Morocco’s model for reform and economic development is the key to its stability and leadership in the region:
[...] The remedy to this situation is democracy and bottom-up economic development. While the former is messy and takes time to put down roots, the latter can be achieved through well-directed policies. The essence of this has been well understood by Morocco. Its monarch King Mohammed VI was quick to recognize the need for reforms when the Arab Spring wave washed up on the shores of the north African nation. In response, the monarch ordered the drafting of a new Moroccan Constitution, devolved much of his powers to the elected government and called for fresh elections to reflect the new reality. As a result, Morocco was spared the chaos and convulsions of the Arab Spring and today plays a vital role in fighting the scourge of extremist Islamism sweeping through the region.
Towards that end, one of the critical things that Morocco has tried to focus on is enhancing economic cooperation in the region. It has tried to push infrastructure development and capacity building through sustainable policies. A key example of this is the Casablanca Finance City initiative. The latter’s aim is to establish a finance hub for the region in Morocco’s economic center by providing incentives such as tax breaks to national and international companies. The idea is to attract investments and funnel these to other countries of north Africa and the Sahel through durable partnerships as opposed to top-down aid.
Only when the region starts winning the war against poverty and inequality that it will also start winning the war against extremism. For, frustrated and unemployed youths make easy pickings for groups like ISIS who promise to take care of them. But if youths are gainfully employed and enjoy decent standards of living, then not only will they have a stake in the development of their respective countries but also be less inclined towards religious extremism…[Full Story]