Calls for Continued Emphasis on Growth and Human Development
This week, King Mohammed VI of Morocco made a speech on “King and People’s Revolution Day,” marking the exile of his grandfather King Mohammed V, which began Morocco’s drive for independence from France. He addressed the challenges that Morocco faces as an emerging nation if it is to continue its growth in a stable, equitable environment.
Rather than single out any specific strategy, the King pointed out that “there is no single model of an emerging nation. Each country has its own development process, which is based on its human, economic and natural resources, as well as on its cultural heritage. It is also contingent on the obstacles and difficulties each nation has to face.” He then tied together several streams of activities that are requisites for a balanced national strategy.
He began by noting the beneficial results of having well detailed and thoughtful planning, both in terms of the general economy and specific sectors, such as agriculture and fishing. The King also mentioned how economic reforms are part and parcel of Morocco’s ability to attract investments in industrial sectors.
King Mohammed then focused on the contributions that resulted from the dynamism generated by the infrastructure priorities of the government, including ports, industrial zones, and renewable energies. After complimenting the Office Cherifien des Phosphates (OCP) for its global leadership in food security, the King gave particular attention to the renewable energy sector, which “is a further illustration of our capacity to rise to the challenge, thanks to an early clear vision, as well as precise priority planning to meet our country’s needs and reduce foreign energy dependence by relying on our own renewable resources.”
Another area mentioned by King Mohammed was the need to build on existing trade and investment agreements and commitments to enhance the country’s competitiveness and improve job prospects of Moroccans. He said, “Morocco needs to take a few more steps to confidently move forward and join emerging nations.” Referring to trade agreements that Morocco has with Arab and African countries, the EU, and the US, and improving ties with Russia and China, he went on to say that “the gains achieved should not, however, be a motive for self-satisfaction, but a strong catalyst for further efforts and continued mobilization. As a matter of fact, if the Moroccan economy is to emerge, it should rely on its potential and the joint efforts of all actors; otherwise it is bound to miss a historic opportunity.”
Among the challenges the King singled out was competitiveness of export companies. “Unfortunately, Morocco is clearly lagging behind in this respect because of a weak, disorganized industrial sector and competition from the informal sector. In such a situation, strong corporations and businesses have to be set up to boost the immunity of the national economy, both to enhance international competitiveness and develop partnerships with small businesses in order to stimulate growth at home.”
Never far from his thinking is the invaluable contribution to the country’s future that can be made by a skilled work force. “The key to enhancing competitiveness and meeting development and job market needs is to have qualified human resources. The latter are also necessary to be in tune with the evolution and diversification of the national economy.” Young people are particularly important, and the King noted, “Thanks to their patriotism and creative genius, I am confident that our young people can achieve their country’s development and ensure its access to the club of emerging nations.”
King Mohammed then linked improved job prospects to the overall reform agenda of the country, as he believes that good governance is essential for balanced economic growth to be achieved. “It is a fact that to catch up with emerging nations, we have to continue improving the business environment. This can be achieved especially by pressing ahead with administrative and judicial reforms, combating corruption and moralizing public life, which is not exclusively the State’s responsibility, but that of society as a whole, individuals and associations.” Labor unions received a specific nod for their role in advancing Morocco’s future while contributing to social stability.
The speech was both a checklist of what Morocco has done and also a reminder that there is much to do to achieve equitable, responsible, sustainable development. The King’s continued insistence on addressing the country’s issues in terms of an integrated social, economic, and governance strategy reflects the reality that Morocco has the stability to plan and implement long-term projects despite continuing challenges.