Morocco Celebrates 21st Anniversary of King Mohammed VI's Enthronement

On the occasion of the celebration by the Kingdom of Morocco on July 30,  the Kingdom of Morocco celebrates the 21st anniversary of the accession to the Throne of His Majesty King Mohammed VI; the throne of his glorious ancestors.

The Kingdom stands out for its remarkable political stability and its forward-looking economic policy. Since the enthronement of King Mohammed VI, the Kingdom of Morocco has faced changes in the implementation of numerous economic and social projects and the accomplishment of important achievement through the engagement in a process of profound reforms. These reforms have been carried mainly out of the political, economic, social, religious, justice and human rights fields: the creation of the instance of equity and reconciliation in the field of transitional justice, the reform of the justice and the reinforcement of its independence, the consolidation of the human rights and the adaptation of the new Constitution in 2011.

Morocco: strong commitment to promoting stability and security.

The Kingdom of Morocco maintains a strong commitment to promoting stability, peace and security be it on the international or regional levels. The orientations of the Kingdom of Morocco’s foreign policy converge with the principles of the United Nations. The participation of Morocco to the efforts of the international community to reinforce the peace and security reflects its adhesion to peaceful conflict resolution and to international law through mediation, contribution to peacekeeping operations, political dialogue and cooperative measures for development. In this regard, and with the same spirit, Morocco took part in diverse UN Peacekeeping Operations in Africa, in addition to playing the role of mediator in African conflict resolution. Morocco’s contribution in this field was particularly appreciated through the mediation of His Majesty the King Mohammed VI, in 2007, at the Rabat Summit held by the UN, aimed at stabilizing the Mano River basin and which gave place to trust measures between countries of the Union, bringing on a new dynamic for peace.

As a stable country in a region afflicted by increasing terrorist activity, Morocco is committed to promoting regional security. Its multifaceted approach to countering terrorism doesn’t include only hard security measures, regional cooperation and intelligence sharing, but also measures to counter violent extremism through legislation, democratic reform, inclusive development and the promotion of both a moderate Islam within its borders and in the African Continent and the promotion of serene relations and mutual understanding with other religions. In this regard, Morocco launched, in March 2015, the “Mohammed VI Institute for the Training of Imams, Morchidines and Morchidates”, to teach moderate Islam and permit to next generations of Muslim religious leaders from across the region to be able to counter extremist interpretations of Islam. This Institute is currently training hundreds imams and mourchidates from Africa and Europe.

The “Foundation for African Oulema”, was also launched in Morocco in July 2015, as support for Moroccan and African theologians and scholars in promoting religious tolerance and moderation in the continent.

With regard to migration, and to approach this phenomenon, which is a source of human suffering and insecurity, the Kingdom of Morocco has developed a proactive, considerate and humanistic policy, since it has become in recent years a favorite destination for many illegal migrants from sub-Saharan Africa. Guided by a spirit of solidarity, and within the framework of its new migration policy based on a humanistic ground, responsible procedures and full respect for the fundamental human rights of migrants and refugees, the Moroccan Government has launched several regularization operations of the situation of thousands of sub-Saharan citizens.

Morocco: Gateway to Africa.

The Kingdom of Morocco enjoys political stability, robust infrastructure, and a strategic location, which have contributed to its emergence as a regional manufacturing and export base for international companies. Morocco is actively encouraging and facilitating foreign investment, particularly in export sectors like manufacturing, through macro-economic policies, trade liberalization, investment incentives, and structural reforms. At the level of cooperatives measures for development, the Kingdom of Morocco has initiated with many African countries a rich and diverse bilateral cooperation, based on a true partnership and effective cohesion, in addition to various programs of trilateral cooperation.

Deeply rooted in Africa, and considering Africa as its natural home, Morocco has expanded its economic ties and developed strong bilateral relations with many African countries, mainly through trade and investments. With the important involvement of Moroccan economic operators and their strong engagement, Morocco became a more prominent investor in the African Continent in the areas of banking, insurance, air transport, telecommunications and housing.

Morocco's overarching economic development plan seeks to transform the country into a regional business hub by leveraging its unique status as a multilingual, cosmopolitan nation situated at the crossroad of the tri-regional focal point of Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. In recent years, this strategy increasingly influenced Morocco's relationship and role on the African continent.

The Government of Morocco has implemented a series of strategies aimed at boosting employment, attracting foreign investment, and raising performance and output in key revenue-earning sectors, such as the automotive and aerospace industries. In 2018, Morocco shared with South Africa top rank of foreign direct investment (FDI) destinations in Africa.

As part of a government-wide strategy to strengthen its position as an African financial hub, Morocco offers incentives for firms that locate their regional headquarters in Morocco, such as the Casablanca Finance City (CFC), Morocco's flagship financial and business hub launched in 2010.

Morocco's return to the African Union in January 2017 and the launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) in March 2018 provide Morocco further opportunities to promote foreign investment and trade and accelerate economic development. In late 2018, Morocco's long-anticipated high-speed train began service connecting Casablanca, Rabat, and the port city of Tangier.

Morocco has ratified 69 bilateral investment treaties for the promotion and protection of investments and 60 economic agreements - including with the United States and most EU nations - that aim to eliminate the double taxation of income or gains. Morocco's Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States entered into force in 2006, eliminating tariffs on more than 95% of qualifying consumer and industrial goods. The Government of Morocco plans to phase out tariffs for a limited number of products through 2030. Within the framework of its global openness and liberalization strategy, Morocco has set up during the last decade a legal framework conducive to developing its commercial relations with some of its potential partners, through the conclusion of free trade agreements either bilaterally or regionally. These agreements have also helped accelerate the pace of Morocco's reforms, notably by modernizing the legislative and regulatory framework for foreign trade, simplifying procedures, improving the business climate and the competitive capacity of domestic enterprises, as well as promoting foreign investment. Enhanced connectivity is an important pillar of Morocco's economic development strategy.

Connectivity also plays an important part in Morocco's drive for better regional integration. The Kingdom is increasingly involved with West Africa and across the continent as it continues to expand its regional leadership role. Over the past two decades, Morocco has invested heavily in its road, sea, rail and air transport system and has emerged as an African transport and logistics hub.

Morocco's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the leadership of King Mohammed VI, to manage the COVID-19 health crisis and limit the spread of the pandemic, Morocco was among the first countries to have implemented strict and precautionary measures to curb the spread of the pandemic. This has made of Morocco a model for neighboring countries in terms of managing this health crisis. Morocco's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, guided by a Royal Vision, is based on the pillars of anticipation, proactivity and the primacy of the health of citizens.

This Royal Vision is implemented through an approach associating all officials of Moroccan administrations and public establishments, as well as security forces, to coordinate the implementation of the state of health emergency and make citizens aware of the importance of the measures adopted. The King Mohammed VI has had to take aggressive, even draconian actions in order to keep the health care system from getting overwhelmed. Action began with early border closures. Authorities shut down air and sea links with Spain and France on March 13th . On the same day, schools, cafes, restaurants, bars, cinemas, sports facilities and other public spaces were closed. The Supreme Council of Ulemas, Morocco’s highest religious institution, issued a fatwa (religious edict), to close all mosques. On March 15th, the government announced the suspension of all international flights into and out of Morocco.

On March 20, the State of emergency was officially enacted when the country only had 77 cases, with a nationwide lockdown, along with a nightly curfew from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. during the lockdown all Public events were suspended, movement within cities were firmly controlled, and between cities was banned. On April 7, the Moroccans authorities began requiring to all their citizens to wear masks outside their homes. At the time, most other countries were just recommending their use. In response to the new demand, the Ministry of Industry revved up production of masks, with Moroccan factories producing 7 million per day as of early May, some of which are being shipped overseas to countries like France and Spain.

Moroccan companies also began producing ventilators in early April and are now exporting them, too. On the economic front, His Majesty the King Mohamed VI established a Special Fund for the Management and Response to COVID-19 in March, worth more than $1 billion. It subsequently grew, through contributions from the Kingdom’s leading companies, parliamentarians and Moroccan citizens, to more than $3 billion. Early on, some of this money was used to purchase needed medical equipment, but it also has helped mitigate some of the economic consequences of the pandemic, including through payments of roughly $200 per month to workers who have lost their jobs. On June 15th, the King Mohamed VI of Morocco has given the order to send medical aid to 15 African countries to combat COVID-19 : 8 million masks, 900,000 protective screens, 600,000 surgical caps, 60,000 gowns, 30,000 liters of hydro alcoholic gel, 75,000 boxes of the drug Chloroquine and 75,000 boxes of the drug azithromycin will be distributed. This solidarity action is part of the implementation of the Initiative launched by His Majesty the King on 13 April 2020, as a pragmatic and action-oriented approach aimed at sisterly African countries, which allows for an exchange of experiences and good practices and seeks to establish an operational framework to support their efforts in the different phases of the management of the pandemic. The products and protective equipment that make up the medical aid sent to the African sister countries are manufactured in Morocco by Moroccan companies and comply with the standards of the World Health Organization (WHO). Certain European political figures praised Morocco’s strategy of containing the spread of Coronavirus.

The European commission congratulated Morocco on its coronavirus response, which spared the country thousands of deaths and protected its health infrastructure through a mix of lockdown measures and social and economic support. The EU neighborhood and enlargement commissioner, Olivér Várhelyi, said “Morocco is not only a close neighbor, the country is also a stable and trusted partner that has acted rapidly to contain the spread of the pandemic”. During his statement in the French National Assembly, Jean Luc Melenchon, French politician, considered Morocco’s response as inspirational. He said “Morocco has performed well in its plan to combat Covid-19 by commandeering its textile industry to make protective masks.”

In neighboring Spain, the President of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Senate, Antonio Gutierrez Limones, described the Moroccan response as efficient and effective; “Morocco has launched the largest field hospital in Africa, which was completed in two weeks, with a capacity of more than 700 beds, while more than 83 million masks have been produced.” Today, over four months into the crisis, Morocco has one of the lowest fatality rates (deaths in proportion to total infections) in the world (less than 2.6%) and 90% of the cases have already recovered by imposing strict lockdown rules, Morocco managed to contain a wider spread of the epidemic, sparing the health system and its 9,200 public sector doctors from severe stress. As lockdown measures are gradually being eased across the territory, Morocco’s social interactions and economic activities are progressively returning to a semi-normal status. The virus threat remains ever-present, requiring close attention from public authorities to avoid a second epidemic wave.

Main photo: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of His Majesty the King of Morocco to Ukraine, Armenia and Georgia, Ms Faouz EL ACHCHABI

30 July 2020 10:45