HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of Silatech, yesterday chaired the organisation’s annual Board of Trustees meeting in Rabat. She then met with beneficiaries from projects that Silatech has implemented with local partners to enhance skills training, career guidance and entrepreneurship opportunities for young Moroccans.
Silatech is a Qatar-based social initiative established in 2008 to help create jobs and economic opportunities for young people throughout the Arab world.
The board reviewed progress made by Silatech over the last 18 months, and discussed a number of innovative strategies and partnerships that the organisation will employ to spur youth employment and entrepreneurship. The Arab world has the world’s highest regional rate of youth unemployment, at 25%.
After the meeting, HH Sheikha Moza attended the signing of several new memorandums of understanding between Silatech and its Moroccan partners to support small- and medium-sized enterprises, promote career guidance, vocational training and job placement, and strengthen the Moroccan microfinance sector.
Moroccan dignitaries participating in the signings included Lahcen Haddad, Minister of Tourism; Mohamed Ouzzine, Minister of Youth and Sports; Hafid Kamal, Director-General of ANApec; Redwan Nadjmeddine, Director General de Al Barid Bank; Abdelkarim Farah, Director General of Jaida; MustafaBidouj, Director General of Attawfiq Microfinance; and Brahim Al Jai, Director-General of Marocinvest.
Later that afternoon, HH Sheikha Moza met with young Moroccans who have directly benefited from initiatives that Silatech has already successfully implemented with local partners. She first met with young entrepreneurs who have received financing through Silatech-supported programmes from Attawfiq Microfinance, as well as with loan officers working with Attawfiq.
In 2012, Silatech partnered with Attawfiq to introduce Boudour (“Seed”), the first dedicated youth loan product in Morocco. More than 7,000 young entrepreneurs have benefited from this initiative to date, and tens of thousands more will receive first-time access to finance over the next three years.
HH Sheikha Moza also met with graduates of the first phase of the “Emploi Habilit?” programme, implemented with the international Youth Foundation to increase employability of youth in the tourism sector. Since its inception in 2012, the programme has provided life skills training, coaching and placement support for over 700 youth with more than 140 employers in the tourism sector.
The Silatech board meeting also saw the public launch of another Silatech flagship programme in Morocco, a youth savings initiative with Al Barid Bank and GIZ. The initiative called “Tawfir al-Ghad” (Saving for Tomorrow) is the first of its kind in North Africa. Launching nationally this month, Tawfir al-Ghad will provide access to savings accounts and financial literacy for over 30,000 Moroccan youth.
Redouane Nadjmuddin, CEO of Al Barid Bank, launched the programme by presenting HH Sheikha Moza with the very first Tawfir al-Ghad youth debit card.
Silatech is also supporting research and policy initiatives focused on youth inclusion and economic empowerment in Morocco. In March 2013, Silatech and the World Bank’s Consultative Group to Assist the Poor conducted a two-day workshop in Rabat on youth financial inclusion in the Arab world.
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