King Mohammed VI has been leading Morocco’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic with a series of unprecedented and bold initiatives, prioritizing citizens’ safety.
Rabat – Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita highlighted King Mohammed VI’s “insightful vision” in response to the COVID-19 pandemic during the Online Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) on Monday, May 4.
“We need to set up mechanisms for reflection, proposals, and concertation to address the challenges caused by wars, internal conflicts, poverty, pandemics, and terrorist threats,” said Bourita, recalling a “visionary speech” made by the king during NAM’s 14th summit in 2006.
NAM is a forum of 120 developing countries that are not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc. It is the second-largest grouping of states worldwide after the UN.
The international community is currently subject to a test of resistance due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the type of crisis that leads to large-scale responses, said Bourita.
According to the minister, COVID-19 is a defining moment in history that calls on humanity to be resilient and give the best of itself, while remaining committed to multilateralism.
During his speech, Bourita delivered a three-point analysis of the pandemic’s consequences.
The first consequence is the ongoing health crisis. In order to overcome it, Morocco believes that ensuring universal access to the future COVID-19 vaccine, at affordable prices, is crucial. The Moroccan diplomat called on NAM members to defend universal access to the vaccine.
The second consequence is a socio-economic crisis. According to Bourita, mitigating its impact on global populations is as important as flattening the pandemic’s curve.
“COVID-19 forced the world to isolate itself, shutting down entire economic sectors and plunging millions of people into unemployment. This means that we must double our efforts to preserve the progress made so far in the fight against precariousness and poverty,” Bourita argued.
Finally, the minister highlighted how the African continent, where 85.5% of workers are employed in the informal sector, will suffer the most from the crises.
Bourita called on NAM members to support the African Union’s call to speed up the financial and technical support of bilateral and multilateral donors for African states and to reduce their debts.
The Moroccan model
In the second part of his speech, the diplomat presented the Moroccan experience in addressing COVID-19. According to Bourita, the response was based on five principles set by the king: Solidarity, anticipation, prevention, holism, and prioritizing citizens.
“Morocco has endeavored … to improve its health system and mitigate the socio-economic impact of the crisis,” said Bourita.
The minister then listed all the preventive measures Morocco took to shield its citizens and residents from the COVID-19 pandemic and its socio-economic impact.
The country has also channeled all available internal resources towards the Special Fund for the Management and Response to COVID-19, which is currently worth more than $3.5 billion, the diplomat added.
“Thanks to the fund, 5.1 million households, many of which operate in the informal sector, were able to benefit from direct financial aid,” he continued.
Bourita also highlighted the role of Morocco’s industry in the fight against COVID-19, explaining how textile factories transformed their production lines to exclusively manufacture face masks and protective gear.
At the end of his speech, the senior official emphasized Morocco’s spirit of solidarity and Pan-Africanism, recalling King Mohammed VI’s initiative to create an operational framework for African countries to fight against the pandemic.
“It is a pragmatic and action-oriented initiative, dedicated to sharing experiences and best practices to deal with the medical, economic, and social impacts of the pandemic,” Bourita concluded.