The programme “Promotion of economic and rural development in disadvantaged regions” is embedded into the German Government’s special initiative “Stabilization and Development in the Middle East and North Africa”. The expected outcome of the programme is to improve the economic performance of the local population in the provinces of Ouarzazate, Midelt, Tinghir, Tata, and Zagora. These five provinces which are partly located in the High Atlas mountains belong to the poorest provinces of the country. The local economy is largely dominated by smallholder agriculture, handicraft and tourism.
The programme comprises four fields of action: 1) Set-up of the institutional framework for local economic development, 2) Creation of added value and market access, 3) Set up and structuring demand-oriented extension services, and 4) Strategic concept for knowledge management. Within this programme, the consortium is in charge of the implementation of field of action 3 which aims at setting up and strengthening public and private business support services for local small and medium enterprises (SME). It is therefore expected to achieve the following output: “An advice of local business partners to existing support and facilitation services is ensured”.
To achieve this output, the consortium’s team of experts cooperates closely with the regional business chambers (Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Chamber of Crafts, Chamber of Agriculture), their associated business membership organizations as well as with new forms of extension delivery which are partly yet to be set up (nucleus services, networks of young business consultants). Another part of the contract is to contribute to the set-up of the programme’s knowledge management system under field of action 4.