“Where others have deliberated, Morocco has delivered.” As Morocco celebrates 20 years of Mohammed VI’s reign, observers are heaping praise on the kingdom.
Rabat- As Morocco prepares to celebrate King Mohammed VI’ twenty years in power, international observers are chiming in to praise the political reforms and socio-economic transformations Morocco has seen over the past two decades.
In a recent opinion article for Daily Maverick, one of South Africa’s leading newspapers, Gregg Mills of the Benthurst Foundation, a Johannesburg-based think tank, extolled the transformations that have taken place in Morocco under King Mohammed’s guidance.
King Mohammed, Mills wrote, has propelled Morocco into the category of countries whose impressive changes in recent years mean they have gradually become of enormous importance in regional and global affairs.
Not only has Morocco changed on the domestic front, he argued, it is quickly becoming an inspiration for an Africa hungry for the kinds of development projects and social transformations that have become the signature of the King’s two decades in power.
With telling congratulatory language, the article noted, “The king has led a gradual liberalization of the country, rolling out big infrastructure projects including Africa’s only high-speed rail network and the continent’s largest port complex. Where others have deliberated, Morocco has delivered.”
The consensus among many Morocco-bound travelers is that places like Marrakech, Tangier, and Ouazazate, among others, are great holiday destinations. Nature is generous and hospitable in those places, while the urban infrastructure and city life graces visitors with the comfortable and cozy life most travelers crave.
While all that is a testament to a changing and vastly modernizing Morocco, the article contends, there is more to the North African kingdom’s success story than its exultant tourism and its mushrooming infrastructure.
There is also, among others: Tangiers’ Med I and II, the Casablanca-Tangier high-speed train, the Hassan Tower project, the Renault plant in Kenitra, the overall booming aeronautical and automotive sector, and the colossal investment in solar power at Noor’s Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) tower.
Morocco going through a ‘positive cycle’
All these massive projects point to a success ingrained in a measured combination of political will, qualified personnel, and a leadership operating with clear vision and a sense of responsibility to actually deliver.
“The lesson of Morocco’s contemporary success at delivering and then using efficiently big infrastructure assets is down to a combination of leadership, vision, delivery – of the need, simply, for both software and hardware. Just providing infrastructure is not enough. You need skills and systems too, and a supportive policy environment,” Mills explained.
On the political front, Morocco has gradually moved towards granting more rights to minorities.
This, according to the article, has been particularly visible in the advances that women rights have experienced in Morocco. In addition, there have been a series of government actions to achieve a more robust social inclusiveness (through social housing or university and vocational training scholarships for students from low-income backgrounds).
Another ingredient in Morocco’s “positive cycle” under King Mohammed VI’s direction has been the development of Morocco’s foreign relations by solidifying relationships with traditional partners and investing in new friendships.
The strategy seems to have yielded satisfying results. Morocco has secured “preferential trade relations with 55 countries,” while consolidating its continental leadership “through a big diplomatic and economic push into Africa.”
For Mohcine Jazouli, Morocco’s Delegate Minister for African Cooperation, the bulk of this progress boils down to King Mohammed VI’s enlightened leadership. When the King was crowned in July 1999, Jazouli told Mills, “he had plan.” He added, “Like a good commander, he has led his troops in a clear direction.”
With this celebratory assessment of King Mohammed’s leadership of Morocco, Mills’s article joins the chorus of voices commemorating two decades of massive transformations marked by a perceived desire to move forward and “actually deliver” on promises.
Just last week, French newspaper Le Point also celebrated King Mohammed VI’s “royal vision.” The paper published an editorial which poured out words of celebration and compliments on Morocco, calling it an established continental power and a global power in the making.