By : Youssef Amrani
Yesterday, Morocco celebrated the 78th anniversary of the Manifesto of Independence which was the first official step toward achieving Morocco’s Independence, later in 1956. This auspicious celebration holds a unique and particular meaning for The Moroccan nation as it reflects on its longstanding history and unwavering commitment for cohesion, liberty and independence.
The 11th of January is indeed a primordial date for Morocco and a political turning point in its history. On this day in 1944, 66 men and women of the Moroccan National Movement came together in signing this manifesto thus claiming the full independence of the country and its territorial integrity. This legitimate manifesto expressed the refusal of the Moroccan freedom fighters to continue to live under “the protectorate” of French and Spanish colonisers.
These leaders, representatives of the Moroccan society and of urban and rural communities, were in symbiotic alliance that centred on the Father of the Moroccan independence and one of the founding leaders of the Organisation of African Unity, the late King Mohammed V.
The manifesto loudly called for Morocco’s independence, but it also called for the establishment of a democratic political system guaranteeing the rights of all the components of the Moroccan society.
Reflecting on this occasion is a vivid reminder that the meaning of freedom is deeply rooted in a nations’ collective consciousness. History is therefore a major part of a nation’s identities and Morocco, a 12 Centuries’ old State, knows what it takes to be a free, independent and a proud country. Moroccans cherish their history and, by doing so, never forget the courage, commitment and patriotism of their predecessors. Nevertheless, they never stop looking forward to their bright common future.
Yesterday, 78 years later, the spirit of the manifesto continues to live in the heart of all Moroccans. Its values and legacy are continuously upheld by the Moroccans who have willingly chosen to never forget their past, while building the future of the country. Solidarity and social justice are deeply reflected in Morocco’s political DNA, namely a kingdom of unity with a thousand years of history and culture.
On this righteous path, last year, was a major milestone in the democratic process of the kingdom. Indeed, the Moroccans were called to vote and they did so with an impressive turnout, taking into account that the ballot took place in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis. This shows unequivocally that Morocco is advancing calmly and confidently on the path of inclusive and democratic national development.
It is in this same spirit that the social and economical reforms undertaken since the early 2000 have always placed people at the centre of every priority. As an illustration, the crisis management of the pandemic undertaken by Morocco speaks a thousand words. These same noble values and the sense of sacrifice continue to embody the kingdom’s pathway towards modernity and development under the humanistic, altruist and forward looking leadership of His Majesty King Mohammed VI.
The new Moroccan Government has a clear objective of upholding this very same vision. In order to recover to pre-Covid-19 levels, among the main challenges facing the new Moroccan government is the advancement of mass vaccination, the generalisation of social protection and economic recovery.
A particular attention is dedicated to fully implement the major and historic reform of the generalisation of social protection over the next four years, to aid the country in the face of this pandemic.
The plan is to cover 22 million people representing farmers, artisans, doctors and other professions by the end of 2022 to guarantee them medical treatment, medicines and hospitalisation.
In the same line, one of the challenges for Morocco in 2022 is to maintain the pace of economic recovery in a context marked by the impact of Covid-19. It is a good indicator that Morocco’s GDP has grown by 6.3 % in 2021, in spite of the difficult international context.
Nevertheless, developing employment opportunities remains among the most important tasks of the new Government in a situation impacted by Covid-19 which generates uncertainty. The executive intends to launch the “Awrach” plan early this year aiming at guaranteeing jobs for 250 000 young people for a total investment of 238 million euros.
There is no doubt that the Independence Manifesto still carries a particular importance despite the decades that have passed since its presentation. This historic event carries several lessons that could be the key to resolving many of the pressing issues of the current stage thanks to the values and principles it has inscribed in the collective Moroccan identity. It is on this same spirit that we counted yesterday with a view to consolidating the achievements, consecrating national sovereignty and building a strong and resilient future for the Kingdom.
*Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco to South Africa Youssef Amrani