July 29, 2019 / 5:16 PM / a year ago

Moroccan economy falls short of meeting social demands, central bank says

RABAT, July 29 (Reuters) - Morocco’s economy has fallen short of meeting increasing social demands, Central Bank Governor Abdellatif Jouahri said on Monday, pointing to sluggish growth and indebtedness.

Morocco has largely been insulated from the turmoil that hit North Africa and the Middle East since the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011. But protesters still make social and economic demands, with large-scale demonstrations in the northern Rif region in late 2016 and in the mining town of Jerrada in early 2018.

“The performance of the Moroccan economy is not enough to meet the increasing social aspirations,” Jouahri was cited in a Central Bank Statement as saying.

Morocco’s economy grew 3% in 2018 and is expected to slow to 2.7% in 2019, with the unemployment rate standing at 10% and one in four young people unemployed.

Jouahri called for education reform in line with job market requirements. Putting Morocco on a track of steady growth requires boosting competitiveness and addressing structural vulnerabilities of Moroccan enterprises while reducing the scale of the informal sector, he said.

The informal sector represents 11.5% of Morocco’s gross domestic product, according to Morocco’s planning agency.

State spending to compensate for slow growth should take into account the indebtedness of the country, he said, urging a reform of state subsidies through better targeting of needy families. (Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi Editing by Peter Graff)

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