Pressure is mounting on the Moroccan government lead by Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch to deliver on its promises to nail an economic crisis which continues to punish poor Moroccans each day.
Hundreds of Moroccan workers gathered to protest poor paychecks, inflation and increasing social injustice across the kingdom, according to The New Arab.
On the morning of May 4th protesters assembled in the August 20 square in Casablanca, wearing yellow hats, the same color of the Moroccan Democratic Confederation of Labor Union (CDT).
Despite planning to march through Casablanca, the protesters were barred from leaving the square by the authorities. This led to the collective chant of “What a shame, a peaceful protest, and you still ban it” persisting throughout the demonstration. This chant was a reference to how liberties in Morocco which made the country the EU’s darling in previous years – such as the freedom to demonstrate – are being eroded under a new government with a zealous security chief who is responsible for the crackdown.
Khalid Al-Alami Al-Haouir, a senior member of the labor confederation, acknowledged being notified about the ‘unjustified’ ban prior to the gathering. However, they proceeded with the protest, emphasizing that “the constitution guarantees every citizen the freedom to assemble.”
Speaking to the real issues occurring in Morocco, Al-Alami told The New Arab that “Those who threaten public security are not citizens, but rather those who loot and smuggle public money, and those who get rich in light of social crises.”
Protesters rallied for over an hour, advocating for lower food and fuel prices, increased support for struggling families, and better conditions for retirees. The demonstrators also urged the government to address the pressing issue of job scarcity by creating more employment opportunities and implementing unemployment benefits for young individuals.
In Morocco, the unemployment rate stood at 10.7% this year, showing a marginal improvement from the 11.8% recorded at the close of 2022.
According to the National Higher Commission of Planning (HCP), the Moroccan economy suffered a significant job loss of approximately 432,000 positions between 2020 and 2021, followed by a further 24,000 jobs between 2021 and 2022, largely attributable to the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Moroccan tycoon-turned-government leader Aziz Akhannouch has launched the “Awrash” initiative, aiming to create 250,000 temporary jobs by the end of the year. However, experts doubt that this program alone will effectively address the country’s unemployment crisis.
Imad El Ghazal, a Moroccan research professor specializing in entrepreneurship, expressed skepticism, stating, “The promised number will not solve the problem – 250,000 [jobs] is far from enough to end unemployment in Morocco,” in an interview with TNA.
Due to a combination of inflationary pressures and a monthly minimum wage below US$300, many families in Morocco face daily challenges in affording basic necessities.
Moroccan Agriculture Minister Mohamed Sadiki attributed the spike in food prices to “external and cyclical factors,” such as rising raw material costs and a delayed harvest caused by a cold snap.
The Moroccan High Commissioner for Planning acknowledges that inflation will continue until necessary reforms are implemented to improve supply and productivity.