From The World Bank 

 World Bank Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, Hafez Ghanem, closed today a four-day official visit to Morocco. He highlighted the critical strategic partnership between the World Bank Group and Morocco and called for continued and enhanced cooperation. In an adverse regional and global contexts, Ghanem commended Morocco for its achievements and acknowledged Morocco’s efforts to spur economic development and job creation, and to advance reforms to promote inclusive growth.

“Morocco is pushing the reform agenda at economic, social and institutional levels and sets an example for the MENA region and beyond. The World Bank Group stands ready to accompany Morocco in this process in order to foster economic and social inclusion” said Ghanem.

During his visit, Ghanem agreed with national authorities to put a special focus on youth, a most pressing agenda for Morocco and the sub-region. Adopting the social inclusion lens, the Bank will steer its programs towards the most vulnerable groups, including women, smallholder farmers, and youth. Looking ahead, the Bank will refocus its engagement towards jobs, lagging regions and education, in addition to youth. This will require adopting a multi-sectoral approach to better integrate policies and programs.

Throughout discussions with national and local government representatives, as well as with civil society and the private sector, Ghanem reiterated the Bank’s readiness to help Morocco deepen its policies and programs that promote greater economic opportunities and social participation for the most vulnerable. During the meeting with Abdelilah Benkirane, Head of Government, as well as in separate meetings with the Minister of Economy and Finance, Mohamed Boussaid, and the Minister of General Affairs and Governance, Mohamed Louafa, Ghanem confirmed the Bank’s full support to national and local authorities and their efforts to achieve an inclusive approach and social justice.

“Morocco is proving its unique position in the region and leveraging its comparative advantage to attract investors and diversify its economy. It can grow its potential by developing its human capital and further strengthening its institutions” said Ghanem in a meeting with employers and young entrepreneurs.

The World Bank Vice President visited the Casablanca Automobile Vocational Training Center to see first-hand innovative approaches linking training and employment opportunities. Local development and the country’s regionalization agenda were also at the center of his meeting with Casablanca’s authorities. To illustrate development impacts of the National Initiative for Human Development, Morocco’s poverty alleviation strategy, Ghanem visited a number of social projects. In the Sidi Moumen Cultural Center, he exchanged with a group of youth about their challenges and aspirations, and was particularly attentive to their call for greater inclusiveness and opportunities; Ghanem stressed the importance of grassroots work to impact the most vulnerable populations and give youth hope to kindle their ambition and drive them to greater achievements.

Finally, Ghanem took the opportunity of his visit to Morocco to participate in an Informal Ministerial Consultation on Education co-organized by the Islamic Development Bank and the World Bank. With the Moroccan Minister of Education, Rachid Benmokhtar, as well as the Ministers of Education from Jordan and Tunisia, the meeting discussed the championing of the Education for Competitiveness initiative aimed at supporting a renewed reform agenda for education in the MENA region, one that promotes critical thinking, creativity and innovation to contribute to inclusive growth, social development and global competitiveness.