Better policy coordination needed to boost job creation in North Africa

Rabat, 24 April 2019: The ECA Office for North Africa and the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE) of the Kingdom of Morocco held on 24-25 April in Rabat a regional high-level dialogue on employment in North Africa.

This event took place under the theme: “Development strategies and policies for employment creation in North Africa, bridging the missing links,” and brought together North African experts and representatives of UN Agencies, the African Development Bank, the World Bank, representatives of African Economic and Social Councils and development partners based in Morocco.

For two days, participants discussed the employment issue from an economic perspective, and taking into account macroeconomic policies and inclusive & sustainable growth. Their discussions will help identify key areas of intervention to reactivate the links between these policies and help businesses and productive sectors generate a positive economic dynamic and generate jobs.

North Africa currently has one of the lowest labor force participation rates in the world (46.8% in 2017*). Women and young people are particularly affected, with 2.3 unemployed women for every man and a youth unemployment rate that is by far the highest in the world (29.5% in 2017). Faced with these challenges, participants have stressed the need for better coordination between public economic and social policies, including at the implementation level, for greater efficiency.

Reforms needed “include not only education policies for a better match between the training provided and job market demands or social development policies to meet the needs of a young and dynamic population: other purely economic aspects must be taken into account such as productivity, competitiveness, efficient resources allocation, an enabling business environment, the promotion of small and medium-sized enterprises and reducing the burden of informal economy ", said Lilia Hachem Naas, Director of the ECA Office for North Africa.

For his part, Morocco Minister of Employment and Vocational Training Mohamed Yatim, highlighted several shortcomings in his remarks, questioning the effectiveness of public policies and strategies implemented so far.

"Recognizing the need to address the real obstacles to employment in Morocco, our Government has carried out a number of employment and training diagnoses that have enabled us to identify several gaps and constraints,” said Yatim. Among them, the slow creation of productive and decent jobs, the lack of training mechanisms, the limits of existing employment policies or the existing gaps between decision-makers’ vision and labour market challenges.

"In this context, it is necessary to act in a coherent and coordinated way on several levers to generate a new dynamic of growth and inclusion that can lead to inclusionthrough employment. A first lever would consist in promoting the sectors that provide good quality jobs in high numbers," said Ahmed Reda Chami, President of the Morocco Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE).

Chami mentioned several possible courses of action, such as redirecting investment towards wealth and employment generating sectors or sectors with higher positive effects on the rest of the economy; greater support for very small and small & medium sized companies; the consolidation and development of human capital and the promotion of entrepreneurship through a better involvement of regions in the development of local entrepreneurship.

In his speech, the UN Resident Coordinator for Morocco Philippe Poinsot called upon experts to question the challenges of tomorrow's employment, especially in a context increasingly dominated by technology, connection and automation. There is a need to define people’s place given the fast development of artificial intelligence and to analyze the needs for training and lifelong education. Poinsot drew the assistance’s attention on the legal aspects of new forms of employment such as remote, online work and work from home.

The North Africa Regional High-Level Dialogue on Employmentwas held in accordance within the ECA Office in North Africa’s new area of specialization, namely Employment and Skills for Sustainable Development. The results of the dialogue will contribute to fuel the African position in the global debate on the future of work and employment in the digital era currently taking place under the auspices of the United Nations.

Note to editors

The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) is one of the five regional commissions of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Its mission in North Africa is to support the development of Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Tunisia and Sudan by helping them formulate and implement policies and programs to contribute to their economic and social transformation. In its work, the Office pays special attention to issues related to regional integration, employment and skills for sustainable development.

The Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE) of the Kingdom of Morocco is an independent constitutional body, which carries out advisory missions and takes position on main development orientations, public policies in the economic and social fields as well as regarding matters of sustainable development and advanced regionalization. The CESE is consulted on projects and proposals for framework legislation related to fundamental State objectives in the economic, social and environmental fields.

تنسيق أفضل للسياسات العمومية الضرورية لتعزيز خلق فرص للشغل في شمال أفريقيا

Communication Team
Economic Commission for Africa
Office for North Africa
Tel: +212 (0) 537 548 749