or at least to facilitate the transition of these young people to the workplace?

Among the involuntary reasons for stopping studies, the financial reason is the most important. These results indicate that there is considerable room for maneuver to improve the retention rate of youth in the MTH region. Although the reforms of the late 1990s have improved access to education, it is still limited in rural areas, especially for young women. It is not necessarily about increasing spending on the education sector, but about better targeted measures such as the Tayssir program. The latter aims to reduce absenteeism by granting scholarships to hard-working students from the poorest households. The pilot phase in some rural communes shows positive results, particularly in the highest levels of education. Our results have shown that a woman with a level of education at least equal to secondary school is 1.7 times more likely to have access to a paid job yet, women’s access to education is particularly constrained in rural areas since they are 1.4 times less likely to have access to secondary education than women in urban areas. Measures targeting this subpopulation would therefore be beneficial.

In addition, the hypothesis of a lack of supervision or teachers or inappropriate content of lessons could explain the lassitude felt by young people as well as their academic failure. The quality of teacher training should therefore also be at the heart of the Moroccan government’s concerns. The congestion rate of sophomore class rooms is also high; therefore, less overcrowded classes would, with no doubt, favor better learning conditions.

Lastly, to facilitate the transition to the workplace, partnerships with companies could be envisaged, particularly with regard to vocational trainings. This would make it possible to better target the needs of the labor market like the SIVP in Tunisia. These partnerships could be accompanied by measures to encourage the hiring of these young people whom the company would have contributed to the training.

5. Are there not different trends in the length of studies and different mechanisms behind the professional integration of young women and men? Would that imply separate recommendations by gender?

Although access to education has improved for women, there are still disparities. We do not have precise data on the duration of studies by gender. However, estimates by Barro and Lee (2010) find a gap of 1.67 years in average length of schooling. In addition, parents’ refusal to continue studying is an important reason for young women’s drop outs, especially in rural areas. The pursuit of education for young women therefore seems more constrained than that of men.

Moreover, dropping out could also correspond to the desire to create a family which is a motive mentioned only by young Moroccan women and never mentioned by men. This choice necessarily has an impact on the professional integration of women either because of a too low level of education if they dropped out of school too early or because of the hard reconciliation between their family responsibilities and their professional life.

Mechanisms targeting professional integration should be differentiated by gender. For example, studies show differences both in the implementation of employability strategies and in the exclusion of certain professional spheres. If the authorities wish to improve young women’s access to the labor market, particular attention should be paid to them.

 

[1] Stage d’Initiation à la Vie Professionnelle.

The MED BRIEF is available for download by clicking here.

Interview by Constantin Tsakas

This activity received financial support from the European Union through the FEMISE project on “Support to Economic Research, studies and dialogues of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership”. Any views expressed are the sole responsibility of the speakers.

Med Change Makers e05 : Katarzyna SIDLO, Women Empowerment and Collaborative Economy

 

FEMISE recently launched its series of interviews called « Med Change Makers ».

« Med Change Makers » are text and video-based interviews that allow dynamic researchers of the FEMISE network to illustrate how their research addresses a policy-relevant question and how it contributes to the policy-making process in the Euro-Mediterranean region.

 

Boosting female labour market participation rates in the MENA region : Can collaborative economy be of help? ”

Interview with Katarzyna Sidlo, Political Analyst at CASE, researcher at FEMISE

FEMISE recently published its Policy Brief “Boosting female labour market participation rates in the MENA region : Can collaborative economy be of help?”.

Autthor of the MED BRIEF, Dr. Katarzyna Sidlo is a FEMISE researcher who actively participates in the activities of the network. Her work assesses the potential of the collaborative economy to increase women’s labor force participation in the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa). More specifically, it examines ways in which the collaborative economy can enable women who are interested to join the labor market.

  1. How do you define collaborative economy? Can you give us examples from different sectors of such initiatives?

The collaborative (or sharing) economy refers to business models that create an open marketplace for access to goods and services thanks to the use of modern technology. It covers a variety of sectors, is rapidly emerging throughout the world and provides new opportunities for citizens who are able to get what they need from each other instead of going to large organizations (at least that is the theory). Some of the best-known examples of collaborative economy businesses are car-hailing applications such as Uber or Careem, peer-to-peer accommodation website Airbnb, crowdsourcing platforms Kickstarter or Indiegogo, or online marketplace Etsy. Many of them are already household names.

  1. Do you think that collaborative economy is a feasible solution in MENA countries given internet access obstacles and public perceptions?

Well, firstly according to the World Bank, 59% of individuals in the MENA region are internet users. Access to internet as such is therefore not a problem everywhere in the region, although of course in many places broadband is expensive, slow and generally unreliable and in many other, especially urban areas, simply not yet readily available. More importantly, however, I would look at the problem stated in the question in a different way: the potential to make use of what collaborative economy has to offer can be one more argument in favour of extending efforts to provide access to internet to as many people as possible. If internet is not available in a village in the south of Egypt, chances are that neither are many job offers. By providing inhabitants of such a village with access to internet, you give them an opportunity to enter the labour market as well. For instance, they could study for free on one of the many Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) platforms available – increasingly also in Arabic – and gain skills that will allow them to find employment. Or they could give Arabic classes online (one platform, NaTakallam, offers such classes taught by refugees). All without having to emigrate and leave their villages or, indeed, houses.

I strongly believe that even if just a small percentage of people in a given society use this chance, it will be worth it. So while the sharing economy will by no means solve all or even most of the problems related to the low female (and male) labour force participation – it would not even if virtually every single person in the region had access to a fast, affordable, and reliable internet – it has a huge potential to contribute to the alleviation of this problem.

  1. What are the main obstacles for female labour force participation in the MENA region and how does collaborative economy bring innovative solutions to each?

Women in the MENA region wishing to join the labour market face numerous obstacles, from practical ones (lack of jobs, difficult commutes) to those of socio-cultural nature (restrictions on outside-of-the-house activities, caring responsibilities) nature. Sharing economy can help to overcome a number of those. Most importantly, it allows women to perform work – and indeed create their own businesses – from the comfort of their own homes. Thanks to this even those women, who due to various family- or culture-related reasons would not undertake paid work outside of the house, can earn their own income (and economic empowerment is a great step towards social and political empowerment). Another good example are ride-hailing services, providing a safer, more reliable and cheaper (compared to traditional taxis) alternative to faulty or point-blank non-existent public transport, oftentimes believed to be not appropriate for use by non-accompanied women. An extreme case in point was Saudi Arabia, where prior to lifting the ban on women driving 80% of Uber’s and 70% of Careem’s clients were female.

  1. One of the article’s recommendations was to improve the legal frameworks in each MENA country to enable the optimal functioning of sharing-economy businesses. What concrete measures can be successfully implemented in the region as a whole and in case-specific contexts?

One of the main advantages of the sharing economy is its flexibility. However, this flexibility can also oftentimes mean lack of clarity for instance in terms of liability, taxation, consumer protection, licensing or insurance. Think about ride hailing services such as Uber, Careem or Lyft: in case of an accident, whose insurance should cover the damages? As drivers are using their private vehicles they may not possess commercial, but rather personal insurance, which can lead to insurers denying the claim. Should the company owning the platform through which drivers are matched with clients be liable at all? Are the drivers even their employees or clients making use of the platforms features? The answer to that question determines answers to many subsequent ones related to social protection (maternity leaves, pensions, health insurance etc.) of the collaborative service providers. Another issue is of course taxation.

Unfortunately, there are no easy answers. The European Union is for instance pondering issuing EU level guidelines but currently whether and to what extent the sharing economy should be regulated is still a matter of a lively debate. The big question is of course how to regulate so that you don’t overregulate and therefore kill the flexibility that makes participating in sharing economy so convenient.

In the MENA region, countries should think about solutions that work best under their specific circumstances. For instance, a voluntary health insurance scheme could be introduced to help those earning their income within the sharing economy to gain social protection (an interesting study on this topic for Tunisia by Khaled Makhloufi, Mohammad Abu-Zaineh, and Bruno Ventelou has been published recently by FEMISE). In Jordan, where the government is working on a tax reform, the question of imposing corporate law tax on collaborative platforms could be investigated.

  1. What is the role you see for the civil society and NGOs in the proliferation of collaborative economy? Would cooperation and synergies between different actors/ stakeholders possible in your opinion?

Collaborative economy has it for-profit and non-profit dimension. Speaking of increasing female labour market participation in the MENA region and the role of CSOs and NGOs, we should probably focus on the latter. The spectrum of possibilities is really broad. Both types of organizations could for instance facilitate women organizing their own car pooling schemes, helping each other to safely and conveniently get to and from work on daily basis. They could set up collaborative working spaces, where female entrepreneurs could set up and run their businesses in a friendly, safe and inspiring environment. They could create online courses in local dialects of Arabic, providing free training to women thinking about starting their own business or work on translations into Arabic of courses which are already available on various MOOC platforms and which provide knowledge and skills that make finding a job easier. All that – and much more – can of course be done in collaboration between different stakeholders. After all that is what collaborative economy is all about.

The MED BRIEF is available for download by clicking here.

Interview by Constantin Tsakas

This activity received financial support from the European Union through the FEMISE project on “Support to Economic Research, studies and dialogues of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership”. Any views expressed are the sole responsibility of the speakers.