Morocco undertook broad reforms in the wake of popular uprisings that affected many other North African countries in 2011. A new government, appointed in April 2017, was expected to pursue economic renewal and focus on job creation.
Economic growth was 4.5 per cent in 2015, but climate-driven variations in agricultural production have long made growth rates volatile. Agriculture contributes 14 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP). Of Morocco’s population of 34.3 million in 2015, close to 42 per cent live in rural areas, where farming and fishing provide 80 per cent of incomes.
Poverty is essentially a rural phenomenon in Morocco. About three quarters of poor people in the country live in rural areas. Under Morocco’s ambitious National Initiative for Human Development the poverty rate fell from 14 per cent in 2004 to 6.2 per cent in 2011.
Many rural people have access only to limited amounts of un-irrigated arable land, which has poor agricultural potential. Because farmers often lack formal title to land, it is difficult for them to obtain credit necessary to diversify their sources of income.
The country’s mountainous areas, steppes and arid south are home to most of the poorest Moroccans. The most vulnerable groups include smallholders, people engaged in artisanal fishing, landless people, rural wage earners, unemployed young people and women.
In Morocco, IFAD loans work to improve the incomes and living conditions of poor rural people.
Activities target smallholders and landless farmers, small-scale livestock producers, rural women and unemployed young people in the poorest areas of the country.
Our country strategic opportunities programme (COSOP) for Morocco focuses on poor regions where rain fed agriculture is the main source of income. It is aligned with the second pillar of the Plan Maroc Vert strategy adopted by the Moroccan government in 2008 to revitalize agriculture.
Key activities include:
- increasing the participation of rural communities in the development process, and raising the organizational and managerial capacities of rural people and their grassroots organizations;
- promoting access, especially by women and young people, to appropriate and sustainable financial services, particularly microfinance tailored to their needs;
- developing broad partnerships with local development associations, agricultural water users’ associations, women’s associations and microfinance cooperatives; and
- promoting farming as a business through a value chain approach both upstream in production and downstream in marketing.
IFAD works to ensure projects are sustainable by sharing responsibility for their success with poor rural people.
We build strong partnerships with government, public agencies, research institutions and relevant associations.
Results-based country strategic opportunities programme (COSOP):
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An estimated 11 million Moroccans, around one in every three, live in a rural areas.
Agriculture and fisheries contribute nearly 20 per cent of gross domestic product, and 80 per cent of income in rural areas.
Since 1979, IFAD has financed 14 rural development projects in Morocco, totalling US$268.6 million, benefiting 715,745 households.