The celebration of Throne Day is an occasion to renew the pledge of allegiance that has embodied the Kingdom of Morocco throughout history and the strong ties that unite the Moroccan people with their monarch as the commander of the faithful (Amir El Mu’minin) and the symbol of unity.
This year, the Moroccan people celebrate the 21st anniversary of King Mohammed VI's ascension to the throne of his glorious ancestors, a celebration set to take place under the unexpected circumstances caused by the coronavirus pandemic. In response to these conditions, the king has implemented a proactive vision, placing the health and safety of the Moroccan people above all else. Morocco managed, indeed, to contain the pandemic and face the economic and social impact of this unprecedented crisis by taking several preventive and precautionary measures. Those have included: closing maritime, air and land borders as soon as the first virus cases were registered, creating a solidarity fund to reduce the economic and social consequences of the pandemic through financing mechanisms and equipping hospitals and transforming industrial units into factories to produce masks, protective medical clothing and artificial respirators that comply with international standards. This “Made in Morocco” production enabled the kingdom to cover its full domestic demand, as well as a share of the foreign demand.
In the context of Morocco's historical relations with its African brothers, King Mohammed VI launched aid operations, sending medical equipment and supplies to more than 15 African sister nations.
On the occasion of Throne Day, the Moroccan people celebrate the positive transformations and great achievements that Morocco has realized over the last two decades under the leadership of King Mohammed VI. The king's leadership has strived to build a modern and democratic society elevating the kingdom of Morocco to the rank of developed countries.
In this context, and since his accession to the throne, the king has inaugurated several development projects, empowering several reforms in political, economic and social fields.
As far as political reforms are concerned, the foundations of the rule of law have been established through the strengthening of democratic institutions. The new constitution, for instance, adopted in 2011 and considered a leap in the construction of modern Morocco, is one of the most important pillars for the consolidation of democracy and freedoms. It, undeniably, reinforced the principles of accountability, independence of the judiciary and expanded the powers of the legislative branch and head of the government.
Speaking of infrastructure, Morocco knew, under King Mohammed VI’s reign, the launch of huge endeavors, such as the Tangier Mediterranean Port project, the largest logistical and industrial pole in the Mediterranean region; the Ouarzazate Solar Power Station, the biggest of its kind worldwide, and the Boraq, the first and a unique high-speed rail line in Africa and in the Arab world. Moreover, important restructuring projects such as airports and a port network greatly contributed to the growth of the Moroccan economy by encouraging more foreign direct investments, attracting important capital flows, reducing unemployment and developing workforce competences.
In order to give a new impetus to economic growth, Morocco has launched several sectoral strategies, such as the "Green Morocco Plan,” aiming to boost agricultural production as a major lever of national economic growth. “The 2030 Strategy for Renewable Energy” seeks to secure 52% of Morocco's energy needs by 2030. The "2020 Vision for Tourism” aspires to double the sector’s contribution to national gross domestic product (GDP) and raise bed capacity to attract 20 million tourists from all over the world. The “2020 digital Morocco” strategy has been implemented to reduce by 50% the digital gap, digitalizing at least 50% of administrative procedures as well as providing 20% of small- and medium-sized enterprises with computer equipment.
Furthermore, Morocco has launched the Emergence Plan to secure sustainable growth. Since the launching of this plan, exports have increased by 22%, the infrastructure sector has been significantly developed and foreign direct investments have been raised by 23% on an annual basis. As a result of this plan, the kingdom has succeeded in attracting leading international companies in the automotive industry, namely Renault Nissan and Peugeot PSA, and aircraft manufacturers such as Bombardier.
Over the past few years, Morocco has also gone to great lengths to liberalize its economy and develop its business environment by adopting a set of reforms to strengthen the business law system, modernize financial markets, simplify administrative procedures, provide legal protection for investors and grant them attractive incentives, especially tax exemptions. These efforts were successful, seeing Morocco move over 10 years from being ranked 128th to 53rd in the World Bank's ease of doing business index.
On this occasion, as an ambassador of his majesty the king of Morocco to the Republic of Turkey, I avail myself this opportunity to pay tribute to the bilateral relations, friendship, cooperation based on mutual respect and historical ties that have linked our two countries for five centuries.
The economic aspect is one of the most important pillars of this bilateral relationship, as the two countries signed a free trade agreement (FTA) in 2004, which entered into force in 2006. This agreement has contributed to a fivefold increase in trade exchange that reached $3.3 billion (TL 19.64 billion) in 2019, with a deficit in favor of Turkey. In this regard, the two sides are currently working to rebalance this situation.
On the other hand, Turkish investments in Morocco declined from $65 million (TL 215.80 million) in 2016 to $29 million (TL 153.12 million) in 2018. Some 150 Turkish companies are operating in Morocco in different sectors, such as textile, furniture, food processing, real estate, construction and infrastructure industries, especially highways and railways.
Despite their strength, the relations between Morocco and Turkey remain below peoples’ expectations and do not reflect the real potential of the two countries. In this regard, I would like to reiterate my willingness to work with Turkish officials to enhance our cooperation.
*Ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Morocco to the Republic of Turkey
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