Viewpoint: His Majesty King Mohammed VI
Morocco has made great strides in infrastructure development, including in highway construction, highspeed railway, major ports, renewable energy facilities, and urban development and revamping. We have also made significant progress in promoting rights and freedoms, and consolidating sound democratic practice.
Nevertheless, I realise that, though important, infrastructure development and institutional reforms are not enough on their own. Let me say this clearly and frankly: what undermines this positive result is that the effects of the progress and the achievements made have not been felt by all segments of a Moroccan society. Indeed, some citizens may not directly feel a positive impact on their living conditions, especially in the areas of basic social services, the reduction of social disparities and the consolidation of the middle class. For this reason, I have attached particular importance to human development programmes, social policies and the need to respond to Moroccans’ pressing concerns. As I said in 2018’s address, there will be no peace of mind for me so long as we have not properly tackled the hurdles in our way and found the right solutions to development and social issues. This, however, cannot be achieved without a comprehensive vision, without qualified human resources and adequate conditions to carry out planned projects.
In recent years our development model has proven to be inadequate in terms of helping us meet the growing needs of a segment of the population, reduce social inequalities and tackle regional disparities. For this reason, I have called for revisiting that model and updating it. I, personally, do not like setting up ad-hoc committees to tackle issues; for some, this is the surest way to evade problems and walk away from them. However, in the past I did resort to setting up committees to tackle some key national issues, such as regionalisation, the amendment of the constitution, the Justice and Reconciliation Commission and family law. I was keen to ensure close follow-up of their work, and the results achieved were positive and constructive. I have therefore decided to set up an ad-hoc committee for the development model, which we will inaugurate in the autumn. As regards membership, I have seen to it that the committee includes representatives from various fields of knowledge and intellectual currents, including prominent Moroccans from the public and the private sectors who meet the requirements of competence and impartiality, who are able to feel the pulse of society, who understand its expectations and who have the nation’s best interests at heart.
I should like to emphasise, in this regard, that said committee will not serve as a second government or a parallel official institution. This is an advisory body with a specific time-bound mission.
It will have to take into consideration the major reforms introduced – as well as those to come – in a number of sectors, such as education, health, agriculture, investment and taxation. The committee is expected to make suggestions on how to improve these reforms and increase effectiveness. I expect the committee to be totally impartial and objective, and to report on facts as they are on the ground, however harsh or painful they may be. And when proposing solutions, I want it to be daring and innovative. In the meantime, work pertaining to the management of public affairs and response to citizens’ concerns must continue with greater commitment and a keener sense of responsibility. In particular, emphasis should be placed on improving basic social service delivery and enhancing the performance of public institutions. In parallel, I ask the government to start working on major, integrated next-generation sectoral plans, which will form the backbone of the new development model.
Revamping the nation’s development model is not an end in itself. Rather, it is a gateway to a new era – one into which I intend to take Morocco. The distinguishing features of this new period will be responsibility and the pursuit of a comprehensive take-off. It is a phase that holds great promise, because Morocco’s potential and competencies allow for greater accomplishments than what has been achieved so far.
Our main ambition is for Morocco to join the ranks of developed nations. Nevertheless, the new era we are about to enter is fraught with internal and external challenges to which we must rise. First is the challenge of enhancing trust and consolidating achievements. This is the recipe for success and a condition for fulfilling our ambitions. It concerns trust among citizens and trust in the national institutions that bring them together. It is about having faith in a better future.
Second is to avoid isolation, especially in sectors that require openness towards international experiences. This is a gateway to economic development and progress. It makes it possible for Moroccan businesses and operators to hone their competitive skills. Openness is a catalyst for investment and for the transfer of foreign expertise and know-how. Not only is it a driver for improved services and better training opportunities, but it also creates jobs. It is a fact that the state, the public sector and national professional institutions have made significant efforts to carry out their mission and improve performance. Nevertheless, some sectors and liberal professions, for instance, need to be open to international expertise and competencies, and to private investment, both domestic and foreign.
Many international companies and businesses have expressed a desire to invest and settle in Morocco. This is a matter of deep satisfaction because it is a sign of confidence in our country. However, the constraints imposed by some national laws and the fear and hesitation characterising the mindset of certain officials sometimes isolate Morocco or lead to damaging indecision. Those who refuse to open up to the outside world in certain sectors, arguing that it leads to lost jobs, do not care about Moroccans but fear, instead, for their own personal interests. As a matter of fact, increased foreign investment in those sectors would boost state efforts, not just by creating jobs, but also by promoting quality training, attracting expertise and showcasing successful experiences.
Third is the challenge of accelerating economic development and enhancing institutional efficiency. The aim is to build a strong, competitive economy by continuing to incentivise private entrepreneurship, launching new programmes for productive investment and creating more jobs. This requires greater institutional efficiency and a change in the mindset of those in charge. The public sector needs an immediate three-dimensional revolution: a revolution in simplification, efficiency and ethical standards. I have already drawn attention to the need to change and revamp work methods, and to show diligence and innovation in the management of public institutions.
Last is the challenge of social and regional justice. The aim is to complete the building of a nation of hope and equality for all: a country where there is no place for blatant inequalities, frustrating behaviour, a lack of housing or time and energy wasting. There must be a final break with such negative attitudes and conduct; we must uphold the values of hard work, responsibility, merit and equal opportunity.
For this new phase to be successful, all national institutions and actors concerned should be involved in injecting fresh momentum into economic and social development in our country. This requires collective mobilisation towards putting the interests of the homeland and the citizens above all else. In addition to the important role that has to be played by national institutions, I should like to emphasise the need for Moroccans to be involved, since the citizen is one of the most important actors to the success of this phase. I therefore call upon all Moroccans to make a positive contribution in keeping with a spirit of effective civic engagement. Indeed, the results we seek to achieve, the projects we implement and the initiatives we launch all have one goal: to improve citizens’ living conditions.
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