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Morocco joins the Digital Cooperation Organisation

This is the third African country to join this institution with the aim of supporting the digitisation of its administration and its economy
Laboratory of the "1337" IT training centre in the central Moroccan city of Khouribga

AFP/FADEL SENNA  -   Laboratory of the "1337" IT training centre in the central Moroccan city of Khouribga

Morocco has just confirmed its entry into the Digital Cooperation Organisation (OCD). This was announced by Ghita Mezzour, the Minister Delegate for Digital Transition and Reform of the Administration of the Alawi Kingdom, who celebrated the entry into this institution with the press. According to the minister herself, it is a strategy that is in line with the country's interests to begin to enter the digital transformation. 

"We are delighted to join the OCD, and our membership builds on Morocco's significant investment in the development of our local digital infrastructure," said Mezzour after the country's entry.

With this news, the Maghreb country's accession marks the third time an African country has joined the organisation. The first were Nigeria and Rwanda, in addition to the members that will also join the institution from 2020. These are Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman and Pakistan.

With the Kingdom's accession, the organisation told reporters on Tuesday that its collective GDP now exceeds two trillion dollars. In addition, all the member countries together, with this OCD partnership, now account for a total population of more than 500 million people, 70% of whom are under the age of 35. 

Nuevas Tecnologías Marruecos

The OCD also praised Morocco's entry as a new member. During the announcement, the North African nation's achievements in technology-related issues were praised. Among them, the interest in extending the coverage of its national network and the digitisation of its administrative services was highlighted. 

"Having a country that has so clearly prioritised digital transformation, along with a thriving start-up and innovation ecosystem, as an OCD member state will undoubtedly reinforce our collective strength and impact in creating a more inclusive global digital economy," said Deemah al-Yahya, OCD secretary general.

Morocco has been involved in the full digitisation of many sectors in the country for quite some time. Since two decades ago when the world started to implement the web in any system, the Alawi kingdom has adopted major strategies that have resulted in an acceleration of the digital system in administrative services. This has led to Moroccan residents being assured of easier and faster procedures and better access to information than before.

El rey Mohamed VI inaugura la Ciudad de la Innovación Souss-Massa de Marruecos
PHOTO/MAP - King Mohammed VI inaugurates the Souss-Massa Innovation City in Morocco

In addition to administrative services, digital platforms have also been created by various public institutions to facilitate access to various sectors such as health, taxation and transport. In the latter, the sale of tickets and access to information has become very easy for Moroccans who have seen the benefits of digitalisation.

It is worth noting that the national plan to expand the network by 2018-2023 has brought about a major change in the most rural areas. This programme has achieved a growth in the mobile phone adoption rate of 117.1%.

Even so, Morocco still struggles to access full digitisation. Moroccans are still wary of some online services, such as internet payments, for fear of fraud. According to official World Bank data, only 17% of Moroccan citizens over the age of 15 use digital payment services. In line with this, only 1.6% of the country's population is reported to buy products and services online. 

Sede en Washington del Grupo del Banco Mundial
AFP/ERIC BARADAT - Washington headquarters of the World Bank Group

However, the bank states that the nation has a very underdeveloped telecommunications infrastructure and e-government compared to other countries in the MENA region.

Despite this, the World Bank says the Kingdom has made a very good decision. According to the institution, greater involvement in the development towards digital transformation can be the solution to a number of important issues in the national economy. The bank points to its importance in tackling unemployment. Also, thanks to technology, it could encourage a greater incorporation of women into the world of work that is comparable to that of men.