At the end of this decade, Morocco was still experiencing a heavy burden in growth and human development. The growth rate did not exceed 3% on annual average. The poverty rate continued to rise, reaching 16.3% in 1998. The net primary school enrollment rate reached 74% in urban areas and was lower in rural areas (36%) and much lower among girls (23%). The literacy rate in the age group of 15-24 years in 1994 was still 80% in urban areas, 35% in rural areas and 17% among girls in these areas. Safe water was accessible in 1995 only to 81% of the population in urban areas and 14% in rural areas.
After the accession of King Mohammed VI, Morocco, inheriting such a heavy burden, was led to make a significant rupture with a historical context marked, for a long time, by insufficient consideration of the inconsistency of a liberalization policy and an economic openness with largely traditional social structures and conservative cultural values.
The quest for higher economic growth, a more equitable social and geographical distribution of wealth, more active democracy-sensitive participation by full-fledged and conscientious citizens was to be expressly the bedrock for the solid and unshakable will of the nation to turn to the best account previous achievements and to thereby make up for the deficit piled up.
With a process of societal and institutional reforms, the Moroccan economy is firmly inscribed in a process of active integration in the chains of the international values. Morocco seeks accordingly to build on the opportunities of its partnership with the European Union and the potential benefits of the free trade agreement with the United States of America or with an increasing number of countries in the Middle East and Africa.
In synergy with the opportunities of globalization and the added value of this open regionalism, mixed-economy companies play a dynamic role in the policy of liberalization and economic openness, breaking with the previous management method of the public administration. These companies had the power to create a more dynamic, secure and prompter new forms of partnership between the State and many private, national and foreign, sector operators, local authorities or, in specific cases, civil society.
In this context, poles of economic competencies were created and are being developed at sectoral and regional levels, enhancing the comparative advantages of the kingdom and the natural and human potential of its regions. On the basis of agreements known as "program contracts", the country adopted thus an investment process, particularly in economic, social, urban and rural infrastructures, and industries with high added values. The regional diversity of these investments participated in the relocation of the national economy and contributed to the territorial redistribution of employment and income. It offered new opportunities of access to basic social services to the population. The economic growth reduced accordingly the social inequalities and regional discrepancies.
The National Initiative for Human Development (INDH) has, in this respect, materialized the strong will of His Majesty to make human development an aim and a motivating factor for the new pattern of growth. Being, as we know, an important open workshop, the National Initiative for Human Development, by its conceptual approach, implementation participatory modalities and pluralistic evaluation methods, designed by the King, is a specific framework to promote social progress and, in this case, the realization of the Millennium Development Goals. In accordance with its purpose, the scheduled actions, in this context, aim to improve the living conditions of the population through the development of social infrastructures and, at the level of basic geographical units, the encouragement to create income generating small projects mainly for young people and women.
Serving this model of development, taking into account the role of the Hassan II Funds, the public investments financed by the resources of State and the local authorities are enrolled in the fiscal policy which keeps a constant eye on the macroeconomic fundamental balances in a context where growth has been, throughout the decade, driven by domestic demand.
Five years before 2015, the Moroccan performances, whether in an economic level or in terms of human development, indicate that Morocco will to be one of the, probably, few countries that will achieve the MDGs by 2015. It is a fact confirmed by the analysis of the High Commission for Planning (HCP) and the points of view of several UN experts and the statistical data as well. The comparison between the last two decades shows, in fact, that economic growth increased from an average of 2.2% to 4.4% and, excluding the primary sector, 3.0% to 4.8%. The annual average of domestic demand grew by 5.1% instead of 2.4%. The global investment rate increased from 24.8% in 1999 to 32.6% in 2009. The unemployment rate, meanwhile, decreased from 13.8% in 1999 to 9.1% in 2009, still high, however, among higher education graduates. The household final consumption expenditure registered a growth of 4.3% per year on average and, since 2003 of 5.6%. With an annual growth of income per capita of 4.3% and consumption prices of 1.9%, the purchasing power is improved by 2.4% per year.
Besides, people's access to basic social services witnessed a more accelerated rate. Already generalized in urban areas, access to electricity in rural areas increased from 9.7% in 1994 to 83.9% in 2009 and to drinking water from 14% to 90%. In the sector of education, the net enrollment rate of children from 6 to 11 increased, moreover, from 73% to 96% at the national level. It is almost tripled in rural areas and quadrupled among the rural girls. Thus, the relation of boys/girls in primary education increased from 66% to 89% and the parity index is more than doubled in rural areas. Today, the emergency program adopted by the government in this field should reduce wastage, improve access to preschool education and contribute to lower the level of illiteracy particularly in rural areas and to fuller utilization of human resources.
Life expectancy at birth increased from 65.5 years in 1988 to 72.9 years in 2009. This increase is an indicator of progress in nutrition and public health. The relative decrease in the rate of maternal and infant mortality, illustrated by the preliminary results of the ongoing demographic survey, highlights, in this regard, a greater efficiency in the management of public health.
All in all, improvement in household disposable income benefited all social groups, most of all modest and well-off, and to a lesser degree, middle classes. The relative poverty rate has thus moved from 16.3% in 1998 down to 8.8% in 2008. For the first time, Morocco has achieved a pro-poor growth and managed to hold in check social inequalities.
In light of this performance, the projection-based evaluation as recommended by UNDP testifies that Morocco is capable of attaining the MDGs by 2015. The approach of the High Commission for Planning, grounded on development of economic models, comes out in favor of a more comprehensive evaluation of public policies to see whether or not they will lead to the expected outcome.
The dynamic CGE model developed by this institution in collaboration with Mr. Rob Vos from the UNDP and with the assistance of the specialized expertise of Mr. Hans Lofgren from The World Bank fits in this approach. This model simulates the impact of public policies in social sectors on the Moroccan economy, mainly macroeconomic stability, and the achievement levels of the MDGs, particularly those relating to the issues of poverty, health, education, water and sanitation. It allows us to understand the dialectical relation between these goals and the synergies they have with the different compartments of the national economy. It also allows us to approach the complementarities between their allocated expenditure and to assess the level of their optimization.
In light of the foregoing, we may ascertain that Morocco, through more careful economic stewardship, would be able to meet the expectations by 2015. However, on account of large resources already earmarked for community welfare, such governance pattern should grow more efficient with the consistency of sectoral programs, a stable macro-economic framework and the imperative safeguard of the solvency of external finance. For this last point, an increased competitiveness of companies and a more active support of international cooperation are required. It is worth recalling that, when it comes to the latter, developed countries are urged insistently to honor their commitments towards developing countries in fulfilling their obligations under the eighth Millennium Development Goal.
Developing countries should not, however, fail to request strongly that the developed countries keep their commitments, at the Summit of Heads of States, the organization of which is suggested by the UN Secretary General in September 2010. Many countries would not, in fact, be able to achieve the MDGs without substantial support from international aid, especially after being severely affected by the international crisis. Morocco, itself, despite the relative resilience of its economy to the effects of this unprecedented crisis, lost, as analyses suggest, 0.9 point of GDP growth in 2008 and 2.4 points in 2009 and would be impacted over the years to come.
In general, no one can be certain about the extent of the effects of the international crisis and its duration, nor assess its impact on the real economy in developed countries and the living conditions in developing countries. What is obvious, however, is that wealth and profit accumulation sources should in all cases, introduce a new hierarchy of priorities in investments at the international level. Renewable energy, environment, knowledge economy, reduction of inequalities and regional integration would be expected to be the new engines of global economy which may further deepen the inequalities between developed and developing countries.
The new generation of reforms and projects materialize the commitment of the King to integrate the Moroccan development in the trends of developed economies. The creation of the Economic and Social Council, with powers in strategic planning, advanced regionalization called to transform the institutional framework of the country and boost its economic and social development and the promotion of new energy sources and green growth, are good examples illustrating the Royal will and commitments. Having eliminated its social deficits, Morocco is now the example of a country determined to build the future model of its economic and social development.
Finally, it is noteworthy that the broad-based and lively debate the national report on MDGs has triggered, coupled with the keen interest it generated among many layers of public opinion, are, in actuality, owning to the standard methodology-compliant holistic analysis followed in drafting and presenting it. Besides, this qualitative debate shows manifestly that composite indexes such as the Human Development Index (HDI) are unable to generate such an impact as needed to raise the awareness of the public as to the multiple challenges pertaining to human development.