Research studiesعاجل

Morocco makes of ECOWAS the ASEAN’s Model

 Democratic Arab Center 
Abdelkader Filali : Ph.D. Politics/Security Ottawa University
ImaneOuchen : Ph.D. Engineering. PolyTech Montreal

The aim of article is to capture the changing nature of Economic Community of West African States ECOWAS by the adherence and the membership 16 of Morocco, and more importantly, how Morocco will contribute in making ECOWAS as the Association of the Southeastern Asian Nations ASEAN model.  The traditional conception of security arranges the state as the referent, which means the state is to be secured from threats that exist in the military sector, economic sector and the political sector. These threats emerge from actors that engage in the use of military force to achieve their political aims. However, there is more than just military force from actors against a state; we examine in this context the notion of Non- Traditional Security, NTS (see Alan Collins). NTS is concerned with threats to security that do not include the use of military force. NTS broadens both the referent and the sectors. The referent now includes the state, but it also includes societies and individuals. NTS issues challenge the survival and well being of peoples and states that arise primarily out of non-military sources, such as, but not limited to, climate change, resource scarcity, infectious diseases, and natural disasters.

Economic Development and Non-Traditional Security

In the mid-1990s, there was a report that was released by the UN, called the Human development report, that described the notion of human security, which is as giving relief to the traumas that beset human development, or free from something. This went further on to say that attention from traditional military security should be directed instead to one of development, and to view development not solely in terms of rising gross domestic product (GDP) but about paying more attention to human and financial poverty relief.

The year 2000 was full of hope for the future, this was evident when leaders from 189 countries got together, and created eight goals which they wished to achieve by September 2015; these goals were called the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The goals were targeted around developing nations, the goals were: eradicating poverty and hunger, ensuring primary universal education, promote gender equality, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat HIV/AIDs and other diseases, environment sustainability and lastly, global partnership for development. Even with fifteen years to complete their mandate, they only achieved these goals in partial by the September 2015 deadline with still a long way to go before fully completing them.

Due to lack of completion of the MDGs, the countries decided on creating seventeen new goals in 2015, with hopes of completion by 2030. The new goals are called, Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). These goals are the MDGs, followed by issues pertaining to the world’s well being (they include specific environmental goals as well) to help sustain the environment, and allow everyone to be part of the change. The question is: “are the stakes set too high? Have the goals become too elaborate to complete (have the countries who agreed upon them spread themselves too thin?). Most of the MDGs have been half solved, and this leads to the big question, will the new goals be achieved, will there be an extension or will another 15 year plan have to be introduced. The first eight goals were ambitious, and with the addition of nine more goals, what can people expect to occur in the years to come?

Neo Colonialism:  More empty promises 

In order for a capitalist economy to function at its most effective level and produce the greatest amount of profit possible, the idea of finance capitalism must be considered. Finance capitalism is a stage of capitalism in which “economic and political domination is exercised by financial institutions” (Foweraker, 2016). There is an exportation and expenditure investment of capital to countries with underdeveloped economies; as a result of these behaviours there is a division of monopoly among the great powers. This process of dividing monopoly among those with the greatest amount of power has been seen throughout history in the form of colonization. When colonizing underdeveloped countries, the governments are likely to engage in conflict over economic exploitation (Ibid). This conflict involved the extension of a powerful country’s power through both diplomacy and military force, which by definition fits into the concept of imperialism.

In recent years Western Africa has seen many conflicts, the Democratic Republic of Congo seeing a large percentage of these conflicts within their borders. One of the largest and most evident situations where capitalistic imperialism can be observed is with blood diamonds. Blood diamonds (or conflict diamonds) by definition are rough diamonds that are mined in an area controlled by insurgent forces whose sale is used to finance antigovernment military action (Sierra Leone) (Franziska, 2010)

The Moroccan Know-How- Le Savoir Faire Marocian: The New South-South  

Southeast Asia rose from an underdeveloped region to the largest economy in the world starting from late 70’s. The success story in the region is not an isolated case, other states experienced high growth. The focus highlighted the consequences and effects of institutional design. The outcomes and patterns that are observed in the region originate also and are due to institutions. Akamatsu is the Japanese economist who came up with the notion of flying geese model through which the geese take the V formation. The lead of the V is Japan and in a dynamic the rest of the Southeast Asian states follow. It is the division of labour in the region a Win- Win scenario where Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand all rose to become major players in the global economy. There were fear and doubt in the beginning of who and how the growing of the nations, which shape they would be adventuring in?

The Moroccan-centered explanation encompasses a strong, centralized, bureaucratic state; pivotal locomotive projects, increased agricultural productivity, the development of an industrial sector, which included heavy industry, as well as the processing of agricultural products; and a clearly defined class structure. The skilled human capital is of great deal here. Morocco will be the hub for training and innovation for Africa. During the first years of Mohammed VI’s reign and in the Francophone summit exempted many African countries from debt.  Substantial aid was given to many countries. Foreign direct investment also began to flow into Africa.

Furthermore, Senegal, Benin, Ghana, Nigeria and other countries saw themselves as moving down a similar path to development. Ambitious East African countries knew that the train cannot delay its planned destinations, and the south-south model is getting ingrained in the mind of Africans. In order to inject substantial amounts of capital over a sustained period and equally for the development of an institutional state that has the capacity to produce a coherent, credible economic plan and implement it. Thinking geographically rather than historically will create an imperative that sees resources mobilized and political and economic institutions developed in such a way as to encourage a form of rapid economic growth that no other economies could have experienced.

Despite their many differences, colonial past, harsh Japanese treatment for the South Koreans and the Chinese, yet all seven Southeast Asian economies were immensely successful in very comparable ways. The rise of SOUTH-SOUTH model presents an opportunity to restudy the relationship between economic growth and political change.

An ECOWAS Initiative for Human Development

Can we develop and expand the Moroccan National Initiative of Human Development INDH into an ECOWAS or even an African Initiative for Human Development?

We can. It is already been implemented through bilateral cooperation such asthe inauguration of the fish-processing plant ‘Mohammed V1’ in Blockgodro- Municipality of Atticobi, North of Abidjan in the Ivory Coast.  Coming up next is the official functioning of the technical center ‘Nongo” on the Guinean territory.

SOUTH-SOUTH model presents an opportunity to restudy the relationship between economic growth and political change. The economic prosperity in ECOWAS will allow higher levels of education to expand, raising public awareness of issues related to political rights, which in turn creates popular demands for participation. Political awareness is further heightened by urbanization, modern communication, and increasing inventiveness to noneconomic goods. Meanwhile, social mobility may lead to a fluid class system that prevents ideology-fuelled confrontation. The more diversified an economy is, the more difficult it is for a regime to block a political opposition’s access in the private sector.

According to the South-South vision, ECOWAS countries can be clustered into:

Poor natural resources economies (Morocco, Senegal, Niger.) With Morocco leading and pursue a strategy that was designed to overcome their weakness in natural resources and take advantage of their human capital. First step is to develop labor-intensive, light industries like textiles and foot wear and then to increase productivity and export the products the next step is to use the foreign exchange to import capital equipment to invest in infrastructure and additional export industries.

Rich resource countries (Nigeria, Angola) will pursue a different strategy centering on the exploitation of the natural resources to develop the primary industries. This mode usually required a significant amount of investment in human capital because they were seriously short of skilled workers, engineers, bureaucrats and businessmen.

Not all the countries pursued the same strategy of development but that each devised a relatively appropriate contribution of economic policies for matching its domestic comparative advantage to the requirements of the development.

Morocco is the African platform of tangible departure into the ASEAN Model because of the possession of the following pillars.

Mega Multinational Corporations

  • The Canadian Bombardier
  • Boeing
  • Airbus
  • Renault/ Nissan automotive
  • Peugeot automotive.

Efficiency use of capital

The so-called the incremental capital output ratio (ICOR) is an overall index of efficiency in the use of capital; the lower the rate the more efficient the use. Morocco with a per capital income highly lower than neighbouring countries, nevertheless had an ICOR slightly high because it adopted deliberate policies to emphasized automotive and aerospace industries. 

High qualified human Resources and Declining Fertility Rates

The potential of Morocco as moving into an emerging power is the result of highly skilled workers. Technological complexes are distributed over the regions to satisfy the demands of the international markets (Technopolis, Agropolis). Efficient and technically trained bureaucracy, imaginative entrepreneurial talent with freedom to operate. 

Efficiency of Renewable Energies and Technology 

  • The Noor Solar Power stations with a generating capacity of 580 megawatts rivaling the Renewable Solar Star Project in Southern California of a capacity of 586 megawatts. This makes Morocco the leading pioneer in the renewable energy in the whole North Africa and Middle East and Africa.
  • Green Morocco and the restructuring and modernizing the agricultural sector .Green revolution increased self-sufficiency, high yielding variation of produce required additional investment in fertilizers and irrigation
  • Blue Morocco and the management of fisheries and environment under the name of Halietus, which is a development plan in the fisheries sector.

Efficiency of financial sectors

  • Wessal Capital, a joint private equity venture created by Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and the UAE for Moroccan tourism development, has supplied billions of dollars to Morocco’s megaprojects.
  • Financial city of Casablanca.

Mega Logistical Infrastructures

  • Tangier- Med Project, the largest port in the Mediterranean, which is part of a global trend of megaprojects.
  • Tangier Free Zone, which allows a protected free trade environment where foreign companies can operate in a free tax sphere.
  • 18 regional airports all around Morocco.
  • Modern highways connecting all regions of Morocco of a 1800 Km.
  • Casablanca, Rabat and Tangier and high-speed train TGV model.

Continental Training hub

The educational system is restructuring and the university system is expanding. The government develop state-funded institute in the areas of science and technology. Morocco diversified its focus from export industry of labour intensive products (textile) to heavy industries such as car manufacturing, Airbus, Boeing, Nissan/ Renault, Phosphates training sites.

The government invested in the development of high standard universities in Casablanca, Bengrir, Al Jadida as well as science parks and technological compounds (technopolis). Africans are getting trained in Morocco in various domains (Medicine, public policy, engineering, infrastructures…)

The Moroccan Security Expertise: Towards an African Bureau for Judicial Investigation ABJI

We see in the ASEAN the case of narcotics trade and terrorism. First, transnational crime covers a lot, from money laundering, to terrorism. In the narco-trade, we see there is the golden triangle, which makes up Thailand, Burma, and western Laos. The narco-trade makes up 55 billion dollars, which is the combined GDP of Indonesia, Vietnam, and Malaysia. Singapore is deemed as a hub for money laundering, while many states face an issue of criminals penetrating government institutions, such as in Burma, while it is 60% of private investment, while the Philippines has an issue with law enforcement and customs cooperating with the criminal world.

Bilateral and multilateral cooperation is needed more. With Morocco joining the ECOWAS we will see that they attempt to frame security through norm buildings, trust, and confidence, and to address non-traditional threats. As a result, we have cooperative security in the region– that is sustainable security in all sectors – economic, political, and environmental.  The Moroccan security expertise known in the EU members as flexible, tangible, and comprehensive helped minimize blood bath that could occur in Spain, France, Belgium and some Scandinavian countries through the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation BCIJ. This comprehensive security approach reassembles well trained personnel who are able to decipher the multilayered complexities of terrorism, not just in Morocco but also in the neighboring countries in the North of the Mediterranean.


From 2010 to 2014, the volume of investments between Morocco and ECOWAS was $ 976 million, which was expressed by observers once Morocco is in investments flows will be quadrupled.  We mentioned earlier that since the MDGs did not make completion, in 2015 the UN devised as the above 17 new goals they wish to have completed for the year 2030. The big question is how are they going to accomplish 17 if they could not even meet the eight?The future is in the south-south vision. It is a historical moment that would be a point of a dream that comes true as in the examples of the ASEAN and Robert Schuman European Coal and Steel Community ECSC 1951. We do understand sentiments mixing questioning and futuristicexpectations from all 15 members of the ECOWAS. By joining the group, Morocco will make all efforts to successfully overcome the slow processing and real departure of ECOWAS.  Morocco a credible negotiator gained the advanced status form the European Union would bridge the gap with ECOWAS.

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