By Siham Ali
Faced with the thorny problem of unemployment, Morocco is looking to make it easier for youths to start a business and create their own jobs.
Authorities have proposed the self-employment solution as part of their governmental programme. MPs have also called on a number of occasions for the entrepreneurial sector to be developed. The National Rally of Independents even brought forward a proposed law on the subject.
Employment Minister Abdelouahed Souhail said the self-employment programme was one of the pro-active plans drawn up by the previous government. The present executive is currently weighing the situation, the government official added, admitting the sector was complex.
“It has proved difficult for a job-seeker to become his own employer. Added to these difficulties are the training system and attitudes which do not encourage the entrepreneurial spirit,” Souhail said. “Morocco has already experimented with providing substantial funding for young entrepreneurs, but it had its shortcomings.”
While some young people are captivated by the idea of self-employment, others show more scepticism. Samira Chentoufi, 25, has been unemployed for four years. Her business management degree has not enabled her to find work in either the private or public sectors. So she is thinking seriously about setting up a project of her own. But she hopes she can find both technical and financial help to do it.
“Of course I’m making my plans with great apprehension. But I have to move forward if I’m to escape the horrors of unemployment,” she told Magharebia. Her idea is to provide businesses and public administration offices with catering for their staff.
“The idea seems simple. But I know it will need a carefully thought-out study and the necessary finance. With the disappearance of a set lunch hour, I believe my plan could work well,” she said.
But other young people do not have the same high spirits and will not consider self-employment for fear of failure. This is the case with Hamid El Ouazzani, 27, who has been unemployed for three years, despite his degree in commerce.
“Even if they were to give me the necessary finance, I could never be my own employer. Like many young people, I’m frightened by the idea,” El Ouazzani said. “I prefer to work in a business as a salesperson, rather than throwing myself into the entrepreneurial adventure,” he commented.
Other people are still waiting to be taken on by the civil service, even though Abdelilah Benkirane, the head of government, has declared on several occasions that young people should not count on employment being provided for them in the public sector.
Sociologist Samira Kassimi is keen to point out that if self-employment is to be promoted, children need to be encouraged to develop their own initiative from an early age. At the moment, she said, the educational system combined with the culture of society does not help young people take a risk and attempt the entrepreneurial adventure.
Meanwhile, economist Ahmed Ramizi said that for self-employment to work, the state needs to set up incentives both in terms of technical and fiscal support measures.