Moroccan youth suffer 'growing pains', survey says
By Hassan Benmehdi for Magharebia in Casablanca – 18/06/12
The lack of financial resources continues to dash the hopes of many young Moroccans, with many wondering about the efficacy of recently announced reforms.
More than half of Moroccans between 18 and 45-years-old live with their parents, the High Commission for Planning's (HCP) National Youth Survey found.
The findings that were released on June 1st indicated a lack of financial resources that prevents many young people from coping with life on their own. As a result, 42% of youths surveyed do not consider marriage an option while 25% of those between 35 and 44 shared the same view.
HCP chief Ahmed Lahlimi explained that situation was true for men more particularly than women and he cited unemployment as the main reason.
According to the survey, 96% of young people said employment was a priority. Education reform ranked as the second highest priority for youths, followed by decent housing and improved health services. Human rights were a hot topic for 72% while 62% mentioned a need for greater freedom of expression.
When asked about the future, 84% indicated that they were concerned about rising cost of living while 78% were worried about unemployment and dwindling resources. Two-thirds of Moroccans 18-24 reported no source of income.
Though young Moroccans have called on Parliament to alleviate the problem, the survey showed that most young Moroccans have little interest in socio-political activities.
Only 1% of young people belong to a political party or a union; only 4% attend political party or union meetings or activities; only 4% take part in social demonstrations or strikes; and only 9% serve as volunteers. However, these numbers were contrasted by 36% who regularly vote in elections, with an additional 14% who indicated that they voted infrequently.
"When the state and political parties do not respond to young people's legitimate aspirations and expectations, then it's natural that they'll feel let down," explained Casablanca students Hamza, Nabil and Aymen, who said they feel let down by the State's policies towards young people.
Issam Laghbach, another young Casablancan, told Magharebia that he constantly worries about having to drop-out of school in order to help his five-member family make ends meet. "I have to stop thinking about myself when I see my father struggling every day to meet our needs and it hurts me to see him like that," he said, discussing his ability to help out financially.
Karima, in her thirties, has been engaged for two years now. She and her fiancé want to marry, but they are hard pressed for money and would rather wait for a more opportune moment.
"We couldn't buy a flat and cope with the constantly rising cost of daily life on what we earn," she explained.
Policy makers say that a better understanding of the issues and challenges facing young people in Morocco can be useful in shaping economic and social policy.
At a press conference, Lahlimi called for "better use" of the survey conclusions, which provide "pure and promising" raw material for the creation of policies to give "hope in the future".
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