Green Growth in Morocco Takes Center Stage

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Green growth in Morocco is the driver of change for the future, balancing economic development along with the protection of resources.

With large desert regions, Morocco faces water and energy resource issues. The country greatly depends on rainfall and imported fossil fuels. Taking advantage of the opportunity for a different path to development, green growth in Morocco has taken center stage as the national strategy in seeking livelihood security and economic prosperity.

In 2011, Morocco ratified reforms to its constitution that affirmed the right to a healthy environment and a sustainable path to development. Following the ratification, the government and partner organizations introduced new programs and policies to make these rights a reality.

The national strategy, entitled “Plan Maroc Vert”, introduces inclusive green growth across various sectors, especially agriculture, tourism and energy.

The World Bank is partnering with Morocco by providing financing and technical assistance. One initiative focuses on linking small farmers with research institutes to cope with climate change and boost yields. For example, small-scale farmers have been introduced to drip irrigation and direct seeding to better utilize limited water supplies.

The agriculture sector employs 40 percent of Moroccans and constitutes 16 percent of the nation’s GDP. Green growth advancements in the agricultural sector can improve living standards and increase incomes.

Zoning and improved management of fisheries along Morocco’s extensive coastline aim to increase the longevity of the fishing industry, which employs more than 500,000 people. Greater enforcement of regulations through tracking beacons has improved fishing practices.

In 2012, the government began phasing out fossil fuel subsidies to encourage the growth of renewable energy sources. New alternative energy subsidies have attracted investments in this growing industry while the additional tax revenues have been reinvested in social programs for those in need. Currently, close to 9 percent of Moroccans live below the national poverty line.

Morocco is making huge strides in expanding solar power solutions. The largest concentrated solar power plant in the world is being constructed in several phases outside the city of Ouarzazate; eventually it will supply over one million people with electricity.

Solar and wind energy, including the largest wind farm in Africa, are several avenues Morocco is pursuing to reduce carbon emissions and establish its energy independence. By 2020, 42 percent of Morocco’s energy is expected to come from clean-energy plants, 14 percent of which is solar.

Achieving the necessary equilibrium presents some challenges. Dr. Hakima El-Haite, the Minister’s Delegate in Charge of Environment for Morocco elaborates, “It means being wise enough to find a balance between economic development, social mobility, and the protection of resources.”

For green growth in Morocco to succeed, all socioeconomic groups from small-scale farmers to energy investors must be engaged. The nation’s pursuit of innovative solutions abandons the “grow now, clean up later” model, instead aspiring for a sustainable and economically sound future.

Sources: African Development Bank, CNN, Global Green Growth Institute, World Bank 1, World Bank 2, World Bank 3
Photo: Flickr

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