Diaspora Engagement in Morocco: Understanding the Implications of a Changing Perspective on Capacity and Practices

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Overview
  • INSTITUTE:
    UNU-MERIT
    PUBLISHER:
    United Nations University
    VOLUME:
    Migration Policy Brief No. 10
    TITLE:
    Diaspora Engagement in Morocco: Understanding the Implications of a Changing Perspective on Capacity and Practices
    AUTHORS:
    by Ozge Bilgili and Silja Weyel
    PUB DATE:
    2012•07•24
    COPYRIGHT YEAR:
    2012

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    Morocco is one of the most prominent emigration countries with about 3 million Moroccan citizens living abroad, mainly in European countries. Since the 1960s, when the “guest worker” programs leading to large numbers of migrants to Europe was in full swing, the Moroccan government established strong ties with its citizens abroad. However, this relationship has not been an easy one. Up until the beginning of the 1990s, the Moroccan government aimed to control Diaspora members and strived to prevent them from integrating in the destination countries as well as from participating in the political field in Morocco (de Haas 2007). Morocco’s attitude towards its emigrants has changed considerably over the years. In the early 1990s, Morocco acknowledged the permanent settlement of Moroccans in the destination countries which consequently led to a reconsideration of Morocco’s relationship with its Diaspora. Accordingly, the focus shifted from controlling the Diaspora to including it in a Diaspora engagement policy (de Haas 2007). The main implication of this shift is that the Moroccan government started to put emphasis on the successful integration of Moroccans abroad, while encouraging them to stay in contact with Morocco through economic, social and cultural activities. The change in vision was also reflected in institutional arrangements, policies and programs developed in the recent years concerning Diaspora engagement. This policy brief aims to map the current state-of-art in Morocco considering Diaspora engagement based on desk research and interviews conducted with government officials and international organizations in Morocco in December 2010.