Morocco’s Commitment: Advancing Social and Human Development

In the Sherifian kingdom, it is an exceptional parliamentary return. In front of her special guests, Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the IMF, Ajay Banga, President of the World Bank Group, seated in the front row, Mohammed VI inaugurated this new legislative year, one month after the powerful earthquake which struck the center of the country causing nearly 3,000 deaths and 6,000 injuries, firstly mentioning the project at the top of the national political agenda: that of reconstruction.

Post-earthquake reconstruction: the time for action is now
Faced with the scale of the material damage, Morocco is not skimping on the means to rebuild the 60,000 houses which were totally or partially damaged. “If every earthquake inevitably brings its share of destruction, we are driven by the firm desire to act to rebuild”, specifies King Mohammed VI in his speech delivered to Parliament on the occasion of the opening of the 1st session of the 3rd legislative year.

This desire is illustrated through the mobilization of 12 billion euros, over a period of five years, for the reconstruction, rehousing and socio-economic development of the areas affected by the earthquake. No less than 4.2 million inhabitants are affected by this investment. And the monarch insisted on the need to “continue to provide aid and assistance to affected families, to quickly undertake the upgrading and reconstruction of affected areas, and to provide them with basic services”.

While Morocco has been open to contributions from elsewhere, the European Investment Bank (EIB) has pledged to provide 1 billion euros to help the kingdom in its post-earthquake reconstruction efforts. A collective effort in which other governments also wished to participate. The British government, for its part, announced a contribution of 1.45 million pounds sterling, while the Netherlands set up an investment fund of 50 million euros. While internally, the special earthquake fund has succeeded, one month after its launch, in mobilizing more than 1 billion euros to date.

Addressing deputies and members of the government, Mohammed VI said he was proud to see “the sincerity and spontaneity with which all Moroccans here and elsewhere as well as civil society actors demonstrated in a thousand ways. ways the spirit of mutual aid and solidarity which animates them towards their stricken compatriots”.

After greeting all the parties who provided relief and assistance to the populations of the affected areas, in particular the army, the various Security Forces, government departments and the Territorial Administration, Mohammed VI took this opportunity to once again thank the countries which have shown themselves to be “solidarity and helpful towards the Moroccan people” and no less than 60 countries in total have offered their aid. Note that Rabat only accepted four aid offers from Spain, Qatar, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates.

If this earthquake caused significant human losses and material damage, it also revealed what the King of Morocco called “the authentic values of the Moroccan soul”, allowing the kingdom to overcome crises and adversities.

Faced with crises and adversity, the strength of Moroccan identity

These founding values of the “unified national identity” are mainly composed of religious and spiritual values, which have made Morocco “a successful model of living together, where Moroccans, Muslims and Jews, cultivate cordial understanding and respect towards other religions and cultures,” underlines Mohammed VI in his speech.

As a reminder, the kingdom, which has recognized the Hebrew tributary as an integral part of its national identity since 2011, has no less than 700,000 Jews of Moroccan ancestry. This national identity is also made up of “love of the homeland and unanimous attachment to national unity and the territorial integrity of the country” which form the basis of the Moroccan nation, of which the Monarchy is the key to vaulted.

Another identity component, “the values of solidarity and inter-category social cohesion”. And Mohammed VI called on Moroccans to firmly attach themselves to these values in the face of the “profound and accelerated changes” that the world is experiencing, “having led to a significant decline in value systems and benchmarks”. This authenticity was also manifested in the aftermath of the earthquake, through the immense surge of citizen solidarity observed from the north to the south of the country.

If the reconstruction, which should start soon, is today at the heart of the new directives of the Sherifian sovereign, the highest authority of the State does not lose sight of the need to establish greater equality between women and men and reduce social inequalities.

Social and human development to combat persistent inequalities

Here we go for the second generation of reforms in favor of women and marital equity, which was the subject of a royal letter addressed, on September 26, to the head of government. A period of six months was therefore granted to the Executive to formulate proposals for amendments, after consultation with civil society. If the Moroccan Constitution identifies the family as the basic unit of society, Mohammed VI places it at the center of this reform. For the Cherifian sovereign, “a healthy society is built on the foundation of a healthy and balanced family”. And to add: “Correlatively, if the family disintegrates, society inevitably loses its compass.”

Among the major projects and reforms protecting the family, the generalization of social protection for the benefit of all Moroccans by 2025, constituting for the Head of State, “an essential pillar of our societal and development model”. This major social project is reaching a critical phase with the operationalization of the unprecedented direct social assistance program by the end of the current year, and which comes at just the right time one month after the earthquake, the effects of which affected thousands of Moroccans.

In detail, this system will not be limited to family allowances, but will also concern certain needy sections of society. Who will be able to benefit from it? Children of school age, children with disabilities, newborns, poor and precarious families without children of school age, and households caring for the elderly.

Everything has been thought of to succeed in its gradual operationalization. Several parameters will be taken into account, including the evolution of allocated credits. This program will be implemented according to a global vision and will therefore be backed by the targeting system of the Unified Social Register (RSU), while taking full advantage of the effectiveness of new technologies. Priority will therefore be given to “the rationalization of existing social assistance programs and the guarantee of their effectiveness as well as the sustainability of financing resources”. Strict compliance with the principles of solidarity, transparency and fairness in the allocation of aid is clearly demanded by the Head of State, as well as good governance of this project. As a result, an ad hoc monitoring and evaluation mechanism will be put in place.

The Shereef kingdom, ranked 123rd in the human development index by the UNDP report published in 2022, is determined to change the situation this time, by raising the standard of living of families targeted by the aid program social, with a view to combating poverty and precariousness.

At the end of the speech given by the sovereign, a royal audience was reserved for the President of the World Bank, Ajay Banga, and the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Kristalina Georgieva, present in Morocco on the occasion of the holding of the Annual Meetings in Marrakech from October 9 to 15. This global event, bringing together 14,000 participants, resulted in the adoption of the Marrakech Declaration, calling for a “global financial architecture that is more equitable and more conducive to the development of Africa”.

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Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.