The Morocco of Mohammed VI

Hearing King Mohammed VI’s speech, one is assured of the Moroccan exception, which lies in the constant and in-depth review and improvement of the country’s experience during the era it entered 20 years ago.
Saturday 03/08/2019
Anniversary celebration. Morocco’s King Mohammed VI attends a ceremony of allegiance in Tetouan, Morocco, July 31.  (AP)
Anniversary celebration. Morocco’s King Mohammed VI attends a ceremony of allegiance in Tetouan, Morocco, July 31. (AP)

One could use many words to qualify Moroccan King Mohammed VI’s speech commemorating the 20th anniversary of his accession to the throne. One word, however, keeps coming back: continuity. In 20 years, the Moroccan monarch has spared no effort to preserve the line of conduct that leads to one target: the Moroccan citizen.

Hearing King Mohammed VI’s speech, one is assured of the Moroccan exception, which lies in the constant and in-depth review and improvement of the country’s experience during the era it entered 20 years ago.

During the two decades of King Mohammed VI’s rule, Morocco has looked at reality with a critical eye.

The new Moroccan model achieved very positive results, both internally and externally, in many areas but this model has shown shortcomings that need to be addressed, including obstacles that cause some companies to refrain from investing in Morocco, which results in the loss of many potential jobs. King Mohammed VI does not hesitate to point out and focus on shortcomings wherever they exist.

Once again, the 55-year-old king’s speech placed the Moroccan citizen at the centre of his attention and that of the government. King Mohammed VI called for reviewing the country’s developmental model so all sections of society benefit from social justice. A special committee has been established to review and adjust Morocco’s development model. The committee was empowered to seek and tell the truth and propose solutions.

A special focus was placed on Morocco’s middle class because it represents the safety valve for Morocco to embark on new horizons and work on public-sector reform that would improve public administration.

Throughout King Mohammed VI’s speech, there was an insistence on speeding economic reform, especially that strategic bets have been placed on the important sector, including opening Morocco’s economy to foreign investment.

Yes, Morocco is entering a new phase based on a new generation of projects that calls for a new elite of courageous cadres capable of pumping new blood that can make a fundamental change. This challenge requires a collective mobilisation for achieving a developed and advanced Morocco.

Two statements in the king’s speech are noteworthy. First, he pointed out that the celebration of Throne Day — July 30 — was “the most momentous occasion to affirm our firm attachment to our Moroccan Sahara, our national and territorial unity and our full sovereignty over every inch of our kingdom.” In other words, there is no room for compromise regarding Western Sahara.

The second noteworthy statement regarded the kingdom’s relations with Algeria. “We reaffirm our sincere commitment to our extended-hand approach to our brothers in Algeria, in fulfilment of the ties of brotherhood, religion, language and good-neighbourliness, that forever unite our two brotherly peoples,” declared King Mohammed VI.

The end of the speech covered the kingdom’s current reality and what needs to be achieved in the immediate future. King Mohammed VI said: “Morocco belongs to all Moroccans and it is our common home. All of us, each of us, must contribute to its construction and development and to the preservation of its unity, security and stability.

“(We mean) a Morocco where all Moroccans can find a place and enjoy, without exception or discrimination, equal rights and equal duties, in total freedom and human dignity.”

In short, we have in Morocco an Arab country without complexes. This is an exception to the rule. Only a handful of other Arab countries can compare to Morocco. In Morocco, we find a perfect symbiosis between the regent family and the ordinary citizen.

King Mohammed VI’s 20-year rule has created a reality that is elegantly backed by reliable figures. There is progress in all areas of the country’s life and the lives of its citizens. We can clearly see the state’s investment in its citizens before anything else.

There is a constant return to the values held high by King Mohammed VI since he was the crown prince. He believed then, as he believes now, in the war on poverty and the disappearance of shantytowns in Morocco is an eloquent proof of that. This is natural since, in Morocco, waging war on poverty means removing all the factors that can help the emergence of extremism and terrorism.

In a world without mercy, Morocco has found its place. It is close to Europe and a bridge between Europe and Africa. In 20 years, there is a strong thread that connects all the stages that Morocco has experienced recently, a thread that depends on continuity and on investment in humankind at the same time.

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