According to the 2012 data produced by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the African Bank, the unemployment rate among young people between 14 and 24 years old in Northern African countries is of 41%. This same report also notes that the economies of these countries have focused on industries where qualifications are not valuable. In order to fight against these problems, the report recommends promoting the creation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
In its 2011 CDR 378/2011 report, the Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly advises actors promoting SMEs to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit among young people –who constitute a large proportion of the population in southern Mediterranean–, as this can also help young unemployed people to access the job market.
The latest (2009) report on Morocco by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) states that most SMEs are family-owned companies and hardly diversified. Their informality level is high, about 50-60%, and over 3/4 of entrepreneurs have not completed secondary school. This means that 57% of recently set up companies do not create new jobs. Furthermore, only 17% of these companies offer innovative products or services.
According to this same report, in other to bridge the gaps and improve start ups’ survival and quality in the medium term, the Moroccan government should encourage entrepreneurial activities among the segments of the population with a higher level of higher education. Nevertheless, according to the Moroccan Human Rights Association, the unemployment rate among University students and graduates in Morocco is of 26.8%, "the highest rate in the region".
The Moroccan Government knows the situation well and is aware of its relevance: the Moroccan Ministry for Employment stated on the 3rd of July 2012 before the United Nations’ Economic and Social Council that "public authorities must redouble their efforts to facilitate young people’s access to the job market". This concern is translated into a series of measures and programmes already existing in Morocco, like the Moukawalati programme of the National Agency for the Promotion of Employment and Competences (ANAPEC in its French acronym). Nevertheless, this programme is not well known among the University population and has no sufficient capacity to reach all potential entrepreneurs who finish their studies every year in the different Universities of the country.
At the University level, the initiatives that have been developed up to now in the framework of programmes such as Tempus, have focused on the entrepreneurial ecosystem, but they have forgotten to feed it with motivated and qualified people willing to go for a start up.
The Moroccan Ministry of Higher Education has created the module "Entrepreneurial Culture", which has been included in the curriculum of Moroccan Universities. Its goal is to stimulate the students’ entrepreneurial spirit.