Morocco to engage private sector in 'new approach' towards slums, poor housing

Morocco to engage private sector in 'new approach' towards slums, poor housing
Morocco's government will set up partnerships with the private sector to address the growing numbers of shanty towns and attempt to re-house families in the same areas. Demolitions and resettlements have been met with resistance in the past.
2 min read
19 January, 2022
More than 150,000 families battle poverty and crime in corrugated metal and mud-built slums. [Getty]

Rabat - More than 150,000 Moroccan families are living in slums 17 years after the launch of a government program aimed at housing them, according to Moroccan Housing Minister Fatima Al-Zahra Al-Mansoori.

Shanty towns, known locally as "Karianat" or "Lbrarek", are located on the outskirts of cities and mostly inhabited by people who escaped the countryside's scarce job opportunities.

Moroccan authorities have spent more than 4 billion Moroccan Dirham (4.3 billion US dollars) since 2004, in an attempt to end poor housing in slums. The initiative has "improved" the conditions of around 300,000 families, according to the housing ministry.

During Monday's parliamentary question session, the recently appointed minister said however that the governmental program, which had committed to a complete end to slums in Morocco by 2020, "is still far from achieving the goal" and "has reached its limit".

“The ministry is moving towards a new approach to combating inappropriate housing,” added the housing minister.

The housing ministry's approach depends on "using smart census in lieu of the restrictive census", which should enable the ministry to remain updated on the increasing number of shanty towns in the kingdom. Minister al-Mansoori did not articulate further on the distinction between the smart census and the restrictive census.

Thanks to a partnership with the private sector, the new approach also aims to re-house families in the same areas of the shanty towns, or in their surroundings, “within possible limits”.

The government's announcement gave hope to many Moroccan families who have been at loggerheads with authorities for many years, often confronting bulldozers with their own bodies and refusing to be resettled far away from the places of their childhood.

60-year-old Aisha has spent most of her life in a shanty town in the Haj Mansour area in the city of Kenitra. “This is good news. Hopefully it will not take a long time to become true. I want to witness the end of our decades long misery fraught with poverty and crimes before my death,” she told The New Arab.