AS it has been the case every year, Moroccans have been commemorating the anniversary of the glorious epic Revolution of the King and the People with the same feeling of pride to liberate the homeland and secure its independence every 20th August.
This has been an opportunity for all to reminisce what the commemoration stands for, namely collective mobilization and commitment to the values of patriotism, sacrifice and mutual loyalty.
I want this to be a continuing, ever vibrant revolution, whose torch is passed on from generation to generation.
My revered grandfather, His late Majesty King Mohammed V - may he rest in peace - so aptly pointed out, upon his return from exile, that he had come back from the minor struggle only to engage in the major one.
His comrade-in-arms, my venerable father, His late Majesty King Hassan II, faithfully pursued that struggle, devoting his life to the establishment of the democratic institutions of the modern Moroccan state, in light of the country’s policy in the economic, social and human rights sectors.
I have myself been carrying the torch to complete the mission, keep the trust and serve my people- a mission in which I take great pride. To this end, I have systematically adopted an inclusive, participatory approach when addressing the major issues of the nation to make sure all key stakeholders are actively involved.
It is the same objective I seek to achieve through the creation of the ad-hoc committee for the development model, which I will soon ask to tackle this crucial issue.
The committee’s mission will be threefold: remedial, proactive and forward-looking; the goal is to look to the future with great confidence.
I would like to emphasize in this respect the national character not just of the Committee’s task, but also of its recommendations and of the development model we aspire to- a model that will be one hundred per cent Moroccan.
The committee will be expected to propose appropriate implementation and monitoring mechanisms, in addition to measures to make sure Moroccans will fully embrace the proposed model and collectively seek to ensure its success.
I look forward to seeing the proposed development model become the cornerstone for the establishment of a new social contract in which all stakeholders will be involved: the state and its institutions as well as the driving forces of the nation, namely the private sector, political parties, trade unions, civil society organizations and the citizens.
I want the new development model to serve as the backbone of the new phase, whose guidelines I set out in the last State of the Nation Address: a phase whose key features will be accountability and a comprehensive take-off.
The purpose of revamping the development model and of the projects and programs launched is to ensure Morocco’s advancement, improve the citizens’ living conditions and reduce social and regional disparities. In fact, the segments of society most affected by difficult living conditions reside, for the most part, in rural areas and in the suburbs.
These segments of the population need further assistance, and greater attention should be paid to their conditions. Continued action is also required to respond to their pressing needs.
For this reason, I have called, time and again, for measures to promote development in rural areas, through income-generating activities, employment opportunities, faster access to basic social services, in addition to school enrolment measures and initiatives to combat poverty and vulnerability.
The ambitious national program to reduce disparities in rural areas, to which a budget of nearly 50 billion dirhams has been earmarked for the period 2016-2022, is part of that endeavor.
The populations concerned need, for their part, to be proactive in order to change their status in society and improve their living conditions.
One of the possibilities in this regard is to make sure they benefit from access to education, which is available throughout the country, and from vocational training opportunities and social welfare programs.
At the same time, all resources in rural areas should be tapped, particularly communal agricultural land (sulaliyat land), which l have asked to be used for the implementation of investment projects in the agricultural sector.
It should be emphasized, in this regard, that government efforts on their own will not suffice to ensure the success of such a major operation.
Indeed, government efforts must be supported by private sector initiatives and projects to inject strong momentum into agricultural investment projects, jobs and services, particularly in rural areas.
I should like, in this regard, to stress the need for close coordination between the sectors concerned. In the same vein, we should make the most of the opportunities and possibilities offered in fields other than that of agriculture, such as rural tourism, commerce and local industry. The aim is to boost and encourage private initiative and self-employment.
In this regard, I wish to insist, once again, on the importance of vocational training, especially in villages and suburban areas, to provide youths with skills, and thereby enable them to enter the labor market and contribute to the country’s development. Passing the baccalaureate exam and going to university is not a privilege; it is just a phase in the education process.
It is even more important to receive training that opens up prospects for professional integration and social stability.
I will continue to emphasize the role of vocational training and manual labor in achieving the integration of young people:
• be it in the area of handicrafts, which is a source of income and a means for a dignified life for the people involved in it;
• or in the area of agribusiness and agriculture-related occupations, which need to be concentrated in production areas, taking into account each region’s assets and specificities;
• and also in the area of providing the qualified human resources needed in the tourist and services sector as well as in connection with the new jobs in Morocco in the car industry, in aeronautics and in modern technology.
Wassalamu alaikum warahmatullah wabarakatuh.”
Source: Rabat Journal.