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Letter from... Rabat

22 May 2020

By Driss Benhima, Managing Director, Cambre Associates Morocco

While the Government handles the daily management of the health crisis, which has also become a major economic and social crisis, a group of experts appointed by the King has been working on a new development model for the Kingdom.

This group’s work is far from complete, but we could not have asked for a better framework to anticipate the consequences of the current health crisis on the evolution of Moroccan society.

It is already clear that the major impact of the virus on the future will be to accelerate transitions that have been taking place in recent years across the world or, at least, in political debates: digital transformation, economic sovereignism and the return of the state as an actor of social regulation instead of relying mainly on market mechanisms.

As the first illustrations of increased role of the state, the Moroccan Government has just nationalized huge storage sites for crude oil that have remained empty for several years to benefit from current low oil prices.

But beyond that, the Moroccan state has launched a direct subsidization campaign of 4.3 million households that lost most of their income during the crisis. It is a prelude to the likely arrival of a permanent mechanism called "universal social income."

These decisions, justified by the unprecedented situation of the economy and society, will move us towards a new economic and social paradigm, marked by the return of the nation-state and the new mechanisms of solidarity.

Our continued aspirations for sustainable development and a less materialistic consumption model will be important in the development model of Morocco, and also the whole world.