Cablegate: Implementing the President's Cairo Vision in Morocco

DE RUEHRB #0006/01 0050745
P 050745Z JAN 10




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A. 09 STATE 071325
C. 09 RABAT 0667
D. 09 RABAT 0638
E. 09 RABAT 0490

1. Summary: Pursuant to President Obama's Cairo Speech and the
Secretary of State's remarks in Marrakesh at the Forum for the
Future, the U.S. Mission in Morocco continues to collaborate with
Moroccan counterparts from civil society, government, media and
academia to support a wealth of programs that are fulfilling these
directives. Moreover, we have several additional initiatives in the
pipeline. Our main efforts center around confronting extremism in
all its forms by enhancing collaboration on women's issues, economic
development, science and technology, education and literacy,
cultural exchanges, citizen journalism and civil society. We
continue to believe that the Islamic Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization (ISESCO) (Ref C) could be a valuable partner
in our efforts. End Summary.

Increasing Women's Participation
in the Economy and Governance

2. In Cairo, President Obama asserted that our common prosperity
can only be advanced if women in the Middle East and North Africa
(MENA) region reach their full potential. For Mission Morocco, this
means providing support to expand women's participation in
governance, increase literacy for girls, and to empower young women
through employment and entrepreneurship. Through a program focused
on Local Governance, the U.S. Agency for International Development
(USAID) is developing training programs aimed at building the
capacity of newly elected officials, especially women. Morocco is
making its own efforts to expand women's political participation;
this will require that women candidates and elected officials
increase in numbers under new decentralization reforms, which are
the key to promoting women's participation in local governance. Our
programs will include supporting piloting and replication of
participatory tools to engage women and youth in local governance,
encouraging the development of innovative procedures and rules that
enhance participatory practices that would engage women and youth,
and strengthening the capacities of communal and regional elected
officials, particularly elected women, to serve as successful
candidates but also as effective public servants once elected. Our
Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), which successfully
trained more than 3,000 woman candidates prior to the June 2009
communal elections, will also provide small grants to complement
USAID's projects to empower women. In particular, MEPI and USAID
aim to support the newly elected women officials to become effective
in local government while also supporting efforts to opening up new
avenues to women's participation in politics and government. At the
same time, USAID is targeting its political party strengthening
program at increasing women's role in political parties.

3. The Public Affairs Section (PAS) allocated almost USD 100,000 in
FY 2009 toward a two-way exchange between Moroccan and U.S.
specialists in combating violence against women through programs
targeting offenders. This program will continue into mid-CY 2010.
In support of this effort, PAS placed on December 15 an
IIP-generated article, entitled "MENA Organizations Work to Abolish
Violence Against Women; U.S. partnerships aid region-wide effort."
The article described a MEPI-funded project implemented by the U.S.
NGO "Global Rights" to conduct grassroots legal rights education for
Moroccan women. PAS is exploring a partnership with the U.S. NGO
"Empower Peace" to bring together young women via its Women2Women
(W2W) program, possibly through a regional conference in Morocco.
PAS youth sports programs in 2010 will emphasize soccer and
basketball for girls -- and young women coaches -- as a means toward
community development and highlighting women in leadership roles.
In the near future, the Millennium Challenge Cooperation (MCC) will
award contracts to strengthen the national system for literacy and
vocational education to benefit artisans and the general population,
in particular women and girls. The U.S. Mission has also begun to
discuss with the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization (ISESCO) potential collaboration to eradicate
illiteracy for both men and women. Moreover, as noted above, the
Political Section continues to reach out to women elected officials,
especially those who benefited from MEPI-funded training.

Economic Development and Opportunity

4. The President emphasized the importance of diversified economic
development, which for Rabat is a crucial Mission Strategic Plan
priority. Past and ongoing programs include the Peace Corps' Small

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Business Development Program, which brings business volunteers to
Morocco to aid in developing sustainable micro-enterprises. Those
volunteers also seek to promote sustainable models that make
appropriate use of resources, and that emphasize basic small
business practices in Morocco that will ultimately sustain
themselves over the long-term.

5. Other programs are designed to stimulate economic growth and
productivity. For example, through the MCC, the USG is currently
advancing programs in Fruit Tree Productivity to stimulate growth in
the agricultural sector and reduce volatility in agricultural
production. The MCC is also working on an Artisanal Fisheries
Program to modernize the means of catching, storing and marketing
fish, thereby improving the quality of the catch, maintaining the
value chain, and increasing fishermen's access to both local and
export markets. It seeks to stimulate growth by leveraging the
links between the craft sector, tourism and the Fez Medina's
cultural, historic and architectural resources. It will also
increase financial services for micro-enterprises in Morocco by
addressing key constraints to the development of the broader,
market-based financial sector. Finally, it will also help reduce
high unemployment among young graduates and encourage a more
entrepreneurial culture through two existing Moroccan government
initiatives, Moukalawati (Moroccan Arabic for "my small business")
and the National Initiative for Human Development (INDH).
Moukalawati was initiated to increase competitiveness in the face of
globalization and address high youth unemployment rates. The INDH
is a GOM initiative aimed at creating opportunities for the poor,
vulnerable and socially excluded.

6. USAID's Economic Growth program is broadly focused on poverty
reduction and employment opportunities for youth. Through technical
assistance and support to shifts in key economic policies, USAID
aims at improving Morocco's economic enabling environment for
investments and growth. This includes promoting the sustainable use
of scarce water resources for agriculture and improving workforce
skills to meet the demands of a modern economy.

Science and Technology

7. The enablers for accelerated economic growth in Morocco and
elsewhere in the MENA region are education and innovation, just as
the President outlined in Cairo. To this end, Mission Morocco has
embarked on an ambitious plan to support technological development
in this Muslim-majority country as a means to help transfer ideas to
the marketplace and create jobs. In November, the Mission supported
the Moroccan Fulbright Alumni Association (MFAA) in holding a
symposium to examine the role of science and technology research in
Morocco's economic development. We have also collaborated with the
MFAA to create a working group of prominent Moroccan researchers,
business leaders, and government officials to evaluate Morocco's
strengths and interests in science and technology collaboration with
the U.S., and will report to the Department the working group's
suggestions septel.

8. The President also announced the creation of Science Envoys to
collaborate on programs that develop new sources of energy, create
green jobs, produce clean water, and grow new crops. We continue to
work with Moroccan counterparts to advance these types of science
and technology-related initiatives in tandem with the Department and
other Washington agencies. The first visit of Science Envoy Dr.
Elias Zerhouni is tentatively scheduled for February 2010, and the
Mission has noted an outpouring of interest in the visit as well as
requests for participation in Dr. Zerhouni's program. In addition,
we will host the first Embassy Science Fellow in Rabat in recent
memory in February and March 2010, responding to a request from the
Moroccan Department of Higher Education and Scientific Research to
provide input and training on management of research grants.

9. The Mission has also facilitated collaboration between NASA and
Moroccan universities on solar weather research, and is developing
action plans to support training of researchers and enhance safety
practices at Moroccan scientific laboratories under the Biosecurity
Engagement Program and Chemical Security Engagement Program of the
International Security and Nonproliferation Bureau (ISN). The USG
(through ISN's Partnership for Nuclear Security, the National
Nuclear Security Administration, and Lawrence Livermore National
Laboratory) continues its long-standing scientific and technical
collaboration with Morocco's National Center for Nuclear Energy,
Science and Techniques (CNESTEN), including building a training
center, conducting workshops on topics including health physics and
reactor operations, and providing funding for participation in
international scientific conferences. Following discussions with
ISESCO, the Rabat Mission has also proposed launching programs
creating IT research grants, scholarships, and more assistance.

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Youth, Education and Cultural Exchange

10. In Cairo, the President stressed the need to increase exchange
programs and scholarships within the education sector. In Morocco,
USAID and PAS have supported and collaborated with various local
partners to foster youth and educational activities, and exchange
programs. Since 2008, PAS has funded and/or administered at least
six projects aimed at promoting use of e-journalism and citizen
journalism techniques among Moroccan regional journalists and youth,
to promote oversight of local government activities and to involve
youth as stakeholders in their communities. Post's new Facebook
page, launched in July, already has over 960 Moroccan 'Fans' who
regularly participate in on-line discussions on U.S. policy and
American society; many student participants in a recent "America
Day" in Fez attended after learning about the program on Facebook.

11. In the past, the U.S. Mission in Morocco has supported Peace
Corps programs that mentor youth, women, local partners, and
communities with participatory educational opportunities that
develop their own capacity to improve their lives. Peace Corps and
PAS (RELO) collaborate with the Moroccan government on summer
English-language immersion camps, and the Mission is engaging with
new secondary school-based English language clubs. The Mission also
supports English-language teacher training in traditional religious
schools administered by the Ministry of Endowments and Islamic

12. Equally important in these efforts is the mission's special
effort to reach out to youth. USAID's Education Program focuses on
the critical middle-school years for in-school youth and on the
growing cohort of out-of-school youth aged between 15 and 24.
Education sector activities will provide more relevant and higher
quality educational opportunities for both of these groups. Within
the formal education system, USAID's activities will improve quality
through a nationwide program to enhance capacity in teacher training
institutes; provide training for school leaders to enhance education
quality in classrooms; and promote community involvement through
civil society in school quality issues on the local level. The
out-of-school youth education activity will expand educational
opportunities for marginalized youth, who have never enrolled in
school or who have left school without adequate basic education
skills to continue their education or find employment. The program
will build institutional capacity of existing youth-serving
organizations; increase access to a variety of educational
opportunities including basic education competencies, IT, language
skills, entrepreneurship and employability training; and promote
advocacy among and for youth on key issues for youth and education.

13. We recognize English is rapidly becoming an important tool to
build communication and bridge differences across cultures. English
teaching is a rapidly expanding sector in Morocco; post's English
Access Micro-Scholarship (EAMS) Program is the oldest and among the
largest in the world, with nearly 4,000 students expected to have
participated by the end of 2010. With 1,700 students currently
enrolled, EAMS functions as a cultural program and teaches English,
leadership skills and cross-cultural understanding to Moroccans.
The "YES" high school exchange program sends about 70 students
annually to the U.S. and is now piloting the first group of U.S.
students in Morocco. Active engagement with alumni of these and
other programs, including MEPI, is a priority for 2010.

14. Preliminary talks with ISESCO have presented other
opportunities, such as a conference on how to move forward with
dialogue, an alliance of cultures and civilizations, a symposium on
a new perspective of U.S.-Arab-Islamic Relations, and student and
professorial exchanges between the U.S. and Islamic world.

Civil Society

15. The U.S. Mission is dedicated to implementing President's
Obama's commitment to bring together Christians, Muslims and Jews
through dialogue, building bridges between peoples that will lead to
action. A major focus of USAID's Democracy and Governance Program
is a project entitled Strengthening Advocacy and Networking to
Advance Democracy, known as SANAD (Arabic for "support"). This
program is aimed at widening and deepening public dialogue and
democratic practice by strengthening the capacity of civil society
organizations (CSOs) to mobilize, network and advocate. The project
provides technical, organizational and financial support to CSOs,
with a target of USD 1 million in grants over three years. SANAD

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has four major focus areas: civic action, marginalized youth, local
governance and community participation in education quality. The
project targets primarily urban and peri-urban areas, where youth
are at greater risk, and urbanization brings challenges to
decentralized local governance.

16. MEPI continues to be another important tool for implementing
the Cairo objectives. Morocco gets the lion's share of MEPI funds
for the Maghreb region because of its record of reform efforts.
Small grants that focus on grassroots projects that are limited to
one year enable flexibility for the Mission to target sectors that
promote youth, women's empowerment, interfaith dialogue,
entrepreneurship, technology transfer and educational reforms.
This year the MEPI program in coordination with USAID collaborated
with the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and International
Republican Institute (IRI) in an enormously successful program to
teach women the skills they need to run for office in the municipal
elections. MEPI is also supporting the national tour of an
anti-corruption play. New projects under consideration for MEPI
local grant funding focus on promoting democratic expression among
the youth, increasing entrepreneurship among women and youth, and
tackling the culture of corruption. Meanwhile, ISESCO and the
Government have also expressed interest in cooperating with the U.S.
in childcare and health.


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