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World Bank supports Morocco’s social protection response and reform

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The World Bank Board of Executive Directors today approved a US$400 million program to support Morocco’ social protection system, as part of the kingdom’s sweeping reforms to strengthen its social safety nets. The Morocco COVID-19 Social Protection Emergency Response Project will support poor and vulnerable households during the COVID-19 pandemic and reinforce their resilience to future shocks.

Morocco has reacted decisively and swiftly to support the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic and is now accelerating reforms to strengthen its social protection system that we, at the World Bank, are proud to support.” said Jesko Hentschel, World Bank Maghreb Country Director. “This project supports the country in its response to the pandemic as well in its plans to build a broad, effective and vital safety net system for vulnerable populations”.

The Covid-19 pandemic disproportionally affected the poorest segments of the Moroccan population and the livelihoods of thousands of households. It is estimated that the pandemic has halted around 712,000 formal sector jobs and at least 4 million jobs in the informal sector. The program will finance social assistance to these affected categories and to support the capacity of those most in need to overcome the crisis. This support covers both the emergency cash transfers provided through Morocco’s Covid-19 Special Fund as well as those to be channeled through existing social protection programs.

Besides the impact on income, the crisis has challenged the ability of many vulnerable households and their school-aged children to pursue learning in schools.  With an aim to preventing the reversal of Morocco’s human development gains, the project will support the conditional cash transfer program for the education sector, the Tayssir program, to protect children’s learning.

In crises like the one we are experiencing now, protecting children as well as their continued learning is a critical response. Similarly, income transfers are a lifeline for many households who are dependent on the informal sector” said Carlo del Ninno, Lead Economist and co-task team leader.

The project fully supports the Government of Morocco’s efforts and ambitions to strengthen its social protection system, by contributing to the Family Allowance rollout as well as improving the governance, digital infrastructure and harmonization of social assistance programs. It also provides for a contingency financing line allowing for a rapid reallocation of the project funds to respond promptly to emergencies in the near future if needed.

The design of this program is based on both a short- and long-term approach to help lessen the crisis impact on large segments of the population, all the while supporting the country in building a robust social protection system” said Mehdi Barouni, Senior economist and co-task team leader. “Achieving this purpose requires a revamping of social programs based on a coordinated approach to align their objectives and targeting efficiency”.

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Women in Albania to Gain Greater Access to Global Digital Jobs Market

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“Digital Jobs Albania” is a new World Bank initiative that will help women in Albania gain better access to online work opportunities and connect with the global economy. The initiative will provide intensive 3-month training in digital skills for women aged 16-35 years, empowering them to access online freelancer job opportunities in graphic design, web development and digital marketing.

The emergence of online freelancer job markets is creating new opportunities for Albanians to connect with the global economy. Websites such as Upwork, Fiverr and People Per Hour allow Albanians with the right skills to access online project work commissioned by companies and individuals anywhere in the world, while staying in their local communities.

Women in particular stand to gain. The female labor force participation in Albania is still 14.6 percentage points lower than for males. The gender pay gap remains 6.6 percent, according to 2020 data from the Albanian National Statistical Authority (INSTAT). The emerging online freelancing work model can play an important role in narrowing these gaps. Flexible work hours and the ability to work from home can help more women with the right skills stay in the labor market and gain financial independence.

The Digital Jobs Albania initiative, implemented in partnership with the Government of Albania, Coderstrust (an international digital skills training provider), and EuroPartners Development (a local consulting company), will provide an online training program to equip selected participants with in-demand technical skills. It will also provide mentorship to participants and help them develop the soft skills needed to successfully compete for project work on online freelancer websites. 

“This initiative offers an exciting new opportunity for Albanian women to acquire digital skills and join the online economy – a blueprint to inspire future projects in this space,” says Emanuel Salinas, World Bank Country Manager for Albania. “No one can afford to be left behind in the ongoing digital transformation.”

The initiative is part of broader ongoing World Bank engagement in Albania to help the country leverage the economic opportunities associated with digital trade in goods and services.

“Albania has recognized the importance of digital markets as an opportunity for economic development. We have mobilized a team from across the World Bank to support this effort, through this new initiative and others in the future,” says Christoph Ungerer, the World Bank task team leader for the Albania Digital Trade Project.

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World Economic Forum Plans 2022 Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters

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The World Economic Forum plans to convene the world’s foremost leaders for the Annual Meeting 2022 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. Taking place in person from 17-21 January, the Annual Meeting 2022 will be the first global leadership event to set the agenda for a sustainable recovery.

The pandemic has exacerbated fractures across society. It is a critical year for leaders to come together and shape necessary partnerships and policies. The meeting will bring together forward-thinking leaders to drive multistakeholder collaboration and address the world’s most pressing economic, political and societal challenges. Further details will be announced in due course.

The wellbeing of our participants, staff, service providers and hosts is a priority. Therefore, the World Economic Forum is working closely with the Swiss authorities, as well as with experts, national and international health organizations to put in place measures for the Annual Meeting 2022 that are appropriate and adapted to the context.

Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum said “The pandemic has brought far-reaching changes. In a world full of uncertainty and tension, personal dialogue is more important than ever. Leaders have an obligation to work together and rebuild trust, increase global cooperation and work towards sustainable, bold solutions.”

Progressing cooperation on tackling climate change, building a better future for work, accelerating stakeholder capitalism, and harnessing the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution will be important topics on the agenda.

Ahead of the Annual Meeting 2022, the Forum will host the fifth Sustainable Development Impact Summit to take place virtually from 20 to 23 September 2021 in the context of the United Nations General Assembly. The summit will convene under the theme Shaping an Equitable, Inclusive and Sustainable Recovery. It will welcome almost leaders from government, business and civil society who will work together to drive action and build momentum for a more sustainable and inclusive future.

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Spain’s PM Speaks with Global CEOs on Strategic Priorities in Post-Pandemic Era

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The World Economic Forum today hosted a “Country Strategy Dialogue on Spain with Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez” for its partners, chaired by Børge Brende, President of the Forum. The session gave CEOs from around the world an opportunity to hear directly from Sánchez on the factors behind Spain’s remarkable resilience to the economic shocks of the pandemic and its post-COVID-19 recovery strategy.

In the virtual session, Sánchez explained his government’s policy priorities and answered questions from CEOs on promoting innovation, a digital economy, a green transition and social justice in Spain, and on improving the enabling environment for long-term investors.

“After deploying unprecedented economic, financial and social measures to protect our economies, Spain is experiencing strong recovery. We want to build the economy of the future, and to do it in an inclusive way, leaving no one behind. We want to attract top talent and quality, innovation-centric investments. In summary, we want to transform the Spanish economy and we want to do it together with the private sector,” he said.

“The world economy is again growing. Spain is on track to be one of the fastest-growing economies among G20 countries. With Spain being among the key stakeholders in the European Union recovery fund, Prime Minister Sánchez and his government have provided important leadership on how to use the current momentum for a truly transformative agenda, for Spain, but also for Europe.” said Brende.

More than 80 partners of the World Economic Forum from around the world participated in the virtual session.

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