As part of the kingdom’s comprehensive reforms to bolster its social safety nets, the World Bank approved a $400 million program to boost Morocco’s social security system. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Morocco COVID-19 Social Protection Emergency Response Project will assist poor and vulnerable households and strengthen their resilience to future shocks.
Jesko Hentschel, Country Director, World Bank Maghreb: “Morocco has reacted decisively and swiftly to support the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic and is now accelerating reforms to strengthen its social protection system that we, at the World Bank, are proud to support. This project supports the country in its response to the pandemic as well in its plans to build a broad, effective and vital safety net system for vulnerable populations.”
The Covid-19 pandemic disproportionately affected Morocco’s poorest citizens and impacted the livelihoods of thousands of families. Around 712,000 formal sector jobs and at least 4 million informal sector jobs have been lost as a result of the pandemic. The program will fund social assistance for these groups as well as building the capacity of individuals who are most in need to overcome the crisis. This assistance will cover both emergency cash transfers supplied by Morocco’s Covid-19 Special Fund and those that will be routed through current social safety programs.
Aside from the financial impact, the crisis has hampered the capacity of many needy households and their school-aged children to continue their education in schools. The initiative will support the Tayssir program, a conditional cash transfer program for the education sector, in order to protect children’s learning and prevent the reversal of Morocco’s human development gains.
Carlo del Ninno, Lead Economist and co-task team leader said: “In crises like the one we are experiencing now, protecting children as well as their continued learning is a critical response. Similarly, income transfers are a lifeline for many households who are dependent on the informal sector.”
By helping to the introduction of the Family Allowance, as well as enhancing governance, digital infrastructure, and harmonization of social assistance programs, the project completely supports the Moroccan government’s efforts and objectives to develop its social protection system. It also includes a contingency finance line that allows for quick reallocation of project money in the event of an emergency in the near future.
Mehdi Barouni, Senior economist and co-task team leader said: “The design of this program is based on both a short- and long-term approach to help lessen the crisis impact on large segments of the population, all the while supporting the country in building a robust social protection system. Achieving this purpose requires a revamping of social programs based on a coordinated approach to align their objectives and targeting efficiency.”