Speech of His Majesty the King on the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of Throne Day
His Majesty the King Mohammed VI, Commander of the Faithful, delivered on Saturday at the Esplanade of the Hassan Mosque in Rabat a speech on the occasion of the visit of His Holiness Pope Francis to Morocco.
Here follows the full text of the speech:
"Praise be to God,
May peace and blessings be upon the Prophet, His Kith and Kin
Twenty years have elapsed since Almighty God entrusted me with the sacred duty of leading the nation. It is a position of immense trust and a heavy responsibility.
I made a solemn commitment to you and to the Almighty to work earnestly so as to live up to that trust.
As God is my witness, I have not - and I shall not - spare any effort to serve your best interests and your just causes.
God knows that I have made serving you and the nation my main concern, so that all Moroccans, wherever they may be, can lead a free, dignified life on an equal footing.
I give thanks to Almighty God for bestowing upon us the blessings of unity, cohesion and the mutual Bei’a between the Throne and the people, in addition to the bonds of reciprocal affection and loyalty between the King and the citizens, which have become stronger and deeper over the years.
I also give praise and thanks to God for the Moroccan people’s consensus on the nation’s immutable, sacred values and its major policy choices.
Firstly, there is the national, citizen-based monarchy, which is grounded in closeness to the citizens and which takes to heart their concerns as much as their aspirations, and seeks to respond to them.
Secondly, there is the democracy and development-based policy, which I have been implementing resolutely and confidently.
Thirdly, there are the sweeping reforms we introduced, the reconciliations achieved and the major projects implemented.
Thanks to these accomplishments, we have managed, by the grace of the Almighty, to press ahead with the process of building modern Morocco and to overcome the difficulties faced.
Praise be to Almighty God for helping me carry out initiatives and actions successfully to serve you and the nation.
It is a fact that, at times, we did not accomplish all that we were hoping to achieve. Today, our resolve is greater than ever to press ahead with our efforts, to build on our achievements, to continue the reform process and to address the shortcomings revealed by past experience.
We have made a quantum leap in infrastructure development, whether it is highway construction, the high-speed railway, major ports, renewable energy facilities or urban development and revamping.
We have also made undeniable progress in promoting rights and freedoms and consolidating sound democratic practice.
Nevertheless, I realize that, though important, infrastructure development and institutional reforms are not enough on their own.
Let me say this clearly and frankly: what undermines this positive result is that the effects of the progress and the achievements made has not, unfortunately, been felt by all segments of the Moroccan society.
Indeed, some citizens may not directly feel their positive impact on their living conditions, or in terms of helping them meet their daily needs, especially in the areas of basic social services, the reduction of social disparities and the consolidation of the middle class.
God knows how much I suffer personally when a fraction of the Moroccan people - even if it were just one per cent of the Moroccan population - endures hardships and lives in poverty.
For this reason, I have attached particular importance to human development programs, social policies and the need to respond to Moroccans’ pressing concerns.
As I said in last year's address, there will be no peace of mind for me so long as we have not properly tackled the hurdles faced and found the right solutions to development and social issues.
This, however, cannot be achieved without a comprehensive vision, without qualified human resources or without meeting the conditions required to carry out planned projects.
In recent years, our development model has proven to be inadequate in terms of helping us meet the growing needs of a segment of the population, reduce social inequalities and tackle regional disparities. For this reason, I have called for revisiting that model and updating it.
To be honest, I personally do not like setting up ad-hoc committees to tackle issues; for some, this is the surest way to evade problems and walk away from them.
However, I did resort, in the past, to setting up committees to tackle some key national issues, such as regionalization, the amendment of the Constitution, family law and the Justice and Reconciliation Commission. I was keen to ensure close follow-up to their work, and the results achieved were positive and constructive.
I have therefore decided to set up an ad-hoc committee for the development model. God willing, I will inaugurate that committee in the autumn.
As regards membership, I have seen to it that the committee includes representatives from various fields of knowledge and intellectual currents, including prominent Moroccans from the public and the private sectors who meet the requirements of competence and impartiality, who are able to feel the pulse of society, who understand its expectations and who have the nation’s best interests at heart.
I should like to emphasize, in this regard, that the said committee will not serve as a second government or be a parallel official institution. This is an advisory body with a specific time-bound mission.
It will have to take into consideration the major reforms introduced - as well as those to come - in a number of sectors, such as education, health, agriculture, investment and taxation. The committee is expected to make suggestions on how to improve these reforms and increase effectiveness.
I expect the committee to be totally impartial and objective, and to report on facts as they are on the ground, however harsh or painful they may be. And when proposing solutions, I want it to be daring and innovative.
This is not about a break with the past. Rather, we want to add a new building block to our development agenda, as part of a continuing process.
Most importantly, we must be resolute and audacious and show a keen spirit of responsibility as we implement the relevant conclusions and recommendations adopted, no matter how hard or costly that may be.
God willing, I will go back to this at a future date.
In the meantime, work pertaining to the management of public affairs and response to citizens’ concerns must continue with greater commitment and a keener sense of responsibility.
In particular, emphasis should be placed on improving basic social service delivery and enhancing the performance of public institutions.
In parallel, I ask the Government to start working on major, integrated next-generation sectoral plans, which will form the backbone of the new development model.
Revamping the nation’s development model is not an end in itself. Rather, it is a gateway to a new era – one into which, with God’s help, I intend to take Morocco.
It is a new phase, whose distinguishing features will be responsibility and the pursuit of a comprehensive take-off.
It is a phase which holds great promise because Morocco’s potential and competencies allow for greater accomplishments than what has been achieved so far. And we are, indeed, capable of accomplishing more.
Our main ambition is for Morocco to join the ranks of developed nations.
Nevertheless, the new era we are about to enter is fraught with internal and external challenges to which we must rise. They include the following in particular:
• Firstly: the challenge of enhancing trust and consolidating achievements: this is the recipe for success and a condition for fulfilling our ambitions. It concerns trust among citizens and trust in the national institutions that bring them together. It is about having faith in a better future.
• Secondly, the challenge of avoiding isolation, especially in some sectors which require openness towards international experiences. This is a gateway to economic development and progress. It makes it possible for Moroccan businesses and operators to hone their competitive skills.
Openness is a catalyst for investment and for the transfer of foreign expertise and know-how. Not only is it a driver for improved services and better training opportunities, but it also creates jobs.
It is a fact that the state, the public sector and national professional institutions have made significant efforts to carry out their mission and improve performance.
Nevertheless, some sectors and liberal professions, for instance, need to be open to international expertise and competencies, and to private investment, both domestic and foreign.
Many international companies and businesses have expressed a desire to invest and settle in Morocco.
This is a matter of deep satisfaction because it is a sign of confidence in our country. However, the constraints imposed by some national laws, and the fear and hesitation characterizing the mindset of certain officials sometimes isolate Morocco or lead to damaging indecision.
Those who refuse to open up to the outside world in certain sectors - which I do not want to name here - arguing that it leads to lost jobs, do not care about Moroccans but fear, instead, for their own personal interests.
As a matter of fact, foreign investment in those sectors would boost state efforts, not just by creating jobs, but also by promoting quality training, attracting expertise and showcasing successful experiences.
• Thirdly, the challenge of accelerating economic development and enhancing institutional efficiency: the aim is to build a strong, competitive economy by continuing to incentivize private entrepreneurship, in addition to launching new programs for productive investment and creating more jobs.
This requires greater institutional efficiency and a change in the mindset of those in charge.
The public sector needs an immediate three-dimensional revolution: a revolution in simplification, a revolution in efficiency and a revolution in ethical standards.
I have already drawn attention, in the past, to the need to change and revamp work methods, and to show diligence and innovation in the management of public institutions.
• Fourthly, the challenge of social and regional justice: the aim is to complete the building of a nation of hope and equality for all; a country where there is no place for blatant inequalities, frustrating behavior, rent seeking or time and energy wasting.
Therefore, there must be a final break with such negative attitudes and conduct; we must uphold the values of hard work, responsibility, merit and equal opportunity.
For this new phase to be successful, all national institutions and actors concerned should be involved in injecting fresh momentum into economic and social development in our country.
This requires collective mobilization and making the motto of putting the interests of the homeland and the citizens above any other consideration a concrete reality - not just a slogan.
In addition to the important role that has to be played by national institutions, I should like to emphasize the need for Moroccans to be involved, since the citizen is one of the most important actors in the success of this phase.
I therefore call upon all Moroccans to make a positive contribution in keeping with a spirit of effective civic engagement. Indeed, the results we seek to achieve, the projects we implement and the initiatives we launch all have but one goal: to improve the citizens’ living conditions.
God willing, the new phase will see projects of a different type. They will require qualified elites in all managerial and executive positions. Furthermore, new life will have to be injected into institutions and political, economic and administrative bodies, including the Government.
In this regard, I ask the Head of Government to submit to me, after the summer break, proposals to fill executive posts in the Government and the civil service with high-level national elites chosen on merit and competence.
This does not mean that the current Government and our civil service are completely lacking in qualified human resources.
I simply want to make sure the new phase is a success thanks to people with a different mentality and officials who are capable of raising performance levels and bringing about the radical change we are yearning for.
The celebration of the glorious Throne Day is a most fitting occasion to reiterate our unwavering commitment to the Moroccanness of the Sahara, to our national unity and territorial integrity, and to full sovereignty over every inch of the Kingdom’s territory.
I am proud of all that our country has achieved at the United Nations and at African and European levels. We need to remain mobilized across the board to consolidate these achievements and face up to the plots of our adversaries.
Morocco remains resolutely and earnestly committed to the political process, under the exclusive aegis of the United Nations Organization.
Morocco is also clear in terms of its fundamental convictions: the way to achieve the desired settlement can be none other than through Moroccan full sovereignty and within the framework of the autonomy initiative.
The security and development challenges facing us cannot be tackled by any country on its own.
With that in mind, I wish to reaffirm our sincere commitment to the policy of the outstretched hand towards our Algerian brothers, out of loyalty to the bonds rooted in brotherhood, religion, language and good-neighborliness that have always existed between the peoples of the two sister nations.
This was shown recently by the sincere and spontaneous manifestations of friendliness and support expressed by Morocco - its King and its people - for the Algerian national football team at the African Cup of Nations held in our sister country, Egypt. Moroccans shared in the Algerian people's joy and pride when their national team deservedly won the Cup. It was as if Morocco had won, too.
Because of this awareness and of the belief that ours is a common destiny and that we share the same historical and cultural heritage, we are optimistic and hopeful that we can work for the fulfilment of Maghreb peoples’ aspirations for unity, complementarity and integration.
Morocco belongs to all Moroccans. It is our common home. We must, all of us, each in his or her respective field of competence, contribute to building our nation, ensuring its development and preserving its unity, security and stability.
We want a country that accommodates all its sons and daughters; a country in which all citizens - without exception - enjoy the same rights and have the same obligations, in an environment where freedom and human dignity prevail.
I remember with deep respect and reverence all honorable Moroccans who made tremendous sacrifices for freedom and independence, and who contributed to building modern Morocco – a country committed to development, democracy and progress.
Chief among them were my venerable grandfather, His Majesty King Mohammed V, and my revered father, His Majesty King Hassan II. May they rest in peace.
I wish to pay tribute to all members of the Royal Armed Forces, the Royal Gendarmerie, the Auxiliary Forces, the National Police and the Civil Defense for their continued mobilization, under my leadership, to defend the homeland and preserve its security and stability.
Almighty God says: “Allah has promised those who have believed among you and done righteous deeds that He will surely grant them succession (to authority) upon the earth, just as He granted it to those before them". True is the Word of God.
Wassalamu alaikum warahmatullah wabarakatuh."