Tetouan – HM King Mohammed VI addressed, on Friday, a speech to the nation on the eleventh anniversary of Throne Day.
The speech is as follows:
Praise be to God,
May peace and blessings be upon the Prophet, His Kith and Kin
My loyal subjects,
Today, we are celebrating the eleventh anniversary of my accession to the throne.
This glorious event is an opportunity to renew the bonds of mutual, indefectible allegiance, which unite us. It is also the opportune moment to reaffirm the strong consensus on the nation’s immutable values.
The country’s unity, territorial integrity and single identity are the cornerstone of these tenets, along with the nation’s sacred values, of which, as Commander of the Faithful, I am the Guarantor. These values, which include our tolerant Islamic faith, with its distinct Moroccan characteristics and its adherence to the Sunni Maliki rite, advocate mutual respect between the revealed religions and open-minded attitudes towards other civilizations.
I have decided to devote this year’s State of the Nation Address to making an objective assessment of the progress achieved, the obstacles encountered and the challenges to be addressed before we can finalize a model of development and democracy that we want to be specifically Moroccan.
This model, which is aimed at achieving harmonious development, is based on steady economic growth that stimulates social solidarity and promotes the kind of sustainable development that takes into account the requirements of environmental conservation and goes by the principles of good governance.
Thus, ever since I assumed leadership of the nation, I have sought to introduce fundamental changes in the development process. Our options, which are based on four main guidelines, have turned out to be relevant and effective.
First, we should make sure the state, under my supervision, plays its strategic role in determining the nation’s basic options, implementing major projects, boosting, organizing and encouraging free enterprise and wisely-managed liberalization.
Secondly, we need to consolidate the nation’s democratic system of governance. In this respect, I have sought to strengthen the rule of law, introduce thorough legislative and institutional reforms, as well as review legislation related to human rights protection. I have also endeavored to expand the scope of freedoms and encourage effective political practices by ensuring the citizens’ active participation in public life and close cooperation with the decision-makers.
Although these are important achievements, they will remain nominal unless steps are taken swiftly to protect our citizens’ economic, social and cultural rights, and unless solidarity is enhanced within the framework of our public policies.
This brings us to the third point, namely the pressing need to place the citizen at the heart of the development process. This is why I launched the National Initiative for Human Development, which has enabled us over the past five years to achieve tangible results in the fight against poverty, social exclusion and marginalization. These accomplishments warrant further actions to develop the Initiative’s programs. These include ensuring follow-up on the ground, taking stock of the achievements and reaching out to all impoverished regions and needy segments of our population.
Under the fourth guideline, our economy should be provided with the necessary ingredients for take-off and development, mainly in terms of infrastructure and planning. This has started to bear fruit with respect to strategy, and in the sectoral and social fields.
As far as strategy is concerned, these infrastructure projects and plans have enabled us to upgrade our economy, boost productivity, enhance competitiveness, increase public investment, and create integrated, regional development hubs.
Our country now has a clear, stable framework for economic development, making it possible for our economy to withstand the adverse effects of the global financial crisis. Similarly, Morocco now enjoys an enhanced status as an attractive destination for productive investment, and as an important regional and international trade hub.
We remain steadfast in our determination to pursue major infrastructure projects in all parts of the Kingdom, building on the progress achieved with respect to the expansion of transport and communications networks. We also plan to press ahead with the creation of free zones, integrated industrial hubs and major port facilities, particularly the “Tanger-Med” complex, which, in a short period of time, has become a strategic industrial, commercial and investment hub, trusted by our partners.
At the sector level, I urge the government, parliament and all the stakeholders concerned to strive doubly hard for the full implementation of the various development strategies that have been adopted.
With respect to agriculture, I thank Almighty God for the beneficial rainfall He has blessed us with this year, and to which we owe a good harvest. I also wish to reaffirm the special importance I attach to the development of rural areas, as well as my commitment to see that Morocco’s Green Plan is implemented as part of my vision for environmental conservation and inter-regional solidarity. This policy seeks to develop oases, by expanding palm groves and preserving forests and vegetation, especially the argan tree, which is a unique asset to Morocco and its ecosystem.
As for the fishing industry, and according to our future-oriented vision for its development, investing in fish farming should become the pillar of the Halieutis Plan and serve as an additional instrument for modern, rational exploitation of our fish stocks.
With regard to tourism, a quantum leap has been achieved in connection with Vision 2010. The increase in the number of tourists visiting Morocco, which now stands at more than nine million, should result in rallying large-scale support for the objectives set out in the 2020 Vision.
With the same entrepreneurial spirit, we have to move forward with the “Plan Emergence” and secure more active involvement in new, internationally-oriented industries and trades, while facilitating business start-up procedures, especially for SMEs.
In the area of housing, the state has provided major incentives which should prompt support from all actors. Similarly, the government authorities concerned must enforce the law vigorously and focus on achieving the objectives I eagerly look forward to, namely to enable low-income populations and slum dwellers to gain access to decent, low-cost housing, through well-defined home ownership schemes.
However, the ultimate goal we seek to achieve through major development projects is not simply to stimulate investment and free enterprise, but rather to improve the living conditions of our citizens – especially impoverished populations – and create jobs for our young people.
My loyal subjects,
However encouraging the results obtained through sectoral plans may be, they must not obscure the fact that their impact will remain limited unless three major hurdles are removed. The main obstacle is weak competitiveness. In this respect, I wish to emphasize the need to fully implement the national logistics parks strategy.
The second difficulty concerns inconsistencies in the management of these plans. To deal with them, it is necessary to establish adequate mechanisms to ensure greater interaction between these plans, as part of an integrated – rather than sectoral – strategic vision.
The third hurdle, which is, in fact, the most significant challenge, is related to human resource development.
In this regard, we must be clear and frank: it is our collective responsibility to make bold decisions in order to ensure the scientific, vocational and technical training we provide is compatible with the demands of modern economy and the requirements of the promotion of scientific research and innovation, as well as with the necessary integration into the global economy and into the communication and knowledge-based society.
Unless we meet these requirements, our education system – which has long been plagued by demagogic considerations that have prevented constructive reforms – will, alas, continue to take a heavy toll on state resources and stifle the potential of young people from non-privileged backgrounds. Maintaining the current, sterile, obsolescent education patterns could result in our human resources becoming an obstacle to development, rather than an engine of growth.
My loyal subjects
However much progress has been made in upgrading our development model, we all have an obligation, especially in times of international crisis such as today, to display higher levels of mobilisation, vigilance, foresight and entrepreneurship, in a joint effort to bring Morocco in line with developed countries.
I am therefore more determined than ever to ensure that Morocco attains its objectives in terms of development and institutional advancement. It must avail itself of the new tools and assets which are now available and which will enable it to make a qualitative leap forward and become a full-fledged player in the globalization process. The country will then be in a position to address the new challenges regarding eco-development and the demands of good governance, as well as the need to create a larger middle-class.
These challenges cannot be addressed effectively unless we carry on with the reforms underway and go by the four guidelines below:
The need to bolster the current efforts to achieve sustainable development, with special focus on the environment as the bedrock of the “green development” and the “new economy” policies. These open up tremendous prospects for the emergence of innovative activities with a great potential for job creation.
I therefore urge the government to act upon the major guidelines which stemmed from the broad debate that was initiated for the purpose of devising a national charter for the protection of the environment and for sustainable development. The charter is being prepared as part of a comprehensive action plan with well-defined, concrete targets in all fields of activity. In this respect, I call upon the government to formally shape this plan into a draft law which, I hope, will serve as a reference for future public policies in this field.
It is therefore necessary to rally broad support for the implementation of the energy efficiency strategy, mainly by promoting clean renewable energy. This requires ongoing efforts to ensure optimal use of wind-generated energy and to extend the construction of wind farms to all areas in the Kingdom that are suitable for wind power production.
Likewise, strong impetus needs to be given to the launching of our major solar energy production programme, for which we have set up ad-hoc agencies and made huge investments. I must therefore stress the need to step up efforts to build fruitful partnerships to implement this pioneering project of international scope.
In addition, we should capitalize on Morocco’s widely acclaimed achievements in the field of dam construction, which should be built on under a new water policy advocating mobilization and rational utilization of water resources.
As for the second guideline, it is an appeal for steps to be taken to tackle the challenges arising from the policies related to liberalization and competitiveness. Reforms are needed to revamp the economic sectors whose deficiencies have been unveiled by the world crisis. In addition, efforts should be made to capitalize on the recovery of the world economy which seems to be underway.
Similarly, it is of paramount importance to preserve the macroeconomic equilibrium, as well as to keep public spending under control, upgrade the legal framework, and foster a more business-friendly environment. Efforts should also be made to ensure the best possible use of the credibility enjoyed by the country’s banking and financial system, and of the trust placed in Morocco as an attractive hub for foreign capital and investment.
This is why I have decided that a regional financial center, operating in accordance with international standards, should be established in Casablanca, and I seize this opportunity to call on the government to take the necessary steps for the implementation of the project, and to encourage economic and financial actors and partners to give it their full backing.
The aim of the third guideline is to boost good governance, and it is my firm intention to carry on with the reforms needed in terms of development and in the institutional and political fields.
Chief among these reforms is the proposed advanced regionalization policy. In my opinion, this is not merely a new pattern of governance at local level, but, more importantly, a real overhaul designed to streamline and upgrade the general set-up of government agencies.
I am strongly committed to the reform of justice which is the cornerstone of the rule of law, ensuring that it is moving forward in the right direction, following a specific agenda. At the same time, I want to see to it that the Economic and Social Council starts its mission in the best possible conditions so that it may contribute efficiently to enhancing good governance practices in the field of development.
As per the fourth guideline, public policies should focus on creating a larger middle-class, which is, in fact, the core foundation for achieving social cohesion and attaining development and modernisation objectives.
My loyal subjects,
Enhancing Morocco’s standing at the regional and international levels requires increased interaction between domestic and foreign policies. It calls for additional diplomatic efforts to strengthen our country’s ability to open up to its environment and to advance its best interests.
As Morocco belongs to a wide range of entities, it gives priority, in its foreign policy, to its immediate, multi-facetted environment. There are many challenges involved, and the country is trying to turn them into positive opportunities which should be capitalized on for the benefit of all the peoples in the region.
An integrated Maghreb is, in our opinion, a longstanding, cherished aspiration of its peoples. It is a strategic necessity and a pressing security requisite. It is an economic imperative to which recent regroupings and communities of nations have given added urgency. It is therefore our firm intention to pursue the necessary coordination and consultation to build closer bilateral ties with the Maghreb states, and wait for Algeria to stop moving against the logic of history, geography, legitimacy and legality concerning the Moroccan Sahara issue. Algeria must give up its desperate and vain attempts to undermine the process which was set in motion by our Initiative for the autonomy of our southern provinces. This is an audacious initiative which stands as a realistic, innovative, consensual proposal that seeks to find a final solution to this regional dispute within the framework of the United Nations. In this respect, I want to stress again that Morocco shall continue to support the efforts of the UN Organization, its Secretary General and his personal representative.
In any case, Morocco shall continue to defend its sovereignty, national unity and territorial integrity, for Moroccans are determined not to give up one single inch of their Sahara.
We shall move ahead with the implementation of the ambitious vision I outlined in my Green March address last year. Indeed, the Moroccan Sahara will be the top beneficiary of the advanced regionalization process. We will press ahead with our efforts to foster solidarity-based development in our southern provinces. Similarly, we are planning to undertake an extensive overhaul of the Royal Consultative Council for Saharan Affairs (CORCAS).
We will also step up efforts to secure the lifting of the blockade imposed on our citizens in the Tindouf camps, so that they may exercise their legitimate right to return to their motherland and join their families and relatives, in accordance with the relevant international conventions.
Expressing its keen sense of belonging to Africa, Morocco shall continue to implement a coherent African policy dedicated to enhancing human development and shoring up regional security. It falls mainly within the framework of the cooperation scheme being implemented jointly with countries of the Sahel and the Sahara regions, and with African states on the Atlantic, and which is aimed at tackling the numerous threats facing the area.
True to the bonds of fraternity and Arab-Islamic solidarity, we have regularly and effectively supported efforts designed to uphold the just causes of our Ummah. We have also endorsed initiatives designed to achieve a just, comprehensive and lasting settlement in the Middle East region, based on the two-state solution.
Acting as Chairman of the Al-Qods Committee, which stands for the collective Islamic conscience, and as part of the Committee’s mission in support of the genuine identity and the sanctity of this usurped city, I must make it clear, once again, that it is essential to undertake joint efforts and initiatives at Arab, Islamic and international levels, and to adopt for this purpose, an integrated, coherent strategy, together with a comprehensive approach based on solidarity. Efforts must be made to act upon the resolutions of international legality and counter Israel’s violations of the law, as well as the expansionist plans it persists in implementing as part of its “fait accompli” policy. Further efforts must be made to foil its attempts to have exclusive authority over the future of Al-Qods. Therefore, I am determined to continue to stand up for the preservation of the spiritual, civilizational and legal character of this city, as the capital of an independent Palestinian state.
I wish to reiterate Morocco’s keenness to develop and upgrade the promising Euro-Mediterranean partnership, as well as the advanced status we enjoy with the European Union and which warrants prompt and strong support from all public authorities and other national actors. These efforts must be part of a joint, coherent action designed to determine the areas, scope and pace of the proposed activities, and to ensure optimal use of the opportunities offered by the advanced status.
Apart from its regional responsibilities, Morocco is seeking to boost and diversify its partnerships, mainly through the conclusion of conventions and multifarious accords, especially free-trade agreements and contractual and preferential arrangements. Another top priority for our country is to join the new world consensus calling for the emergence of humane global governance, based on the principles of equity and shared responsibility.
My loyal subjects,
On this unforgettable day, I wish to pay a vibrant tribute to the memory of the pioneers of the country’s liberation and independence, the architects of the modern State of Morocco, namely my revered Grandfather and Father, Their Majesties King Mohammed V and King Hassan II – may God bless them in their final resting place – as well as the brave martyrs of our motherland.
I also want to pay a special homage to the Royal Armed Forces, the Royal Gendarmerie, the National Police Force, the Regional and Local Administration, the Auxiliary Forces and the Emergency Services. They have displayed dedication and self-denial in defending, under my leadership, the nation’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and security. I also commend them for their contribution to humanitarian relief operations.
I warmly commend my loyal people’s creative talent, and praise the staunch patriotism and deep sense of duty displayed by all segments of the Moroccan society. I must tell you how proud I am of the strong bonds between the members of the Moroccan community living abroad and their motherland. They come back home in increasing numbers, determined to preserve their close ties with their respective families, despite the adverse effects of the world crisis on their countries of residence. I am delighted by their active contribution to the advancement of the Kingdom and to the defence of its national causes and its interests.
True to our mutual commitment, we shall pursue our joint efforts, with confidence and optimism, to continue building a nation based on unity, democracy and development.
To achieve our objective, we can count on the determination of the nation’s First Servant, and on the symbiosis between the Throne and the people. Since time immemorial, this communion has been a never-ending source of strength and inspiration, drawn on to tackle challenges with an unwavering faith in God’s promise: “Verily, God will help those who help His Cause. Truly, God is All-Strong, All-Mighty”. True is the word of God.
Wassalmu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.