Search

 

Cablegate: Morocco: Delivery of 2009 Indicator Scorecard

VZCZCXRO7407
RR RUEHLMC
DE RUEHRB #1063/01 3151209
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 101209Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY RABAT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9327
INFO RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORPORATION WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 RABAT 001063

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EEB/IFD/ODF AND NEA/MAG

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID EFIN PGOV PREL ECON KMCA MCC
SUBJECT: MOROCCO: DELIVERY OF 2009 INDICATOR SCORECARD

REF: STATE 111916

Sensitive but unclassified -- please handle appropriately.

1. (SBU) Summary: Economic Counselor and MCC Country Director
delivered advance copies of Morocco's 2009 indicator
scorecard in November 5 meetings with Minister of Economic
and General Affairs Nizar Baraka and Primature
Secretary-General Mohamed Hajoui, and then subsequently with
officials at the Americas' Directorate of the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs. Baraka and Hajoui expressed appreciation
for ongoing progress on Morocco's 2008 MCC Compact, as well
as for advance notice of the 2009 results, but took strong
issue with some of the indicators, particularly regarding
"Democracy and Governance" and "Investing in People." They
opined that there must have been an error in the indicator on
expenditures on primary education, and also argued that
Morocco's continuing failure to pass the median on "civil
liberties" and "political rights" reflects neither the
political reforms that have occurred here in recent years nor
the "reality" that Morocco's press is the freest in the
region. As in 2007, they indicated that Morocco will send a
letter to MCC outlining its concerns, for consideration by
the board at its December meeting. End Summary.

2. (SBU) Baraka, who played a leading role in preparing
Morocco's responses to the scorecard in 2006 and 2007 in his
earlier incarnation as Deputy Head of the Moroccan team that
negotiated the Compact, expressed appreciation for advance
notice of the results and pleasure with the improvement in
Morocco's scores on "Economic Freedom." (Note: Morocco
passed four of the five categories this year, after having
fallen short of the median on four indicators last year.)
He and Hajoui argued that the shift shows that the data is
starting to "catch up" with the reforms that Morocco has
implemented in recent years. He questioned, however,
Morocco's score on fiscal policy, expressing surprise that an
indicator based on IMF sources continues to score what the
IMF has termed a "model performance" below average.

3. (SBU) Regarding "Investing in People," Baraka also
expressed surprise that the results deteriorated so sharply
from last year. He noted that there has been no shift in the
government's commitment in the area of primary education or
immunization, and that the GOM's own indicators show rising
immunization rates. He was particularly non-plussed by the
education result, noting that the government continues to
allocate increased resources to the sector (a 23 percent
increase in the 2009 budget) and that this is difficult to
reconcile with the magnitude of the drop (from the 78th to
the 44th percentile). Overall, Hajoui noted, 53 percent of
the 2009 budget is devoted to "social" sectors, reflecting
the government's overall focus on such issues. Health
spending is also increasing, he noted. The two asked that
MCC review the data, to ensure that no "methodological
issues" clouded the result.

4. (SBU) Though Morocco cleared the hurdle on "Ruling
Justly," Baraka and Hajoui expressed disappointment with
continuing low marks on "Political Rights," "Civil
Liberties," and "Voice and Accountability." Baraka argued
that the scores fail to reflect the "democratic methodology"
evident in the important political evolution that is
occurring in Morocco, with "transparent" parliamentary
elections in 2007 and installation of a government led by the
winning party. They also challenged the low scores on "civil
liberties," arguing that "liberty of expression is a reality
in Morocco." This is evident in the papers every day, Hajoui
argued, and has not been challenged by the government. He
argued that recent court cases against journalists that have
sparked criticism were not initiated by the government, but
rather were sparked by "private complaints" from individual
citizens. He stressed that Morocco is working with
journalists to review the press code and take it to a "higher
level," but that under current law "real liberty of
expression is respected," making Morocco a "benchmark in the
region.

5. (SBU) Noting the declining (though still passing) score
Morocco received on corruption, Baraka and Hajoui stressed
that Morocco has registered important progress this year in
addressing the problem. They pointed to the recent
establishment of the "Central Anti-Corruption Agency," which
will monitor developments and lead public education campaigns
against corruption. They also highlighted the recent
publication of regulations requiring government officials to
publicly declare their assets every two years. This newly
implemented requirement, they noted, comes with real teeth
and a broader scope than earlier efforts to compel such
declarations. Finally, Hajoui highlighted Morocco's

RABAT 00001063 002 OF 002


innovative effort, through an interministerial commission
that he chairs, to identify all areas where current law and
regulation gives government agencies discretionary authority.
The goal, he said, is to reduce the scope of such
discretion, as it frequently gives rise to corruption.

6. (SBU) Baraka and Hajoui noted that like last year Morocco
will prepare a letter to the MCC before the December board
meeting, to provide the board with additional information
about Moroccan activities in areas where they feel the
indicators do not adequately reflect the progress that has
been registered. The letter will also highlight the
"positive dynamic" that has characterized Morocco. In the
later meeting at the Foreign Ministry, America's Desk
officials, who offered less substantive comment on the
results, noted they will work with the Primature and Economic
Ministry to ensure that all Moroccan agencies provide input
to the response.

7. (SBU) Comment: Notwithstanding concerns in certain areas,
we share the GOM's view that Morocco remains on a positive
trajectory, even where its scores do not put it above the
median. Clearly work is needed in a number of social
sectors, as the GOM's budget priorities reflect. MCC may
wish to review, however, the methodology on the primary
education indicator, as the sharp decline registered there
has provoked particular surprise in the GOM, and appears
difficult to reconcile with what has been a steady increase
in resources devoted to education. End Comment.


*****************************************
Visit Embassy Rabat's Classified Website;
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/rabat
*****************************************

Jackson

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO: