The Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE) and the Chamber of Advisors organized a study day on May 19, 2021 to present the EESC study on the Middle Class in Morocco. This study, carried out following a referral from the President of the Chamber of Councilors, is entitled “enlargement of the middle class, engine of sustainable development and social stability”.
In his opening speech, Mr. Ahmed Réda Chami, President of the EESC, highlighted the essential role of the middle class in society. Thanks to its savings capacity, the existence of a middle class represents a powerful lever for financing investment. It is also a factor of political stability because it is generally the reflection of greater social cohesion, less marked inequalities and a social lift in progress.
Hakim Benchamach, President of the Chamber of Councilors, indicated that the subject of the middle class constitutes a social issue with multiple issues and dimensions. He added that awareness of the role of the middle class should be translated into a real public policy that places it at the heart of the new development model.
Lahcen Oulhaj, Member of the EESC and Chairman of the committee ad hoc responsible for the development of the study, presented the conclusions of this study. In this sense, he detailed the constraints that make it difficult to determine the middle class. These relate in particular to: the purely statistical approach governing the definition of the middle class, based on income or level of consumption; the weakness of the salary monitoring system in the private sector; the extent of the informal sector and the lack of statistics on it; and finally, the absence of a statistical system on non-wage income.
Adopted by majority at the 119th ordinary session of the EESC, the EESC report aims to provide some answers to two questions formulated in the referral, namely, the notion or concept of the middle class and the ways and means of preserve and expand it. Eight major pathways were identified by the study in order to expand the middle class in Morocco, but also consolidate it to face any exogenous shocks that could lead to social downgrading. These are: – fully redistributive budgetary and fiscal policies; -the eradication of poverty and assistance to the most modest and vulnerable populations; -economic empowerment to reduce poverty among women in urban and rural areas, as well as greater access of women to the labor market; – improving the quality of social services; – strengthening the skills of human capital; -organization and development of civil service trades; – the emergence of a rural middle class; – the development of an inclusive digital infrastructure.
As for the recommendations, the CSE proposes several such as enriching and modernizing the national statistical system by improving the monitoring of wages in the private sector and that of non-wage income in Morocco, by developing indicators on purchasing power, working conditions. life and heritage of different social strata, in different regions of Morocco and in different places of residence. Or reinforce the purchasing power of the middle class by introducing more favorable household taxation, taking into account dependents and consolidated by family allowances more in line with the socio-economic reality of families , including that linked to the financing of children’s education. The EESC also proposes to put women at the center of efforts to fight poverty and to break with policies and programs that are often based on the concepts of the household and the male head of the family. Base the regulation of the health care system on the establishment of a reliable global health map (national and regional), integrating the public and private sectors.
The role of the State is, in this respect, essential in order to guarantee an overall coherence of this system and to ensure a rigorous follow-up for a territorially homogeneous offer of care (quality and proximity). Fifth, strengthen lifelong skills training and establish recognition of acquired experience and the corresponding bridges in national education systems and promote and diversify economic activities in rural areas, excluding agriculture. The objective is to promote the emergence of a true middle class within the 50% of the rural population whose activities are not linked to agriculture. The EESC also recommends strengthening lifelong qualifying training and establishing recognition of prior learning and the corresponding bridges in national education systems, as well as considering new technologies as essential knowledge, implement in school and university curricula and develop digital courses by combining traditional courses with digital knowledge in different disciplines: law, economics, human and social sciences, engineering, marketing, accounting, etc.