Such challenges encourage us to reinforce our regional integration process to which we are strongly committed, in the mould of the Agadir Arab Mediterranean Free Trade Agreement, for instance, which brings four Mediterranean countries together-Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco-in a free trade zone of some 120 million people, or indeed the Kuwait Declaration, which calls for the promotion of intra-Arab investment. We are convinced that regional integration is a vital mainstay for the development of our economies.
Our willingness to intensify co-operation between our countries and to broaden the scope of action does not in any way diminish the importance of strengthening our co-operation with OECD countries, through productive and multidimensional partnerships, in order to pursue co-ordinated joint actions and provide effective responses to the decisive challenges confronting us. The MENA region is now a major player on the international scene, occupying a new place on the world stage. It has all the assets it needs to fulfill its role as a responsible and committed partner with a heartfelt desire to make a positive contribution to the international platform for collaboration and action.
The Kingdom of Morocco has committed itself, under the dynamic leadership of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, to do its utmost to meet the challenges of regional and global economic openness and integration by hastening the pace at which a new generation of structural reforms is introduced into priority sectors, such as agriculture, water resource management, the digital economy, health and education. In renewable energy, we have recently launched an ambitious solar power programme. Morocco's commitment to achieving its "advanced status" with the European Union is yet another practical example of this convergence of values and of economic, cultural and political rapprochement.
These efforts would fall short without the complementary and invigorating contribution from the private sector, which is being asked to play a larger role in designing and realizing development projects, and to fi nd useful synergies with players from the public sector and civil society so that we can reach new levels of growth and raise the living standards of our citizens. Our active marshalling of resources also demands harnessing the potential of women by encouraging their participation in economic and social life. This participatory approach lies at the heart of our country's public policies.
The MENA-OECD Initiative on Good Governance and Investment for Development is in this regard a good example of successful collaboration and regional integration based on shared economic and social principles and goals. Morocco is fully aware of the new role it must play within this initiative, which provides a forum for dialogue and debate, and for sharing constructive ideas with a view to spurring development, creating wealth and improving the welfare of our citizens.
© OECD Observer, No. 275, November 2009