Morocco Has Highest Inequality Index in North Africa Study

Rabat – In a report published on July 11, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in collaboration with the African Union’s Department of Economic Affairs assessed the economic performances of African countries. Findings indicate that Morocco’s commendable socio-political reforms are still tainted by “alarming social inequalities” and an increasing income inequality gap.Africa’s Development Dynamics 2018, as the report is called, highlighted African countries’ socio-economic performances in accordance with the AU’s Agenda 2063 initiative and a particular focus on growth, job opportunities, and social inequalities.Pointing out African countries’ performances in terms of growth, labor market, educational facilities, and basic social infrastructures, the study says that Moroccan society is characterized by vast and alarming inequalities, despite discernible advances in some key sectors—housing and infrastructure, for example—in the last decade. The study found that Morocco’s Gini Coefficient,the inequality index used by most economists and international institutions, is the highest in North Africa. Morocco’s Gini Coefficient of 40.3 percent puts the country far above Algeria (23%), Egypt (30.8%), and Tunisia (35.8%).By this measure, Morocco is Northern Africa’s highest income-unequal country with the region’s largest gap between the top and bottom of the socio-economic ladder.The study also looked at the policies and reforms countries have adopted in recent years to tackle poverty. This included healthcare systems, access to education, electricity and clean water consumption, and the number of people living in “decent life conditions.”According to the report, all the indicators point that Morocco is outperformed by other countries in the region, save for Libya, whose ongoing political instability has made it the worst regional performer in many regards since 2011-2012.Unstable and fragile labor MarketJob insecurity was a primary finding in the report’s “diagnosis” of Moroccans’ concerns. According to the study, the informal sector represents 11 to 33 percent of Morocco’s per capita GDP, whereas 60 percent of Moroccans work in said sector.For most Moroccans, the study suggested, wages fail to cover decent life expenses in many of the country’s big cities.  In addition to job insecurity, there is also an “alarming lack of opportunities” for the majority of skilled workers and young graduates.Stability provides hopeBut other indicators painted a positive portrait of Morocco, suggesting that there are reasons to be hopeful about the country’s prospects. Although the country’s current growth level has so far failed to meet society’s needs and expectations, Morocco’s stability remains its hallmark in the region.Morocco’s growth is buttressed by the country’s stability, the report said, adding that political stability in Morocco has translated into a “stable economic growth always higher than the regional mean between 1995 and 1999.”Along with the foreign investments that the kingdom has attracted over the years, Morocco’s rising competitive businesses, transforming industrial sector, and phosphates and agricultural products exports give the North African country some room to capitalize on its growth to tackle its issues.To stimulate progress and decrease the rich-poor gap, Morocco’s “primary challenge” will be to promote gender equality by “boosting female entrepreneurship, investing in innovative start-ups, and ensuring linkages between formal training and labor market’s demands.”