Poverty, vulnerability on rise in Morocco, study reveals

A new study shows that the national levels of poverty and vulnerability are similar to those recorded in 2014, reflecting an alarming step backward in the country’s developmental progress.

Poverty and vulnerability are affecting 3.2 million additional people across Morocco, according to a new study from Morocco’s High Commission for Planning (HCP).

According to the study, 1.15 million of those are affected by poverty while 2.05 million suffer from vulnerability due to the COVID-19 crisis and inflation.

The study claims that 45% of the deterioration is due to COVID-19 while skyrocketing prices of goods contributed to poverty and vulnerability among Moroccans by 55%.

“Almost seven years of progress towards the elimination of poverty and vulnerability have been lost,” the study said, arguing that Morocco finds itself with a level of poverty and vulnerability similar to the numbers recorded in 2014.

The COVID crisis and inflation contributed to a drop in the standard of living by 7.2% at the national level between 2019 and 2022.

Already disadvantaged households have seen the standard of living drop by 8% per person, going from a monthly total of MAD 7,000 ($635) to MAD 6,440 ($584.6) between 2019 and 2022.

Meanwhile, upper-income households’ living standards saw an increase by 7.5%, from MAD 47,780 ($4,337) to  MAD 44,200 ($4,012).

Food expenditures dropped by 11% to MAD 6,640 ($602.8) per person at the national level in 2022. In rural areas, they dropped by 12.9% (MAD 5,320 or $482), while in urban areas the drop reached 10.1% (MAD 7,380 or $669.98).

The study is based on a survey of 12,000 households from October 11, 2021, to February 10, 2022.

Commenting on the study, Moroccan economist Mohamed Jadri said that it “raises the alarm and urges Akhannouch’s government to take immediate measures to mitigate the effects of inflation.”

Jadri, a professor at the Hassan II University in Casablanca, told Morocco World News that the measures should be marked by supporting the purchasing power of citizens, particularly those with low and average incomes.

Moroccan households have been expressing concerns about the skyrocketing prices of goods and essential commodities.

In addition to the increasing prices of daily essentials like vegetables, fuel prices are also experiencing increases that weigh down the average and lower-income households.

Many citizens took to social networks this year to protest against the growing disparities in Morocco, launching online campaigns calling for the resignation of Head of Government Aziz Akhannouch through hashtags such as #Degage_Akhannouch (Akhannouch leave).

A report from the World Bank in 2021 suggested that poverty indicators in Morocco will return to pre-pandemic levels by 2023.

The bank acknowledged that COVID-19 caused severe disruptions in the country’s gradual socio-economic progress.



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