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Women in the Informal Sector and Poverty Reduction in Morocco

The City of Fez as a Case Study

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Souad Belhorma

It is established that the informal sector plays an important role in the creation of job opportunities for many rural and urban people. However, there is a scarcity of academic research on the relationship between gender, informality of employment and poverty reduction in Morocco with particular reference to the city of Fez. This book focuses on investigating the contribution of women’s self-employed work in the informal sector in reducing household poverty in the city of Fez. This is done through the medium of specific framework objectives. First, the book sets out the types of women engaged in informal sector activities in the city of Fez. Secondly, it makes a situational analysis of the contribution of women’s work in the informal sector to reduce poverty in their households in this region of Morocco. Thirdly, it identifies the linkages between working as self-employed persons and emancipation of women through their participation in political and social activism in Fez and lastly, it uncovers the main difficulties impeding the development of women in self-employed activities in the informal sector and identifies the various challenges for the development of their businesses in Fez.

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The book is an intellectual and political response to Thomas Sankara’s challenge to the African people to dare to invent their own future, an echo of Patrice Lumumba’s call for them to write their own history. Exploring the history of Africa’s underdevelopment and the short-circuiting of the Pan-African movement, it argues for the revival of Pan-Africanism as a force for change and calls for a worthy successor to the Fifth Pan-African Congress.

As a background to this argument and call, the book revisits Pan-Africanism’s history and founding ideals and conducts ruthless forensic examinations of the de facto Bantustanization of much of Africa and parts of the Caribbean, the ‘alternative development’ fiascos of the late twentieth century, the contemporary ‘globalization’ and ‘democratization’ of African projects by imperialist interests, the ‘Pan-Africanisms’ of imperialism’s active collaborators and other obstructions to the decolonization of Africa and African development.

Finally, recognizing that the plights of many Afro-Latinos, Afro-Indians, Afro-Arabs and other ‘lost’ or neglected ‘tribes of Africa’ – as well as those of the victims of ‘black-empowered’ predators – call out for urgent Pan-Africanist responses, the book contains numerous start-up project ideas for action-oriented Pan-Africanists.

After a stint in academic research at the Encyclopedia Africana Secretariat in Accra, Ghana, Tony Obeng moved into development research, with appointments at the African Training and Research Centre in Administration for Development in Tangier, Morocco and the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex (1970–1972). This was followed by a...

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