Morocco in 2007
The Kingdom of Morocco, traditionally called as al-Mamlaka al-Maghrebia, is a constitutional monarchy that hold its power in Rabat; Has been fighting globalization and societal pressures for too long, with globalization on the right hand and cultural norms on the left, progress may then seems to be elusive.
Strategically located in north western Africa, the Kingdom of Morocco is bounded by water on two sides. It acts as a gateway to Europe via the 13 km wide Strait of Gibraltar; which links the Atlantic Ocean on the west and the Mediterranean Sea on the north. Morocco also neighbors Algeria in the southern and eastern side and the disputed territory Western Sahara on the southwest, whose sovereignty is still being debated due to the continued rejection of referendum agreement between Morocco and the Polisario front who aims for independence, after the cease fire on 1991.
Predominantly of Arab heritage, Moroccans consider themselves as Berbers, in relation to the Barbaroi that lived in tribal groups during the sultanate dynasties. Originally of pagan faith, the Berbers assimilated Islam during the colonization, producing a mixture of Arab and Berber blood. As Morocco became a protectorate of both France and Spain, their existence brought also an impact to their way of life; influences that shaped their language, art and culture. An example of these are the Moroccan architecture and arts, carpet and ceramics can easily be found on every market, houses and buildings are primarily colorful with paintings and sculptures readily available. Language is rather regional, the most common is the Moroccan Arabic, others were Hassaniyya Arabic which is used in the southern regions, Standard Arabic which is the basic and used by other African countries and
the Middle East, and then there’s Spanish and also French which at least half of the population is capable of speaking.In terms of religious influences, Islam being the countries main religion has governed not only the way of life but also affected their governing policies. The Moudouana, the former family code of Morocco based on the Shariah law, creates woes to women and encourages irresponsibility among men who was given the right to divorce and abandon their former wife and children just by verbal command. This cultural ideology is not a lone problem in regards to female oppression, according to United Nations Development Program (UNDP) more than 80% of women in the rural are among the poor and illiterate, domestic hierarchy is also very strong, leaving no responsibility to men in any domestic chores. Though western influence is welcomed in urban areas, the wearing of the traditional jelaba and foulards[*] is still at large.
Regarded as a Muslim country, it was only after the fall of Rome that Arabs started their invasion, headed by the Almoravids, Almohad and Idrissids, these dynasties held a little more than a century foothold, leaving a strong influence to the Moroccan culture. By 15th century, European conquest is at its peak, with France and Spain battling out for power over the country. With France rapid expansion, greater areas became its protectorate, leaving Spain to rule the southern coastal zone. It was only after the World War II that a growing nationalist movement spur, with Sultan Mohammad V as the leader who was later exiled. In their independence by the French rule in 1956, under the agreement of instituting a constitutional monarchy, Sultan Mohammad V was reinstated as king; Which later on succeeded by his son Mohamed Ibn al Hassan who ruled for 38 years. By 1999 King
Mohammed VI took reins; his modern and somewhat liberal approach has been opposed by religious conservatives. With economic liberalisation in mind, focusing on basic services, improving education, increasing tourist arrivals and granting the Mudawana law[†], creates a much inviting atmosphere that has attracted foreign investments and fosters a better foreign relation. Resulting to a 1000 increase in GDP per capita since 2000 and increasing the agricultural capability from 14% in 2000 to a 17.3% in 2006 (earthtrends.wri.org).
Emergence of a stronger Africa helped boosts the countries economy, although the presence of unstable growth hits the country with a big drop on 2007 from 8% to 2.5% (IMF).It continually urges the finance sector to tighten its hold on monetary and investment policies which helps the economy bounce back, relatively due to the improvement of terms of trade, remittances, and openness among Sub- Saharan economies. As an increase in demand for export surges, so are the pressures to deliver produce. The government started putting investment to the research and development, concentrating to the post-secondary and management training especially in the field of Agriculture, Energy and Mines. Establishments of legal and regulatory framework were set, such as the National Centre for the Planning and Coordination of Scientific and Technical Research that governs post-secondary institution, specialized public center, semi- public boards and the private sector. Although there is a strong commitment for upgrade and efficiency, government policies does not support or hinders its continuity, reveling to the stricter code or old policies that restricts research especially in social science. Information or training also stops in the universities due to lack of coordination to the production sector.
By the end of 20th century a bigger research project was started, energy, earth-friendly energy that will not harm the environment, several proposals had been scoped into such as
geothermal, solar and wind. As drastic changes in the climate came into notice, countries had been called out for talks of a more bio-friendly way to supply basic needs and keep up with
progress. Morocco which is one of the first supporters of renewable energy initiated the ratification of the United Nations Framework Convention in 1995 and the Kyoto protocol in 2002, who subsequently hosted the 7th conference in Marrakech. The government started a green house inventory in relation to Morocco’s vulnerability to climate change, due to its economy’s dependence to agriculture and water resources. The inventory gave a result of less than 2 toxic- equivalent carbon dioxide per inhabitant per year, or 65th in the top carbon emitters in 2003, which is relatively lower than its neighbor Algeria who garnered 25th (infoplease.com,qtd. Boden 2007). Together with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, funding and research for renewable energy sources and energy saving projects were initiated, via the clean development mechanism that is closely followed by Morocco with various developed countries.
In accord with environmental issues, the government also showed aggressive support to the health sector, primarily for infants and mothers, decreasing infant mortality rate from 89 per 1000 live births in 1990 to a 40 per 1000 live births in 2005.An average annual reduction of 5.3% from 1990 to 2005(unicef). Basic resources was also upgraded, concentrating on potable water supply, sanitation facilities and early immunization based on the Expanded Program of Immunization as proposed by the World Health Organization. On a rather sensitive issue, sexually transmitted disease was also given of high importance as the numbers on North African region grew rapidly. The prevention of HIV was tackled via the Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) that is coordinated with the Global Fund. An aggressive campaign was initiated by the king and the prime minister, visiting HIV infected patients, incorporating the media and a mobile unit that travels for miles for HIV education among the urban and rural areas. With a 0.1 % or 15,000 affected people in 2001, over 600,000 people were diagnosed of sexually transmitted disease annually as reported by Global Fund (2003). An estimate of 19% of these was mother-child transmission and over 76% of cases are transmitted through heterosexual sex (UNICEF). As a wider range of activities were set up by the National Aids Program, the use of condoms was even emphasized, which is a first in the nation’s history. Commercial sex workers were asked to be screened for sexually transmitted infection, treatment with antiretroviral were given to those eligible, and over 1.9 million condoms were even distributed. The close guidance of the government health sector with the help of non-governmental organizations, receive lots of praises and support from other African countries as well as funding from Muslim countries.
The remaining main concern right now is keeping the price of drugs affordable and maintaining referral centers in the region.
Globalization is not merely about business, its also instituting health, environment, and demographics. All this played a big part in the emergence of Morocco, focusing on global trends, maximizing natural resources and keeping a foresight to longer, and
applicable projects. Its no wonder that they went up 4 places in 2003’s United Nation Development Program globalization index. Paving the way for a better future, although unpopular decision has to be made, such as the change of family code, hold of power over the Western Sahara and the emphasis of safe sex aside from the usual abstinence and fidelity. Indeed Morocco is keeping its Economic liberalization in mind, with the windows of opportunity opening up to most of African countries; it is the perfect time for Morocco to step out, beat poverty, ensures education, and provides good health services.
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