Youth Exclusion in Morocco: Context, Consequences, and Policies
12 Dec 2007, Brahim Boudarbat and Aziz Ajbilou
Currently, the age structure of the Moroccan population is characterized by the predominance of youth aged 15-24. The share of youth in the population grew from about 17 percent in 1971 to a little over 21 percent in 2004. This “youth bulge” is regarded as one of the main causes of unemployment because the number of jobseekers is increasing much faster than the number of jobs that the economy can create. While this argument may seem legitimate in light of the current economic context, a youth bulge should naturally be considered a “demographic gift.” By building the human capital of young workers and providing them with opportunities to use their skills, Morocco can increase incomes per capita, bolster savings and improve social welfare.
But unfortunately, today’s youth face severe economic and social exclusion hampering their transitions to adulthood. Youth exclusion is determined by many factors including illiteracy and unemployment. But moreover, exclusion is not just a condition but rather a process which marginalizes certain individuals. This process varies with context (e.g.urban versus rural) and is constantly evolving. In this paper we will outline how youth cohort and their expectations and focus on the economic dimensions of youth exclusion. In understanding the consequences of economic exclusion, however, we also extend our analysis to look at various social and political dimensions.