A roadmap for youth inclusion
After 2 years of continuous work, 10 missions to Rabat, 6 steering committee meetings, 1050 emails, the Arab Spring, and the historic changes with a new Moroccan Constitution and Government; we finally arrived at D-Day: the official launch of our "Promoting Opportunities and Youth Participation" report on May 14, at the Hay Nahda Conference Center, Rabat. This invaluable validation is the outcome of an extensive process and the report, much awaited by all youth stakeholders, is finally seeing light.
To understand the emotions and sometimes fears unleashed by this study, we have to revisit to the context and characteristics of the study. Completed just before the Arab Spring, this report clearly brings out young people's voices from 2011. It highlights the realities of the social and economic exclusion, including the fact that half the young Moroccans aged 15 to 29 are unemployed or out of school. The report examines the causes of this widespread inactivity and presents recommendations for achieving greater inclusion and participation in decision making. The launching event was an opportunity to gather representatives of young focused civil society, institutions and private sector around the same table.
The private sector, a key solution for youth inclusion
The dialogue with the private sector reiterated the report's findings: (i) strengthening life skills and the technical skills, (ii) starting training sessions at an earlier stage and (iii) improving services provided by the official employment channel ANAPEC and diversifying its beneficiaries beyond unemployed graduates (5% of the total number of unemployed young Moroccans) to include the masses of the less educated unemployed, (iv) fostering a partnership between the private sector, public sector, civil society and local authorities, highlighting local services. Mr. Jamal Belahrach (General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises, CGEM) stressed the urgency of taking action and creating "commando" action teams in charge of the implementation: "All political actors must sit together around a same table and tell the young what to do "with" them and not "for" them.
A renewed continuity for public institutions
The discussion between the minister of youth and sports and the young participants was honest and genuine. Everyone spoke in colloquial Moroccan characterized by a sense of humor and jokes that are unfortunately difficult to translate. Young people discussed several points with the Minister: (i) the challenge of the Youth Advisory Council and lack of clarity of its function, (ii) adopting the youth agenda is the government's responsibility with possible assistance from international organizations. Asked by some of the young people to roll up his sleeves and take immediate concrete actions to address the alarming statistics of the report, the minister reminded young people that there are no miracle workers and that they need to roll up their sleeves as well to build the future of the country. In conclusion, he stressed that conditions were very favorable for a new youth strategy, which if not entirely new will at least be renewed in the direction of greater participation of young people.
Towards real opportunities for young people
The panel of young participants opened the session with a quote from Georges Bernanos: " C'est la fièvre de la jeunesse qui maintient le reste du monde à la température normale. Quand la jeunesse se refroidit, le reste du monde claque des dents." (It’s the dynamism of the youth that keeps the rest of the world at the normal temperature. If youth becomes cold, the world will freeze). And they also urged for (i) The urgent implementation of the recommendations of the report, (ii) The update of the survey to assess the new trends due to the Arab Spring, and finally (iii) the creation of an independent youth platform with an active role (not limited to advisory), based on local platforms.