Praise be to God Peace and blessings be upon the Prophet, His Kith and Kin
My loyal subjects,
Ever since I became involved in shaping this nation’s destiny, I have availed myself of the State-of-the-Nation Address to endorse the policies opted for by the country and to set guidelines for the future. I have always sought to make these objectives as clear and substantive as possible, endeavouring with confidence, foresightedness and determination, to remain true to the bonds of the Bei'a (allegiance), which implies acceptance by the Throne and the people of mutually binding commitments.
Again, I want to stress, as I have always done on such occasions, that I sincerely share your eagerness to find the most suitable solutions, and I am determined to ensure that the sons of our beloved country enjoy a decent life.
I also want this address to be an opportunity to pause for thought and to ponder, with a keen sense of responsibility, on how to tackle the issues and challenges our nation has to grapple with. Indeed, we are facing a difficult international environment marked by deep changes in the global economy, unprecedented increases in energy and staple food prices, as well as sluggish economic activity in many countries, especially in developed nations.
These developments have adversely affected the purchasing power of poor and middle-class people around the world, and have had an impact on our economy as well.
Our country has, with God's help, been able to cope with these constraints, mainly because the far-reaching projects and development reforms we have initiated are being successfully and efficiently implemented and have started to bear fruit. Thus, our economic base and social fabric have managed to withstand the difficulties affecting the regional and international environment.
This resilience is best illustrated by the fact that Morocco is pressing on with its effort to consolidate democracy and attain economic and social progress. The focus is on preserving macro-economic and financial balance, creating regional development hubs and enhancing the country's capacity to generate new jobs and employment opportunities. As a result, social indicators have improved.
However, this improvement in social indicators should not hide the fact that there is still a long, arduous way to go before we fulfil our ambition of raising the employment rate, which we regard as a genuine social safety net for our citizens, particularly the young. But there is no way this can be achieved without steadier economic growth, fair distribution of its dividends and free, creative, wealth-producing, job-generating initiatives.
In addition, it is necessary to strengthen the family as an institution which holds a central position in the community, and to stimulate further the dynamic work carried out by civil society and dedicated NGOs. The aim is to reinforce the bonds of mutual assistance within society, and foster a sense of solidarity-based citizenship, while remaining firmly committed to our time-honoured religious and cultural values which advocate moderation and adherence to the median path.
I therefore insist again that all public policies must be geared towards achieving the strategic target of fostering a broad-based middle class which should be the pillar of stability and the driving force behind productive and creative efforts.
It is our firm intention to ensure that our middle class form the cornerstone of the balanced, harmonious society we seek to build, a society free from the ills of ostracism and marginalization; a society where the well-off are willing, through productive investment and initiatives prompted by a keen sense of civic responsibility, to express their solidarity with other segments of society, and join them in a nation-wide effort aimed at improving the living conditions of the needy and enabling them to be full-fledged citizens enjoying a decent life.
My loyal subjects,
However important the above reforms and mega projects may be, they will not be fully productive unless an effort is made to speed up the growth process and keep up with the steady increase in the needs which must be attended to. Bold decisions will, therefore, have to be made to determine the final choice.
Are we to make do with temporary solutions which have hardly any significant impact, or are we to press ahead with our strategic options for which extra efforts are needed to bring them to fruition.
The challenges facing Morocco at present cannot be addressed through ready-made prescriptions or stopgap measures. Nor can they be overcome by sheer rhetoric which mortgages the present in search of an elusive, theoretical future.
Trust and credibility are essential ingredients for any successful reform, and so are hopefulness, toil and dedication. Another prerequisite is the ability to resist attempts to instill despair, skepticism and nihilism in people’s minds, especially in difficult times. No matter how limited the immediate impact may be, perseverance, endurance and an entrepreneurial spirit are essential ingredients for achieving sound public policy management objectives.
We were therefore fully confident when we opted for a policy geared towards the development of human resources and the upgrading of our infrastructure. We were constantly mindful of the need to stick to a balanced approach when embarking on this long, uphill path. We were eager not to pawn this nation’s future and its young generations for the sake of immediate or temporary gains. We just cannot afford to elude the duty of attending to the pressing needs of the population, arguing that we are committed to a long term vision which might overshadow the strains of reality.
Accordingly, we have sought to achieve sustainable development by embarking on two parallel yet complementary routes. We are certainly eager to carry through the nation’s mega projects - but we are under no illusion that it will take some time before they come to fruition - and at the same time, we want to improve our citizens’ living conditions through community-based programmes designed to alleviate poverty and reduce vulnerability.
By getting people to take initiative and act, we are laying sound foundations for implementing the integrated, action-oriented projects planned under the National Initiative for Human Development. It is our firm intention to monitor and assess them on an ongoing basis, for we are just as keen to consolidate what has been achieved, as we are to redress any shortcomings. Our ultimate goal is to ensure man holds a pivotal position in the development process, and to make our labour force a core element of this nation’s wealth.
My loyal subjects,
To see these reforms through, it is necessary to boost the citizen’s trust in the rule of law and provide legal safeguards for his judicial security. This is why we are determined to carry on with our effort to upgrade the judiciary and preserve its independence and ethical standards. The aim is not only to uphold rights and to right wrongs, but also to foster a climate of trust and legal security, which will act as a catalyst for boosting development and investment flows.
I must therefore stress again the need to put the overhauling of justice on top of the reform agenda. This is why I urge the government to work out a well-defined plan to revamp the judiciary. The scheme must be the product of constructive, open dialogue with all relevant players. In this connection, and as Guarantor of the independence of the judiciary, I insist that this plan should be carried out fully and with the utmost efficiency. Thus, justice will hopefully be administered in a more modern and effective way, and with a keen sense of integrity, impartiality and responsibility.
My trust in political structures and institutions needs to be enhanced by my confidence in the country’s economic and social players. I am therefore determined to set up the institution provided for under the Constitution, namely the Economic and Social Council. I want its members to act as institutional stakeholders in the shaping of economic and social policies and the establishment of a permanent forum for responsible dialogue on social policies.
Public authorities should be more receptive to the real needs of citizens. In addition, government agencies and elected bodies should provide citizens with better quality services. I therefore call upon the government, when dealing with territorial governance, to adopt a new approach based on enhanced decentralisation and broader regionalisation and, to this end, to speed up the community-based devolution process.
Institutional reforms, whatever their scope and depth, can only succeed if they are backed up by structural or additional measures which enable us to strengthen our economic and social resources, by giving fresh impetus to key sectors, particularly education, agriculture, energy, water resources and industrial development.
I have put education reform on top of the agenda because I believe it is a barometer for gauging the impact of far-reaching policy changes. To ensure that reforms in our education system reach maximum speed and proceed in the right direction, I urge the government to see to it that the emergency plan put in place for this purpose is carried through in the best possible conditions.
In this connection, I will make sure that Morocco does not miss the opportunity for such a crucial reform which warrants strong commitment and dedication on the part of everyone. After all is said and done, the ingredients for success are all there. Aside from my personal resolve, we can count on the involvement of all institutions, public authorities and policy-making bodies. Our shared objective is to rehabilitate the Moroccan state school and make it a more reliable and trustworthy institution in charge of inculcating the community with the values of civic-minded citizenship and the principle of equal opportunities for all.
Similarly, I must stress how important it is to reform and upgrade agriculture. Not only do I see agriculture as a booming economic activity holding promising prospects, but I consider Moroccans’ strong attachment to land as an intrinsic part of their identity.
Thus, the government has sought to implement my instructions regarding agricultural reform by adopting a strategy aimed at modernizing the sector and ensuring its rational management in order to enhance productivity and competitiveness and meet food security needs.
I expect the government to implement the desired agricultural policy by using an inclusive, consultative and participatory approach, and by providing the sector with the means and resources it needs for successful development.
Given the close link between agriculture and water, we are all called upon, now more than ever before, to keep in mind the difficulties our country will be confronted with in the future in connection with water resource management.
These difficulties can jeopardize all human and economic development projects.
Morocco is facing the challenge of managing a growing demand for water, successive droughts, dwindling groundwater levels and wasteful usage of this vital resource. That is why it has become absolutely necessary to apply a firm strategy in order to rise to this challenge.
We will therefore continue to encourage water conservation measures and increase access to drinking water, especially in rural areas. Similarly, I call for the emergence of a national civic culture regarding the conservation and rational use of this valuable natural resource.
Morocco is facing similar challenges in the energy sector. Indeed, from now on, we shall have to adapt to sweeping global changes which are likely to entail more constraints in the future.
We must therefore adopt a policy which allows us to ensure rational energy resource management, implement a strategy aimed at reducing energy consumption without affecting productivity, and preserve and diversify our energy sources.
Morocco has no alternative but to enhance its own ability to produce energy, encourage investments in this promising sector and step up efforts to make alternative and renewable energy sources the pillar of the nation’s energy policy.
I should like, in this respect, to commend most warmly the brotherly support and effective solidarity shown by my esteemed and revered brothers, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdallah bin Abdelaziz of Saudi Arabia, and His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates.
The donation made by these two sister nations and the contribution of the Hassan II Fund for Economic and Social Development have been put into a special energy fund which has been created to support energy efficiency projects and to encourage investors to use alternative and renewable energy sources.
I urge the government to adopt a new strategy in the industrial, service and modern technology sectors, making the most of the possibilities offered by globalization in terms of attracting investment. This strategy should seek to consolidate Moroccan businesses, promote industrial investments which generate added value, and help our economy tap new sectors and markets in search for export outlets for Moroccan products and services.
Our ambition is to make Moroccan universities and companies part and parcel of the knowledge-based global economy.
My loyal subjects,
Our foremost priority remains the preservation of the Kingdom’s territorial integrity. Indeed, the untiring efforts exerted through our forward-looking diplomacy led to a positive and significant development: our bold initiative regarding autonomy was described by the United Nations as both serious and credible. Since then, there has been growing international support for the Kingdom’s sovereignty over its Sahara, while separatism has been deemed unrealistic.
Therefore, and in accordance with Security Council Resolution 1813, I reiterate Morocco’s willingness to enter into substantive negotiations, in good faith and at all levels, in order to achieve a lasting and mutually acceptable political solution to this protracted dispute.
I wish to reaffirm, in this regard, that Morocco will pursue its ‘extended hand’ policy in order to promote understanding, build trust through dialogue and achieve full reconciliation between the parties concerned.
To this end, Morocco will continue to undertake sincere initiatives and co-operate with all well-meaning parties so as to normalize Moroccan-Algerian relations and build a constructive partnership with this neighbouring sister nation, in accordance with the principle of good neighbourliness.
Our goal is to fulfil the aspirations of young generations who want to see the energies of the Moroccan and the Algerian peoples devoted to tackling the true challenges of development and complementarity, instead of being wasted on the complexities of a dispute from a long-gone era.
However divergent the views on the dispute might be, they cannot justify the continued border closure. This unilateral decision imposed on the two peoples is perceived as a form of collective punishment which is at odds with the longstanding brotherly ties between the two peoples, their common destiny and the requirements of Maghreb integration.
Just as vigorously, Morocco rejects any attempt to impose facts on the ground or to undermine its territorial integrity.
In this respect, I commend the Royal Armed Forces, the Royal Gendarmerie, the National Police Force, the territorial authorities, the Auxiliary Forces and the emergency and rescue units for being constantly mobilized together with the Moroccan people, under my command, to preserve security, stability and public order, and to defend the nation’s territorial integrity and national unity.
We shall pursue the significant development efforts currently under way for the benefit of our citizens in the Moroccan Sahara, create the conditions needed for the voluntary return of our exiled Saharan brothers - wherever they may be - and put an end to their ordeal. We shall also see to it they enjoy a secure, dignified life in a unified homeland which is part of an integrated, five-state Maghreb Union. Such a union would be consistent with the spirit of our times, as our countries would rally together to form a solid bloc in order to promote security, stability, progress and prosperity, while serving as an effective partner for larger groupings.
This is the goal we shall be working for at regional and international levels in order to achieve effective Arab and Islamic solidarity, obtain an advanced status with the European Union, and contribute to the emergence of a promising Union for the Mediterranean as well as effective African integration. We shall also continue to promote positive relations with the Sahel countries, constructive partnerships with the countries of the North and fruitful co-operation with the nations of the South.
In this respect, I reiterate Morocco’s commitment, regionally and at global level, to confront terrorist gangs and fight extremism. My country will also continue to contribute to UN efforts to resolve disputes and eliminate hotbeds of tension through peaceful means. As Chairman of the Al-Qods Committee, I reaffirm my support for the unity of the Palestinian people and their peaceful struggle for the creation of their independent state, with Al-Qods al-Sharif as its capital.
Morocco will continue to uphold sovereignty, national unity and territorial integrity, in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, the Sudan, Somalia and in whatever country where the attributes of sovereignty might be threatened or violated.
My loyal subjects,
However deep and far-reaching it might be, any development reform will have only limited impact unless we pursue our efforts to overhaul the political system and ensure the citizens’ participation in its implementation.
This is why we strongly believe in the consolidation of democracy through regular, free and fair elections to which all the players concerned commit themselves and in light of whose results the government is formed.
To make sure future elections are successful, the actors involved must draw lessons from past shortcomings. This means committed political formations must wholeheartedly endorse reform and modernity. They should contribute to the emergence of a coherent political landscape, with strong political parties and homogeneous blocs which accomplish their constitutional mission of efficiently guiding and representing the citizens and competing, through fair elections, for the proper management of public affairs.
I shall remain what you have always known me to be: the King of all Moroccans, without exception, the characteristic emblem of the nation’s unity, the custodian of the Kingdom’s sovereignty and territorial unity, and the guarantor of individual and collective rights.
Our monarchy, being dedicated to civic values and ideals, is like a crown on the heads of all Moroccans, who share a steadfast commitment to the Constitution and to the bond of the Bei’a, and who honour the memory of those who made countless sacrifices for the glory of the nation, particularly my revered grandfather, His Majesty King Mohammed V, and my venerated father, His Majesty King Hassan II. God bless their souls.
"Our Lord! Bestow on us mercy from Yourself, and dispose of our affair for us in the right way!" True is the Word of God.
Wassalmau alaikum warahmatullah wabarakatuh.