Closed: Call for Solutions – Morocco

CFYE strives to disrupt the employment status quo for Moroccan youth. We are calling for innovative private-sector-led solutions that create, improve, or match decent work for youth in Morocco, with a focus on women in particular.  Please direct any queries to  

For more information on our work in Morocco, please visit the Morocco Portfolio page. 

Deadline – 4 September (EOD, local time) 2023

The Challenge

Morocco, a country of 37.7 million, is one of the best performing economies of North Africa. It has proven itself as a reliable center for manufacturing, and its geographical location has enabled cost and time efficiency to serve markets across Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.   

However, while there has been a significant push by the government to reduce dependence on the agricultural sector and modernize the economy through years of sustained reforms, the private sector’s growth has not kept pace with the labor supply.  In recent years, the working-age population has been growing by an average of roughly 400,000 annually, with a mere 140,000 new jobs created every year.   

A low-skilled yet growing workforce, low job creation, and a weak entrepreneurial culture have led to sluggish growth and serve as major impediments preventing Morocco from reaching its full economic potential. Nearly half (46%) of Morocco’s population is under the age of 25. Educational institutions and vocational training programs produce mixed outcomes, and new labor market entrants are ill-prepared for both the technical and soft skills required for the available jobs.     

This phenomenon of low job demand and a mismatch of skills gives rise to alarming unemployment figures; in urban areas, youth unemployment is close to 40%. In rural areas, these figures are much lower at 11.3%, where employment for youth is mostly driven by informal jobs in the agricultural sector. Over half of urban women remain unemployed (50.9%). Paradoxically, these figures are even higher for women with graduate degrees, evidencing a lack of support structures and conservative norms vis a vis women’s employment.      

We observe four key challenges to youth employment in Morocco:  low job creation, lack of inclusion, skills mismatch, and poor quality of jobs. 

Action is needed to stimulate economic growth, tackle the skills mismatch in the labour market, address the exclusion of women and youth from the labor force, and improve the decency of existing jobs. The Challenge Fund for Youth Employment will focus on co-funding initiatives with short to medium-term impacts, which consider the structural barriers and test innovative approaches that carry spill-over effects at the macroeconomic level. 

Call for Solutions

This second call for solutions in Morocco is focused on green and digital jobs, and proposals from other sectors will not be considered. Hence, we specifically invite proposals in the Green and Digital sub-sectors based on their perceived high opportunities for youth. These include, but are not limited to, sustainable agriculture, green energy, Agtech, e-commerce platforms, ICT/digital services, waste management, recycling industry, and circular economy.  

CFYE will co-invest in innovative private sector-led initiatives that enable businesses to create or improve the employment of youth. All projects should result in decent employment for young people (aged 15 to 35), especially young women. 

CFYE is looking for solutions structured around two exclusive windows, explained below. 

CFYE will collaborate with private sector firms in Green and Digital, that can generate employment opportunities for youth, especially women, provided their business models are scalable and sustainable. Proposals for initiatives/projects should address specific challenges related to creating scalable business solutions for increased and improved job opportunities for youth, with a specific focus on women. 

Key dates: 

  • Opening: Our Morocco Call for Solutions launched on 29 July 2023. 
  • Webinar: The pre-recorded webinar on this page provides information on CFYE’s selection priorities in Morocco, key evaluation criteria, and further details on the submission process.
  • Deadline: The Concept Notes submission deadline is 4 September 2023.


This Call for Solutions will prioritize projects operating in either the digital or green streams or in both. These two streams are defined as follows: 



Digital Business Development Services refer to the use of digital technologies to enhance and optimize business development processes. Digital BDS aims to help businesses leverage the power of digital technologies to improve their operations and drive growth in today’s increasingly digital world.

This includes companies engaged in ICT, offshoring services, e-commerce, online employment support services, and digitization of business solutions (sector-agnostic), and can also encompass AgriTech, FinTech, EdTech, and HealthTech, where companies aim to digitize their business offerings.


Green jobs are key to addressing climate change and promoting sustainable economic development. They refer to employment opportunities in industries contributing to environmental sustainability and the transition towards a more sustainable economy. Green jobs are typically associated with efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote renewable energy, conserve natural resources, and minimise pollution and waste.

This includes companies involved in waste management, recycling, renewable energy, agriculture and agribusiness, sustainable construction, electric mobility, eco-tourism, and circular economy (sector-agnostic), where companies seek to implement green practices throughout their value chain.

Solutions presented should always show a clear pathway to job creation or improvement.   

Applications aimed at expanding job opportunities in  less developed less developed regions will be regarded favourably during evaluation.    

Applicants’ use of environmentally sustainable practices, such as renewable energy, and an integrated strategy for social inclusion (for example, working with female-led suppliers or community inclusion) will also be regarded favourably during evaluation.   

Eligibility Criteria for All Windows

1. Principles: Should adhere to CFYE’s guiding principles & priorities.

2. Exclusion Criteria: the project and organizations involved in delivering the project must pass the FMO exclusion criteria.

Applicant Criteria

1. Operational Criteria:

  • The lead applicant, or at least one of the consortium partners, must have a local operating presence in the country. 
  • The applicant must be able to begin operations no later than January 2024. 

2. Applicant Profile:

  • We invite applications from private sector companies, as we believe that private sector involvement is the most effective way to develop and test market-based solutions that respond to the challenge of youth employment.   
  • We actively welcome partnerships or consortium responses to this challenge (private sector/civil society organisations and NGOS or private sector/government institutions or international missions). 
  • Business accelerators and impact investors are also eligible. 
  • In the case of non-profit entities, they must apply in consortium with a private-sector partner with confirmed labour demand.  
  • We have a strong preference to work with fast-growing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).  

Project/Solution Criteria

1. Job Type: Jobs should focus on wage employment, partial self-employment or self-employment (auto-entrepreneurs)

2. Decency of Jobs: For any job created, matched or improved, the minimum monthly income (SMIG) should be at least 2,970 Moroccan Dirhams (2194 MAD for SMAG), with no more than 48 hours per week of work. This is subject to updates from the National Social Security Fund (CNSS). Jobs should be maintained for at least 6 months. Internships are not considered to be decent jobs.

3. Total Youth Job Targets: The project must meet the minimum eligibility criteria for job targets through a combination of CFYE categories: create, match, or improve, within the project timeframe (maximum 2 years). The minimum job targets are as follows: 

  • Window 1: 350+ jobs  
  • Window 2: 200+ jobs    

Higher job targets showing cost-effectiveness will be regarded favourably during evaluation.   

4. Gender Targets: Of the totalall youth employment created, matched, or improved, at least 33% should be for women. Higher women inclusion targets will be regarded favourably during evaluation. 

5. Budget Guidelines:  

  • The minimum contribution of the fund is €100,000. This should be matched by a co-investment that is at least equal to the contribution requested. Sources of co-funding must follow the guidance provided in the Concept Note guidance pack on the website.   
  • The CFYE contribution requested cannot exceed the total turnover of the Lead Applicant in the previous year (if the applicant has been operational for more than 1 year). Applications that require lower co-investment by CFYE will be viewed favourably. The suggested range for CFYE co-investment is 30-50%.    
  • There is no maximum grant amount stipulated, but we will consider whether the budget is realistic and whether the applicant can raise the required co-funding. We will also assess if the cost per job is competitive.   
  1. The suggested range for Cost per job to CFYE (Total CFYE co-investment / total # of jobs) is between 300-800 Euros.
  2. Projects with a higher budget than this range may be considered if there is a compelling and feasible developmental additionality (e.g. very high inclusion of women or high inclusion of youth in remotely located areas). 
  3. Projects that demonstrate value for money and cost-effectiveness will be viewed favourably during evaluation.   
  4. The company’s in-kind contributions must not exceed 30% of its total co-investment.   
  5. The capital investment (capex) request from CFYE must not exceed 33% of the total investment.   

6. Youth: The jobs created, matched, or improved must be for youth aged 18-35 years. The proposal must demonstrate that the aspirations and requirements of youth have been taken into consideration in the design of the concept.

7. Project Duration: The project duration must be a maximum of two years (project implementation deadline is June 2026).

8. Additionality: Additionality is a central consideration in the review of proposed projects. CFYE will only provide support to solutions/projects/initiatives that would not be implemented within the same timelines, at the same scale, or with the same level of impact without CFYE’s assistance. 

Large enterprises are welcome to apply but must demonstrate strong additionality of CFYE co-funding. 

Job types/outcomes

The following section explains the different job types that are expected to be generated through the projects submitted by Applicants.  


  • Young people gain employment as a result of newly created decent work (job opportunity that did not exist before CFYE intervention) and income opportunities 
  • Young people gain employment who did not have work and income at all before CFYE intervention 

Channels: Jobs created directly through CFYE Implementing Partners (IPs) as well as jobs created indirectly in the CFYE IPs value chain (up and down the value chain). Created jobs can be full time or part time. 

Below are some examples of jobs that fall under the CREATE category: 

  • A new production line is built and young people are employed in newly added roles as a result of CFYE intervention 
  • Young people with no previous employment are hired as a result of CFYE intervention 
  • New self-employment ventures started by young people receiving entrepreneurship support (financial and non-financial) 


Young people who are currently employed are hired/contracted into other decent jobs through CFYE supported job placement/matching services following a CFYE skill development intervention. 

Below are some examples of jobs that fall under the MATCH category: 

  • Young people trained to work in the ICT sector who are then hired into jobs at digital service companies  
  • Young people receiving jobs through a Fund-supported digital matching platform. 


Young people experience direct tangible improvements in the quality of the work/roles they already have (existing jobs/employees) in terms of income, benefits, working hours, work/life balance, health and safety, social protection and job security etc… 

Below are some examples of jobs that fall under the IMPROVE category: 

  • Increase in average monthly income, salary or revenue as a result of CFYE intervention  
  • Promotions resulting from a CFYE intervention 
  • Employees of supported IPs going from having no formal agreement with their employer to a written contract specifying terms of employment 
  • Change from having inadequate preventive measures to protect them from workplace hazards to having appropriate measures in place 

Want to apply?

Download the application brochure below. You can find the link to our application portal in Concept Note Template and Guidance.

Relevant Documentation

Want to know what to expect in our application process? Please have a look at the below documents.

Competitive Process

The Challenge Fund for Youth Employment will apply a competitive process to select the projects that will receive a grant. That means that only those projects that present a clear and convincing pathway to employment, lead to significant and sustainable results in terms of decent employment for youth, with a focus on young women, and can demonstrate high leverage will be selected. 

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