Morocco Receives Loans, Police Abuse Acknowledged
Morocco has been granted $190 million in financial assistance from the Arab Monetary Fund, an Abu Dhabi-based organization, to support trade with other Arab nations and help balance payments. “The Arab Monetary Fund supports the government’s strategy that aims to reduce the deficit of the balance of payments and strengthen the level of foreign exchange reserves, while supporting the competitiveness of our exports to Arab countries,” said Finance Minister Nizar Baraka.
Morocco secured a loan of $300 million from the World Bank on September 26 as well. The finance ministry said the funds would feed into a social development plan aimed at increasing access to basic amenities and fighting the marginalisation of women and the country’s youth. Specifically, the program tackles youth unemployment, which stands at over 30 percent, and gender equality in a country where illiteracy among women rises as high as 80 percent in rural areas.
Meanwhile, Morocco’s justice minister acknowledged “several cases of abuse” by police at recent protests. “The government must review the way in which the security forces intervene, to ensure that it conforms with the law,” Mustapha Ramid said. Ramid also accused protesters of “abuse,” by occupying major arteries in Morocco’s main cities and blocking traffic. ”It is the responsibility of everyone, not just one party,” to respect the law, he said. The announcement comes after the UN special rapporteur on torture, Juan Mendez, warned of a “spike” in the use of excessive force by the Moroccan police to suppress demonstrations after his visit to the country.
Finally, Michael Totten writes in World Affairs that “Morocco’s gradual political liberalization looks like a better model than ever,” acknowledging that the U.S. and Morocco recently began a strategic dialogue, “bringing the two almost as close as possible without bringing Morocco into NATO.”