The social and solidarity economy (SSE) is expected to contribute by 8% to Morocco’s national GDP [from 2% currently] and create 50,000 new jobs annually.
The minister of tourism, air transport, craft & social economy, Fatima Zahra Ammor, says the sector will play a key role in Morocco’s socio-economic development.
Addressing a meeting of the Cooperation Development Office’s board of directors on 5 January, the minister said the SSE is one of the three pillars of development on which the country’s New Development Model is based. The plan was developed between 2019 and 2021 by a special commission on development. Priorities include increasing Morocco’s competitiveness in the region, improving education and health, reducing inequalities and protecting the environment.
During the meeting, the director-general of the Cooperation Development Office, Youssef Hosni, talked about the impact of Covid-19 on the country’s co-operatives and his department’s role in supporting the sector. He explained that many co-operatives had witnessed a drop in internal sales and exports due to Covid-19, coupled with the cancellation of various events and exhibitions at which they would have normally advertised their products.
The ministry has set up a department to monitor the impact of the pandemic on the performance of co-ops and on members in different sectors and in different regions. The department is also offering advice and support to affected co-ops.
Using its own resources and in collaboration with other partners, the ministry is also helping certain co-ops explore new areas of activity – such as a sewing co-op that was enabled to switch to mask production by being made exempt from certification fees.
Online training has been given to co-ops in need of advice, and a campaign was launched to encourage solidarity with co-operatives and to facilitate co-ops’ access to e-commerce platforms and finance programmes. Other initiatives include a co-operative development programme and an award scheme for women and youth involved in co-ops.
Through these projects, the department provides training to selected co-operatives on management methods to ensure their economic sustainability. According to the Cooperation Development Office, 721 co-operatives benefited from its co-operative development programme in 2021.
As to 2022, Mr Hosni said the department would focus on delivering workshops to explore how co-ops can improve efficiency, including via digitisation.
Morocco is home to 40,500 co-ops with more than 646,000 members, 35% of them women.