Domestic development efforts
In his solemn royal speech on the 20th anniversary of the enthronement, King Mohammed VI. drew a critical balance sheet on July 29, 2019. Despite many achievements, for example in the areas of infrastructure, renewable energies, urban development and the fight against poverty, there are still people who have no access to social services and who live in precariousness. The middle class is growing too slowly. The previous development model must be revised, and a commission will be set up for this purpose. In December 2019 the establishment of the “Commission Spéciale Sur Le Nouveau Modéle de Développement” was announced, comprising a total of 35 personalities of public life, including from the economic, research and cultural sectors. In April 2020 the Commission published a collaborative platform entitled “Le Maroc Que Nous Voulons”.
In autumn 2015 Morocco officially committed itself to the so-called SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) of the UN, which provide for a further reduction in poverty and inequality by 2030, and thus for sustainable, inclusive economic growth and the promotion of social cohesion and innovation. The Stratégie Nationale de Développement Durable 2030 published by the government in 2017 is based on a national consultation process that, from the perspective of relevant international actors, was participatory. The strategy (SNDD) describes, among other things, how the SDGs should be taken into account in national planning and budgeting processes. Progress in achieving the SDGs is monitored by the Haut Commissariat au Plan in cooperation with international actors.
Since the devastating attacks in Casablanca in 2003, the originators of which came from the slums around Casablanca, Morocco has concentrated increasingly on improving living conditions and defusing social problems in rural and periurban areas. Concrete measures were the rehabilitation or demolition of slums, the expansion of electricity and water supplies (private and public, keyword: rural economy), job creation programs and reforms in the education system. Within the framework of the INDH (Initiatives Nationales pour le Developpement Humain) financed by the World Bank, the so-called “civil society” was asked to play an active role in the development process and to improve local living conditions and to alleviate extreme poverty. INDH was among others by the central government (60%), Funded by local stakeholders (20%) and the World Bank (20%). After Phase I (2005-2010) and Phase II (2012-2015), the national project is currently in Phase III (2019-2023). During this period, the Moroccan state wants, among other things, to advance the education system and democratization.
Another “construction site” is the still existing economic south-north divide and the importance of cannabis cultivation in northern Morocco. According to historyaah, the total acreage has decreased, but drug production and drug trafficking are still important sources of income – which has both economic and cultural-historical reasons, which the anthropologist Khalid Mouna from the University of Meknes analyzes in a background article.
Morocco’s energy demand is increasing by an estimated 6.5 percent annually. In order to be more independent of imports and fluctuating world market prices in terms of energy supply and possibly even to become an energy exporter, Morocco is relying on the massive expansion of solar and wind energy by 2030, as well as increased energy efficiency. The country is receiving extensive international aid for the restructuring of its energy sector. The potential for the use of wind and solar power is enormous due to the country’s geographic location between the Atlantic and the Sahara. By 2030, more than 50 percent of Morocco’s electricity generation should come from renewable sources. In addition to water and wind, Morocco is relying on solar thermal energy for the energy transition: In the coming years, six solar power plants with a total output of 2,000 MW will be built in Morocco. Four solar thermal systems are being built in Ouarzazate, southern Moroccan, the first sub-project NOORo 1 was inaugurated at the beginning of 2016. The World Bank participates with funds from the Clean Technology Fund (CTF).
The Moroccan electricity supplier ONEE has made great efforts over the past two decades to connect people to the electricity supply even in the most remote parts of the country. In 1996 just 22 percent of rural households had electric light. According to ONEE, at the end of 2009 it was 96.5 percent. Renewable energies also play an important role in this initiative. 32,000 villages were connected to the grid. Almost 4,000 villages received their own photovoltaic system, as this was cheaper than expanding the grid to the last corner of Morocco. In total, around 150,000 rural households in Morocco are supplied decentrally with solar power.
Another focus of Morocco is the expansion of information technology. Morocco is currently implementing the national digitization plan Le Maroc Digital 2020. Morocco had previously launched the national IT strategy in 2009. In 2013 the national plan entered the second phase as ” Maroc numéric 2013 “.
In order to promote industrialization, Morocco has launched a six-year plan entitled “Accelerated Industrialization”.
The Moroccan government wanted to optimize agricultural production as part of the ” Plan Maroc Vert ” (2008-2020). According to Moroccan experts and the media, the results so far have fallen short of expectations.
Morocco sees great, as yet untapped economic potential in tourism. On the basis of the ” Plan Azur “, the Moroccan government intends to greatly expand the tourist infrastructure. Here, too, the results so far are viewed with caution and optimism.
Last but not least, Morocco is setting up free trade zones to increase its own export opportunities. Corresponding agreements were concluded with the EFTA countries (2000) and with the USA (2006). The regional free trade agreements (Agadir agreements) concluded with Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia in 2004, which were supported by the EU, have now come into force. In addition, there is the free trade agreement with the EU, in force since March 2012.
In 2014, Morocco introduced gender-sensitive budgeting for all public budgets as part of an amendment to the implementing law on national financial budgets. All ministries are now obliged to take gender aspects into account when planning their budgets and are required to report as part of their planning.
Foreign development efforts
Germany has determinedly expanded its cooperation with Morocco in recent years. The European Union (with Spain, France and Germany as the main bilateral partners in the EU) is Morocco’s main donor. This is followed by Japan, Arab countries and the USA. The Arab Gulf States (Gulf Cooperation Council under the leadership of Saudi Arabia) have expanded and intensified their support for Morocco in recent years.
Focus of the German-Moroccan cooperation
Morocco is an important partner for Germany in the region as part of the BMZ Strategy 2030. In 2013, in the “Rabat Declaration”, the foreign ministers of both countries agreed on continuous cooperation and intensified dialogue with regard to democratic development, the rule of law, civil society and human rights.
As part of government negotiations, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) Morocco pledged a total of 151.7 million euros in October 2018.
Of this, 49.1 million euros go to technical cooperation and 102.6 million euros to financial cooperation (mostly loans).
The following main areas of cooperation were agreed:
- Sustainable economic development and employment
- Renewable energy
The BMZ also promotes good governance in Morocco, for example in the areas of migration and decentralization.
Morocco is part of the G20 “Compact with Africa” initiative to improve the framework conditions for private investment. As part of the initiative, the Federal Development Minister Dr. Gerd Müller and the Moroccan Finance Minister formed a German-Moroccan reform partnership at the end of November 2019. Morocco and Germany had already agreed on an energy partnership in 2012, which includes regular working contacts and exchanges at government level.
In the rural regions of Morocco, around a third of the people still have no access to clean drinking water. In many cities, the disposal of domestic and commercial wastewater is a problem. The public sewer systems are insufficient and often in poor condition; the number of sewage treatment plants is too few. The consequences are health risks and massive pollution of drinking water resources in the metropolitan areas. With German support, the number of people connected to the drinking water supply in urban areas has been increased to 100 percent in recent years. In addition, the Federal Republic of Germany supported the construction of more than 20 sewage treatment plants (almost half of all new plants).