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Dakhla and Laayoune

The Department of State “Promoting Economic Opportunity in Dakhla and Laayoune” project has boosted sustainable, private sector employment and economic opportunity among youth, women, and disadvantaged groups in Dakhla and Laayoune by creating a comprehensive database and analysis of constraints and opportunities.

In Phase One, JAA engaged with local leadership groups to ensure stakeholder support and trust, and then implemented their Manual for Action in the Private Sector (MAPS) toolkit for private sector mapping, SME random sample surveys, focus groups, and benchmarking. Working with the World Economic Forum’s city competitiveness framework indicators, JAA ranked Dakhla and Laayoune each year of the project to demonstrate progress to both NEA and local stakeholders.

In Phase Two, based on the analysis completed in phase one, JAA presented an options menu of potential initiatives for a pilot project. JAA collaborated with NEA to create a set of criteria to evaluate the initiatives. JAA used a three-to-one strategy to coach three initiatives for the first 2-3 months of implementation. This project has increased annual job growth for target groups by 30% above the current annual rate. Additionally, the private sector mapping and survey results has informed action by local governments, private sector, and civil society and has provided a benchmark to measure future progress.

Improving digitalization is another key aspect of this project. Two digital platforms (one for each city) have been created for small-scale entrepreneurs to sell their products and share their stories. The project completed the first phase of the Digital Platform for Dakhla which was well-received by stakeholders especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The project has also launched an online market for women artisans in Dakhla to sell homemade products.

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