Situated on the northeastern tip of African continent where the Mediterranean Sea empties into the Atlantic, Morocco in some ways serves as a nexus of African, European, and the Middle Eastern markets and influence. This nexus has created interesting tensions for Morocco’s development agenda. Considered an Arab state by the United Nations, Morocco is at the same time faced with the challenges of an African developing nation, including high rates of urban migration and informal settlement, poverty, and malnutrition, while also working to maintain its competitive edge in a European-driven market. Governed as a constitutional monarchy that only established its independence from France a little over fifty years ago, Morocco is in a unique position to be quite intentional in its development trajectory – and it is.
Recognizing their country’s physical vulnerability as an arid coastal nation, and economic vulnerability in a global marketplace where more value-added markets demand higher environmental standards, King Mohammed VI and his wife Princess Lalla Hasna have pushed very progressive policies for the development of a green economy, based largely on renewable energy and environmental protection through agricultural and industrial reform. But there remains a chasm between edict and implementation. There is a need to develop the networks and social infrastructure to transfer knowledge and technology for modernizing practice to meet these elevated environmental standards. The development of these networks, through brokering of industrial clusters, cross-sector partnerships, knowledge networks, and/ or communities of practice, is where CLiGS is focusing in Morocco.