A Comparative Political Economy of Tunisia and Morocco: On by Gregory White

By Gregory White

Examines how emerging financial integration with Europe affects Tunisia and Morocco.

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The “Green March,” or Masira, into the western Sahara in November 1975 was Hassan’s attempt to mark Morocco’s claim to a territory rich in natural resources. In the long run, however, it would prove to be costly. The subsequent military campaign in the Sahara has cost Moroccan society and its economy dearly, as much as $300 million per year. Although the campaign has solidified the country’s claim to a national identity and to a greater Morocco, its expense has proved ruinous to the state’s fiscal health.

Why did Tunisia pursue an infitah? What facilitated the turn to a development strategy that emphasized export-orientation toward the European Community? How has it been sustained for more than twenty-five years? A brief discussion of Morocco’s political economy will set the stage for some tentative answers. MOROCCANIZATION IN THE 1970S, STRUCTURAL ADJUSTMENT IN THE 1980S Morocco was much less stable than Tunisia in the 1960s, with riots in Casablanca in 1965 the most conspicuous manifestation of public disenchantment with Hassan’s authoritarian rule.

42 As mentioned earlier, the abundance of phosphates has proven valuable to the Moroccan economy, as has the existence of copper and iron reserves. Phosphates have comprised as much as 35 to 40 percent of exports and the country holds as much as two-thirds of the world’s known reserves. 43 Since the mid-1970s, the state has also sought to develop Morocco’s bountiful deep-sea fishing sector, among the most abundant waters in the world. 44 Finally, Morocco’s large population received less education under the shorter French Protectorate than Tunisia.

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