Last week at the ICANN meetings in Marrakech, Moroccan Prime Minister Jettou addressed the crowd about the important role the Internet plays in helping to advance the social, economic and educational agenda of Morocco. In his remarks, the Prime Minister said “as we all know, the Internet today is an essential tool for the competitiveness of private and public enterprises, an effective lever of transformation and modernization for the central and territorial administration and an important tool for the creation of jobs.”
Of course, he is right. From just my quick trip to Marrakech I could see just how important Internet and e-commerce can (and should) be for Morocco's economic future – from big business to the herbalist I met in the central market, who proudly recommended I contact him by email if I wanted to buy more of his products from America.
Prime Minister Jettou’s remarks are an important realization on behalf of the government and the PM should be complimented for his foresight. However, this is hardly the first time we have heard a similar speech extolling the virtues of the Internet from an Emerging Markets leader, and real progress will take more than discussion of potential.
Morocco has unique opportunities and advantages, including its strong educational infrastructure and proximity to technologically savvy markets in Europe. Especially given the country's challenges – from immigration and employment to the need for economic diversification – a focus on investment in information technology and training seems a very wise bet indeed for building Morocco’s economic future.
On the heels of the ICANN conference, we encourage the government of Morocco to do more than just talk about the virtues of the Internet. Make the promise of the Prime Minister’s speech -- and Morocco's ICT future -- a reality.