(In collaboration with Termometro Politico)

On 30th March, the international conference “Prospects of cooperation Morocco and Matera socio-economic and cultural trans-Mediterranean” was held in Matera. The participation of Hassan Abouyuob, Morocco’s ambassador in Italy, was very significant because he underlined the importance of a close collaboration between the largest town in Basilicata and the State of North Africa.

The main objective of this conference was to set up various activities in order to elaborate more projects of business initiatives with Morocco. Furthermore, Abouyuob stressed the need to ensure a strong support for the creation of not only commercial relationships, but also socio-economic and cultural ones in the corresponding territories.

In 2019, Matera will be named the European Capital of Culture. It will have the dual opportunity to resubmit an energetic Southern Italy full of expectations, but also to give more confidence to the Moroccan state to create a solid cooperation. In 2013, Matera was hit by a deep economic crisis that lasted in all productive sectors until 2014. Since early 2015, fortunately the crisis has slowed down mainly due to those companies that invest and produce in foreign markets. Precisely on the latter, the town of Matera wants to implement better conditions to achieve its business, socio-economic and cultural objectives on the Moroccan continent.

Various studies and researches have shown that Matera has a key position in which it would be fully able to pursue a development project for the south and the trans-Mediterranean area. Cooperation with Morocco will hopefully realize a certain prototype of economic, social and cultural sustainability. This has to be integrated with and in the rest of Europe. In fact, this progress must be expanded to become a model applicable internationally.

During the meeting held in March, the debate was opened about whether to invest in the business culture to ensure an internationalization of the companies themselves. In this way, Matera, but also Morocco would enhance their ability to integrate themselves successfully into the global picture. Especially a few years ago, companies of Matera have gained a decisive interest in respect of the Moroccan market. Behind this substantial increase of interests, there are a number of obvious reasons.

From a business point of view, the economic complex of Morocco appears to be similar to that of Basilicata in general. For example, in the Moroccan Reign, the Small Medium Enterprises represent more than 90% of the national economy and contribute 35% to the volume of total exports. In addition, Morocco is one of the beneficiary countries for interventions of concessional support, financial assistance and development. In 2012, the Kingdom was subjected to a severe crisis that destabilized especially the third sector. Despite this economic situation, its GDP is recording continuously positive indices and it is growing. Therefore, it follows that Morocco has a rising market where the purchasing power of the population, which currently stands about 33 million inhabitants, has in principle increased.

On the other hand, concerning the political and social aspects, the Moroccan Government has introduced proposals aiming to improve the welfare system: the reduction of social exclusion (with particular attention to disadvantaged rural people); some work on the improvement of public education, health benefits, and housing; the construction of public transports and services in urban areas mainly for the people who live in so-called slums. Moreover, Moroccan governments are showing a strong commitment with the aim of achieving macroeconomic stability. Thanks to this dedication, Morocco enjoys a strong confidence from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the African Bank of Investments. Morocco has signed several regional trade agreements and free trade agreements with the European Union and the United States. Finally, for about a decade, Morocco has launched programs to internationally boost its infrastructure.

In a progressively more globalized and complex world, there is the need to intensify the level of internationalization. It appears to be a necessity, if not a priority for most accidents. To do this, it should try to increase cooperation between countries that want to actively internationalize theselves and those strong emerging markets such as Morocco.

Currently, the strategic value of the Mediterranean is still minimized, or at least questioned. This probably happens because the countries in the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa) continue to be characterized by difficult and unstable political, social, economic, and religious periods. Among these, however, it is always thinkable to evaluate some positive and real cases like Morocco that, for instance, can bring augment its GDP growth of 4%.

For all these reasons, Morocco can provide opportunities and significant benefits not only for Italy but also throughout the Mediterranean that, especially now, needs a big boost of growth, innovation, and hope.

BEATRICE CASELLA

Master’s degree in International Relations (LUISS “Guido Carli”)