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Home »» Dialogues

Why are young Moroccans fleeing their country?

By Rachid Beddaoui

For years, people have been forced to flee their country because of famine, extreme poverty and war, in search of a better life. Migration, which have no legal or geographical boundaries, and will be one of the central issues of this century.


Illegal immigration is now a difficult problem faced by countries in both developed and developing countries.

In recent decades, political, economic, social and demographic developments in many parts of the world have stimulated migration. The growing volume of trade, rapid and cheap transportation, the increased ease of communication have encouraged more young people to migrate beyond their national borders.


Globalization, greater access to information and the Internet may have made young people more aware of opportunities that are lacking in their countries.


In Morocco, young people aged 15 to 35 years now represent over 38% of the total population. A considerable number of these young people have, on average, more years of schooling, they are healthy and have opportunities to pursue their university studies. They participate actively in economic and social development of Morocco, they desire to be serious and reliable partner in any project and policy affecting both their society.


However, the majority of these young people turn their gaze towards a mythical world. Their dreams and their lives are elsewhere. An unknown but also imagined, fantasized. That's why they want to leave Morocco, "by breaking", even risking their lives. Sesame (visa) is for these young people, impossible to obtain. The majority of them have already asked at least once a visa that they have not obtained. So, they attempt the unthinkable, they try the "underground But few are those who arrive in the country where they plan to go. Tragedy that always ends in deaths and injuries.


Many European countries including Spain and Italy, which suffer, benefit from the arrival of young Moroccan immigrants who occupy the lower paid jobs that nobody else wants to play. They provide labor in agriculture and construction, hotels ….


For networks and very powerful Mafia organization, the phenomenon is an important financial resource. As a result, illegal immigrants are under their control, the only exit door is the regularization. The operation of this emigration is that the gangs consider "the illegal immigrant as a vulgar commodity on which they will make the maximum profit." They completely disregard the laws and human rights. Examination of the illegal migration of young people to review two major issues: the causes and motivations of the problem and prospects.


The motivations of the migration of young Moroccans are manifold: an economic, political, social, cultural. These cases intersect and reinforce each other.
If a young person leaves his country, his family, his culture, is not only for one reason. A cumulative pain of various factors pushed him to do so.


The main factors of the migration of young people include: low economic growth, unequal distribution of income, high unemployment, poverty and exclusion, violations of human rights and a low level of governance.


The phenomenon of emigration expresses basically the economic disparities that characterize Morocco and the countries of destination of migratory flows, the GDP of Morocco in 2007 is 80 billion dollar (ie $ 2 807 per capita) is still low compared to other countries, this gap macroeconomic added the unequal distribution of income within the country, the region of Tadla Azilal and the eastern region which are important sites of migration are among the most vulnerable and poor of the kingdom.


Despite the encouraging results of economic growth during recent years, Morocco remains subject to economic instability which destabilizes the labour market, and the absorption of labour supply of young graduates in particular arises with acuity.


The Moroccan state does not cease to expand its initiatives to promote youth employment, however, the unemployment rate continues to show 10% in the first quarter 2007 against 6% for the same period of 2006, as given by the High Planning Commission, this rate amounted to 15.8% in urban areas and 3.8% in rural areas, this increase has mainly affected youth aged 15 to 24 years (15.9%). Worse, when 61.6% of them are unpaid jobs and 23.2% among those who are female neither in school nor employed, are classified as "housewives”.


Besides unemployment, the wage differential between Morocco and the countries receiving the migration continues to motivate young people to leave because of the migration project concerns young people who have a stable work but little pay. The SMIG in Morocco (DH 9.22 per hour in the non-agricultural sector and DH 47.77 per day for the agricultural sector) is 4 to 5 times lower than in European countries.

For most young Moroccans, the migration project is an escape from extreme poverty and exclusion. In Morocco; the poverty rate remains high, 14, 2% in 2004.


To cope with this intensification of the phenomenon of emigration of young Moroccans who had taken alarming proportions, it offers two types of solutions, solutions-based on security approach and law enforcement and other solution based on a development approach.


Indeed, it is now generally accepted that monitoring of borders and the fight against international and suspicious human trafficking is to reduce the number of illegal departures. But according to most European and Moroccan experts, these security measures in the short term will be in vain if the problems of development (promotion of economic growth, fight against unemployment and poverty, improve standard of governance, management conflict) to a large extent the origin of the waves of illegal migration are not addressed thoroughly.


Despite the integrated actions that Morocco has already begun to promote human development and thus standardize the youth in their communities, a number of actions still needed in the creation of youth employment, the fight against poverty and precariousness and integration of youth in economic development and social issues. These actions do not require only the intervention of the State but also other non-state actors such as businesses, local associations etc.


For businesses, their roles lie in creating jobs and encouraging young entrepreneurs particularly in the context of the social economy, the job creation of micro enterprises is the most effective solution because will increase jobs by increasing employers.


The intervention of the private sector is also the mobilization of various socio-economic actors in a new partnership for human development and the fight against the exclusion of young people, it helps to foster creativity and innovation with a view to sustainability development activities carried by young people and / or targeting.


Local authorities also have a role to play in the fight against illegal immigration. By their position, they know the aspirations of youth, but also the strengths, the potentiality of their territory.

They can highlight and develop synergies. Therefore, any local development approach for young people begins with a strong commitment to the community that:


• To listen, attentive to all the initiatives of young people born in its territory;


. • Proceed to the identification of strengths and weaknesses, potential of the territory;


• Identify all stakeholders that could contribute to local development projects;


• Compile these players, helping them implement a comprehensive project.


It is in this synergy, in the involvement of all in a common goal of general interest are the chances of successful local development and thus mitigating the migration of young.


For associations, their involvement is through the organization of awareness campaigns for young people (Distribution of brochures, films, animation workshops in the nearby schools and colleges etc.)


These campaigns aim to raise awareness for children and youth, the actual conditions experienced by illegal immigrants in the countries of the north shore of the Mediterranean, they will be framed by Moroccan associations in the end, illegal emigration of young people is a problem that requires a solution.


To talk frankly about this issue, it is therefore necessary for a national debate opens, but a real debate between the various actors (government, industry, local authorities, associations and so on.)


Alfred Sauvy says: "either the wealth will go to the men or the men who will go to the wealth".



Rachid Beddaoui
researcher in migration
President of the Association Forum of Rural Youth




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OKAY : Unemployment rate in Morocco is: 30% or maybe more, not 10%.
In the States unemployment rate is: 10%.
Poverty rate is well above 14%.
The figures are completely wrong.
ahmed in la : Ssi Rachid,

I have found the solution to world problems:
Eliminate passports and let people roam free in God s land.

Most will think I m crazy, but I will continue feeling sorry for you.
Your entire article as well as countries approach to the immigration problem is dealing with the issue backwards. Nations created a problem and now want to deal with it starting from its feet rather than its head. Cut the head off and the problem will be solved!

You know my brother, all the idiots that generated this data and analysis for immigration and all the BS associated with identifying the problems at heart, either are feeding a bunch of cow manure or they themselves have been smoking some.

The law in the case of immigration should be re-written, the borders should be illuminated and passports should be burnt. Imagine how much we could save on passport fees, paperwork, TLE3 OU HBET OU SIR WAJI, to obtain those stupid passports. When did people create those stupid things, anyway?
The factors that pushed one to immigrate are LHEZ9A, survival and continuity.

The countries that constitute a destination for immigrants have worked for what they accomplished, as nations or cultures, and they deserve what they have. People from poor countries, like myself, want it on a platter, BARDA. I would immigrate to the U.S. where millions have labored for centuries to create a successful system and an international model, I would live there like one of the natives, enjoying a great opportunity and an easy life to which I m only contributing a little, while getting a great return! Sounds good to me!

A fiend of mine asked me, in 1989, at a North Hollywood cafe why I came to his country and why I m encroaching on the natives. He was a good friend, but his question was sincere and honest! Like an idiot, in my early 20, I replied: my country sucks and your country rocks. He replied: it is not my problem or that of my countrymen that your county sucks; go back and fix it like we did with ours.

The statement hit hard and I did not know what to say; he was fricking right. However, I chickened out, (lazy-ed) around and just enjoyed my opportunity FBLAD NNAS, without any rumors and without the least sense of responsibility.

You see my brother, the problem than lies in the fact that the Westerners, Japanese, Chinese, Australians or whomever, got together and worked their countries to the level they are at. They are feeding us cow manure and do not want to tell you that, so you would not get your own sh*& together, get off your rear and work your country. Start by when they started a few hundred years ago and work your way forward. I hope your country is nice and inviting by the time I decide to retire, but it would take a few centuries and I do not think I will live that long.


america120 : 
More than the money,we leave our country because we are simply not free.

WE rightfully have no trust for our governemnt ,our neighbors ,family etc..;

Everybody wants to tell you what to do .if you do not pray ,fast or if you have a glass of wine you are doomed to failure ,can be jailed if you are lucky enough to escape the anger of God's police aka as adl oua alihssane ,Pjd .
When people will be treated like adults responsible for their lives and mind their own business,Moroccans will have no reason to leave ,because the economy will follow.
safyorker : Dear Rachid Beddaoui,

Thank you very much for this article. Your efforts are greatly appreciated. Your study, in its scientific format sheds light on few of the facets of the issue of migration.It is a step in the right direction.I will take it upon myself to apologize to you in the name of Wafin community for the denigrating posts that you may encounter on this forum.

Here is where I would disagree with you, somewhere in the analysis your blurred the line between emigration and illegal immigration. Illegal immigration is the problem of the host country, emigration is an issue of the parent country which may or may not be a problem. Since, according to Driss Temsamani and Hannah Roeyer‘s article on this site, Moroccans living abroad contribute 6.7 billion dollars to Morocco’s GDP, you can see that emigration is not a problem at all for Morocco. One would argue that Morocco is losing work force and brain power. The truth is that Morocco can’t absorb and integrate that brain power into the society for the simple reason that there is no NASA in Morocco; there are no contemporary research labs, there is no Super Proton Synchrotron, or high power proton accelerators in Morocco. Many of my generation Moroccans who returned to morocco with their PhD’s and Engineering degrees from renown Schools in Europe had to go back because they couldn’t find jobs. Even illegal immigration is not that much of a problem to the host country, people might argue. It is only a problem because it is illegal. No matter how you slice it, illegal immigrants play a huge role in the economical and societal dynamics of the host country, aside from some lost income tax. Many small enterprises thrive and prosper because of the “cheap” labor of the illegal immigrants; hence they expand and create more jobs. Illegal immigrants make enough to live on and some to send back home. In this aspect I personally don’t see migration as a problem for either the host or the parent country.

I would also disagree with the passage “However, the majority of these young people turn their gaze towards a mythical world. Their dreams and their lives are elsewhere. An unknown but also imagined, fantasized. This world is not mythical, it is real and you really can make it if you try hard enough just as many of us did. Dreams may be fantasies but one should never give up on them, for dreams and hope are the moving power to achieve goals. Are fellow countrymen need to be encouraged to dream and dream big, see big and aim high.

To go back to your question, why are young Moroccans fleeing their country? I think there are just as many answers as there Moroccans that fled their country. Given all what we know about our country, the question is actually, why aren’t many young Moroccan fleeing their country?
Thank you for posting.
Majid Sabour, MD

kawkaw : To America120
You said "if you have a glass of wine you are doomed to failure ,can be jailed if you are lucky enough to escape the anger of God's police aka as adl oua alihssane ,Pjd", I really wonder where in Morocco did you see that? I have never seen anybody being pursued for drinking wine, beer or anything else.., Morocco seems more liberal than america, they even had a new law prohibiting the arrest of drunk people, because they should be considered as sick people and instead should be taken to the hospital! You might want to go to Morocco has a taste of some of the new wineries over there If you are a fan..
nadiacal : HI,
I agree if you have a glass of wine you get arrested and sorry to say this but I didn't go to Morocco for several but I went back in 2007 I don't call it a freedom but I called it a country full with prostitutes and gays I felt like I was walking in San Fransisco, I wasn't born in Morocco but I'm wondering what happen to Islam religion it that country,
not24get : ach men islam in Morocco,Islam is a religion of compassion,respect,good faith,honesty,clealiness..i was in morocco few weeks ago,and i did not find any of these there...waht the f%$# is going on with the country and the poeple.and back to the immigration issue,it's not just a result of poverty and joblesness,because i know poeple who are well off but still dream to get the hell out of morocco.Ibraham Serfaty once said in a tv interview few years ago and i quote " Injustice is the first problem in Morocco"
sueRabat : Moroccans leave Morocco because of injustice. It would be nice if 20 million Moroccans get a green card to the USA, Australia and Canada. May be someday, there will be one country one ruler without any people.
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