Youth and the New Development Model
In his speech to the nation on the day marking Throne Day in July 2019, the Monarch put under spotlight Morocco’s new development plan. H.M asserted that it will be the driving force for inclusive growth, social equity and sustainable development. The Special Commission on the Development Model (CSMD) has accordingly dedicated meetings to hear from political parties, private sector, citizens and students about their views on the new plan. On this account, Atlas4dev in partnership with Attijari Wafabank Foundation, JCI Casablanca and TIZI Maroc organized a debate-conference entitled “Youth and the New Development Model”. Taking place on Thursday 30th January 2020, it was part of the “Exchange for Better Understanding” conference cycle led by Attijari Wafabank Foundation.
It’s time for youth to shine.
This 56th edition from the aforementioned foundation, made it possible to lift the veil on Moroccan youth’s expectations from the new development model. Additionally, it underlined the importance of their contribution to national reflection.
After the opening speech by Mrs. Saloua Benmehrez, Executive Director in charge of group communication, Hatim El Otmani, President of Atlas4Dev, presented the first results of the survey. The latter was carried out among the networks of Atlas4dev, JCI and TIZI, on the expectations of young people. It witnessed the participation of over 500 youth, and showed that their priorities entailed mainly education, health and justice. A debate then ensued moderated by Ms. Sanaa El Aji, Sociologist, Journalist and Founder of Marayana, with the presence of:
- Mr. Adnane Addioui, President of the association MCISE (Moroccan Center for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship) and member of the CSMD
- Mr. Ayman Cherkaoui, responsible for strategic development within the Mohammed VI Foundation for the protection of the environment
- Ms. Sara Maalal, President of the association JCI Morocco
- Mr. Aimane Cherragui, President of the association Sim-Sim Citizen Participation
- Mr. Karim Tahri, President of the Tizi association.
“Morocco faces many challenges but let’s not forget that several things work and we have to develop them.”
Several approaches capable of restoring confidence and allowing for political and civic participation might exist, but for Aimane Cherragui, it is one watchword: “Setting an example”. “Today, this bond of trust with the institutions is broken. Large institutions no longer represent examples for our young people to follow. There is a rupture, a gap in the sense that they no longer identify with the institutions (municipal, rural, provincial, regional or even government council) which are supposed to be sounding boards for the expression of political will.” He affirmed.
He added “Young people today do not want to wait five years to eventually change the makeup of the government or parliamentary team. Just like they don’t want to wait six years to have a say in running locally”. Aware that young people do not identify with existing political parties, Mr. Aimane Cherragui recommends “a legal system based on individual freedoms to soften the modalities of creation of associations and political parties”, arguing, however, that “no lasting change will come from outside the institutions.”
Furthermore, Mr. Karim Tahri said that “it is important to understand that generations change, just as the needs and expectations of society evolve. Young people’s expectations are changing and new ways of learning are emerging. Even ways of interacting with young people are changing.” He stated. “Today, we live in a society where young people express themselves digitally in an individual way and their essential means of learning are the smartphone and influencers. They spend an average of 20 hours a week on a phone.” He noted.
“Moreover, many of these opinionated young people have incredible talents. One just needs to know how to help them express the potential that is inside them.” He explained. Mr. Karim also declared: “Today, only 1% of young people participate in political life, that means that there is no replacement. Politics frighten young people. To resolve the crisis of confidence in institutions, accountability must apply to everyone.”
For her part, Ms. Sara Maalal, insisted that “The development of the country cannot be achieved without the real development of young people. If young people are not aware of modern issues, they will not be able to govern or take charge.” She also related to her association’s actions. Dedicated to allow young people to train and find concrete and lasting solutions to the problems of society.
“Our young people need to know and discover themselves better in order to defend themselves. Therefore, it is essential to offer them training courses adapted to their profile aimed to enhance their communication skills and soft skills.” She added: “These training courses are very useful because they allow young people to become active citizens, capable of finding lasting solutions to the ills of society.”
On the same line as its panelist predecessors on exemplarity, digital and the importance of projecting on a distant horizon, Mr. Aymane Cherkaoui states: “In itself, sustainable development is not the social and economic environment in isolation, it is one alongisde the other. Each pillar needs to be conceptualized in close relation to the others.”
“I have three concrete proposals: creating an intergenerational network, between the generation of young people who listen and the generation of seniors who is involved in building the capacities; creating green jobs that meet the new needs of Morocco and bringing out an ecological civilization by promoting ancestral practices, especially agricultural.” He stated.
At last, Mr. Adnane Addioui added “For a system to work, all stakeholders need to be concerned. This means bringing all sections of society together, consuming our local resources first, and encouraging each other to find solutions to our own problems. We must have confidence in our ability to find our own solutions and no longer import resources and solutions from abroad.”
“We are all waiting for results right away but we prefer a wait-and-see attitude. From now on, we must all be agents of change. For this, we need a general awareness to fully assume our role as citizens and our responsibility. As a result, a cultural revolution is necessary to fight against the culture of wait-and-see and de-responsibility.” He affirmed.