Morocco—Economic Competitiveness Project (MEC)

Client: U.S. Agency for International Development

Duration: 2009-2013

Region: Middle East and North Africa

Country: Morocco

Solutions: Governance

Our goals for this project in water-constrained Morocco were simple: reduce poverty, create jobs, and upgrade the workforce. Cutting across the project’s three main components were gender and youth considerations—an effort to mainstream citizens marginalized despite Morocco’s economic growth. Our approach reflected a 21st century definition of competitiveness, and incorporated economic, environmental, and social concerns. Prior to MEC, from 2005 to 2009 DAI implemented the U.S. Agency for International Development-funded project Improving the Business Climate in Morocco, which helped the country make headway in standardizing procedures for entrepreneurs, businesses, and the legal community. Our uncovering of service gaps prompted follow-up in areas such as registering businesses, property title transfer, and dispute resolution. We devised appropriate solutions, including simplifying construction procedures for architects and builders, standardizing business entry and tax registration, and implementing software that improved the review of applications by investors. The project also helped organize the country’s solar technology sector, work that carries on under the MEC project.

Sample Activities

  • Leverage venture capital services that bring together investors and high-potential firms to develop opportunities, promote exports, and spread business ideas among entrepreneurs.

  • Work with stakeholders to demonstrate an integrated approach to agricultural development that includes water optimization, export promotion, and workforce development.

  • Move the social dialogue toward consensus, promoting measures that balance employee and employer needs—for example, simple improvements to the administrative system can make hiring easier, providing incentives to formalize domestic workers and others currently counted as unemployed.

Select Results

  • Improved and streamlined business processes related to investment, building permitting, and creation of new enterprises.

  • Designed and implemented improved information systems for managing scarce water resources in key agricultural districts.

  • Facilitated increased trade between Morocco and the United States that has helped create jobs and increase income in key sectors (agro-processing and handicrafts).



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