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King Mohammed VI Welcomes Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Marrakech

Remarks Emphasize Role of Business, Women, and Youth in Global Stability, Growth

Vice President Biden Announces New Investment Initiatives

Washington, DC (November 20, 2014) — Today King Mohammed VI welcomed guests of the fifth Global Entrepreneurship Summit, which opened yesterday in Marrakech, Morocco under the theme, “Harnessing the Power of Technology for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.” Several thousand entrepreneurs, business leaders and government officials from around the world gathered for the three-day conference to attend a myriad of networking opportunities, panel discussions, and workshops.

“We are proud that this Summit, which was launched in 2009 by President Barack Obama, is being held for the first time on African soil,” said the King in a message delivered by Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane. “In keeping with its core values and basic principles, Morocco believes wholeheartedly in the Summit’s objectives. It has been devoting its energies to promoting human and sustainable development and investing in entrepreneurship.” Speaking as the country’s head religious figure, he emphasized that Islam “does not object to profit. On the contrary, it encourages the entrepreneurial spirit, personal fulfillment and promotion based on merit.”

King Mohammed VI lauded entrepreneurs as “people who challenge the established order and the status quo. They do not hesitate to respond – at their own level – to needs that are yet to be identified, that are unmet or that are new.” He called entrepreneurship and innovation “springboards for freedom, social mobility and prosperity.”

The themes of stability and prosperity were echoed in remarks by US officials at the Summit. “Entrepreneurship is one of America’s greatest assets and exports… The President knows that opportunity for business creators to thrive is the foundation for a rising middle class, for security and stability, and for broad based prosperity,” said US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, speaking to an audience of women entrepreneurs yesterday for the Summit’s “Women’s Entrepreneurship Day.”

The King’s remarks also acknowledged the importance of empowering women and youth business leaders. “To overcome the pessimism that has plagued our continent, our governments should instill self-confidence in our young people so that they can believe in their ability to learn and to become entrepreneurs…. The same applies to female entrepreneurship, which holds so much promise for our economies and our societies that we all need to encourage it….”

In his keynote address at the Summit, Vice President Joseph Biden—who was serenaded on stage by the audience for his 72nd birthday—emphasized the strength of the US-Morocco relationship, saying that “what most people do not realize is that Morocco holds a special place in the hearts of Americans.” He announced the launch of several initiatives aimed at encouraging entrepreneurship in Morocco and the region, including: the “Global Innovation through Science and Technology’s Network,” which will “provide science and technology entrepreneurs with online resources and mentorship to collaborate, seek funding, and grow their businesses”; a $50 million investment in Morocco through the Millennium Challenge Corporation for 2015; and the opening of a new vocational school for mechanics in Morocco through UN agency UNIDO, USAID, the OCP Foundation, and Sweden’s Volvo Group.

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Contact: Jordana Merran, 301.873.4484

The Moroccan American Center for Policy (MACP) is a non-profit organization whose principal mission is to inform opinion makers, government officials, and interested publics in the United States about political and social developments in Morocco and the role being played by the Kingdom of Morocco in broader strategic developments in North Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East.

This material is distributed by the Moroccan American Center for Policy on behalf of the Government of Morocco. Additional information is available at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC.

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