* Prof. Ricardo René Larémont discusses draft of his latest paper, “Morocco After the Arab Uprisings:
Evolution rather than Revolution,” at think tank roundtable at Fund for Peace *
MOTM — On Friday, September 27, Professor Ricardo René Larémont presented a draft of his latest paper, “Morocco After the Arab Uprisings: Evolution rather than Revolution,” to members of the think tank community in Washington, DC.
Held at the Fund for Peace, the roundtable event led to a spirited discussion of Morocco’s long march toward reform and democratization, as compared to the sudden, violent, and often-failed calls for reform that have come to characterize the experience of other MENA countries during the Arab Spring.
What made Morocco’s experience of evolution, rather than revolution, possible?
According to Larémont, King Mohammed VI’s political capital was an important factor. As his family has ruled Morocco since the mid-1600s and traces its lineage back to the prophet Mohammed, King Mohammed VI boasts the political and religious legitimacy needed to “lead from above” in ushering in change.
Were his influence any less sure-handed, the process of reform could have been much messier and more uncertain, more easily stalled or sabotaged by interested parties.
Participants at the roundtable, which included fellows at CSIS, the Atlantic Council, the IMF, and Fund for Peace, also noted that opposition groups were quite different in Morocco than elsewhere in the region, which resulted in a reform agenda that was clearer and less confrontational that in other countries.
Larémont added that there is more room for constructive dialogue and policy reform in places like Morocco, which could become a model for the rest of the region.
How can Morocco’s drive for reform continue?
Investment across a broad range of sectors, and expanding education—particularly among women—will fuel progress in myriad areas, agreed the experts. Reform of subsidies and banking reform was also mentioned along with creating a more proactive environment for start-ups and entrepreneurs.
The group agreed that forging a better link between education and the labor market is a crucial next step.
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