USAID has granted Morocco $94 million to finance the kingdom’s inclusive socio-economic development program. Under this framework, USAID/Morocco is making a special call for the submission of Concept Notes that capitalize on improving livelihoods of citizens in Beni Mellal-Khenifra region of Morocco, by improving sub-national participatory governance and promoting economic development. The deadline for submission of Concept Notes is 3 September 2019.
The inclusive socio-economic development program has three components:
The first concerns an integrated local development program that will encompass the economic growth and governance sector in the regions of Marrakech-Safi and Beni Mellal-Khenifra.
The second provides for the creation of public-private partnerships. One of these partnerships concerns the setting up of a Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technology center within a university institution.
The third component is meant to provide support to activities that reinforce community resilience, by strengthening the capacity of key institutions and civil society organizations in providing services to at-risk youth in vulnerable communities.
Although Morocco has made significant progress, various forms of inequalities continue to negatively impact the country’s social cohesion. In recent years, citizen dissatisfaction has often been linked to the ineffectiveness of the education system, unmet expectations of government reforms, unequal access to secure livelihoods, youth exclusion from meaningful participation in political, economic, and social spheres, and largely unrealized anticipated advances in gender equality.
The target region of Beni Mellal-Khenifra (BMK) faces several economic challenges. It has the second highest global poverty rate in Morocco at 19.1 percent and vulnerability rate at 23.2 percent in the last census of the Office of the High Commissioner for Planning (HCP). Poverty disproportionately impacts rural populations in BMK, highlighting inequity between provinces within the region. This said, the region has significant potential for development with ample resources that can be tapped into.
The goal of the Inclusive Socio-Economic Development Program is to support the Government of Morocco (GOM) in ensuring that the Moroccan people benefit from the reforms made in the 2011 Constitution by enabling them to participate fully economically, politically, and socially in their communities.
USAID/Morocco expects that activities under the Beni Mellal-Khenifra program will achieve three overarching objectives:
1. Improve Sub-National Participatory Governance in Beni-Mellal Khenifra
2. Enhance Economic Opportunity in Beni Mellal Khenifra
3. Promote Local Participation and Ownership in Participatory Governance and Economic Growth Activities
One of the key aspects of the Inclusive Socio-Economic Development Program is inclusion of especially marginalized populations, particularly women, youth, and people with disabilities. USAID/Morocco expects that special attention to these groups will cut across the three objectives explained below.
It is expected that a successful program will take a system's approach to meeting objectives, with significant and meaningful coordination and integration of activities, such that some activities support multiple objectives.
a) Objective 1: Improve Sub-National Participatory Governance in Beni-Mellal Khenifra. USAID/Morocco seeks to improve sub-national participatory governance with activities that target both local public institutions and civil society.
Sub-Objective 1.1. Increase transparency and performance of sub-national government institutions.
Sub-Objective 1.2. Strengthen the role of Citizens and CSOs in sub-national governance.
b) Objective 2: Enhance Economic Opportunity in Beni Mellal-Khenifra
Sub-Objective 2.1. Workforce Skills are Better-Aligned with Labor Market Needs.
Sub-Objective 2.2. Improve the Business and Innovation Ecosystem in Beni Mellal Khenifra.
c) Objective 3: Promote Local Participation and Ownership in Participatory Governance and Economic Growth Activities
Sub-Objective 3.1. Promote Local Leadership.
Sub-Objective 3.2. Build Capacity of Local Organizations.
Subject to the availability of funds, USAID may allocate up to $18 million over the course of the next year to fund a portfolio of programs. The proposed period of performance is between three to five years.