Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Morocco: Istiqlal's former minister critical of government economic policy

At a conference in Fès attended by the region's economic élite on 9 February, former Minister of Tourism Adil Douiri (Parti de l'Istiqlal) warned of the dangers of the current government's economic policy. He argued that, unless the economic macro-indicators were corrected, Morocco could find itself slipping back thirty years to come under the supervision of the Bretton Woods institutions.
Beyond this rhetoric he did have a number of more concrete points to make regarding a number of major current projects. He argued for close monitoring of the implementation of the Plan Azur (tourist development) and the Plan Emergence (industrial development). The Plan Azur was based on expanding Morocco's seaside tourism with the construction of a series of new resorts. To date only 7% of this plan has been implemented, even though each completed resort could generate up to US$500 million in export income according to Douiri. Unfortunately, resort development has been slow and some projects, including the Oued Fès resort, are at a standstill.
In terms of industrial policy Douiri noted that the success of the new Renault factory south of Tangiers (see below) was based on strong State intervention in terms of land and infrastructure provision and tax incentives. He argued that such political will was going to be necessary to get projects like the integrated industrial park (P2I) in Fès off the ground. While Douiri was clearly making political capital out of this meeting, his arguments hold good for other regions of Morocco where ambitious development projects have ground to a halt for one reason or another.
For more news and expert analysis about Morocco, please see Morocco Politics & Security.

© 2013 Menas Associates

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