State in “start-up” mode

In Morocco and elsewhere, public action has to face a complex, if not impossible, equation: traditional approaches have failed to reduce resources and increase dissatisfaction. What to do ? Another vision is thus presented: a public action, different, more agile, working together, re -invented to be honest. With this innovative aspect: technological and social change. In other words, a State in start-up mode.

A “new era” of public action

What is that about? Well-known: the State is expected to reform-governance that resembles the status quo is no longer rigid or functional. But citizens are at the same time “lenders”: the State must also reform itself, always be more effective, better, with fair, social and solidarity policies. The accounting approach to this dogma of mastering basic economic balances should probably not be underestimated or discarded, but it is no longer enough. The state can no longer continue to act as before and prescribe from “above”; in fact he must concern himself with constantly explaining, consulting and evaluating a requirement to have compliance. This requires expanded and strengthened digital administration. But this is not the only vector of modernization. This is determined by the government. At an international seminar held in Tangiers on January 17, the Minister Delegate for Digital Transition and Administrative Reform, Ghita Mezzour, gave some indications in this regard: digitization as a means of providing services to users, efficiency and transparency, strengthening confidence between the administration and citizens, mobilization and adhesion of human capital, modernization of equipment, development of infrastructures … A “new era” then of public action.

Today, it faces a triple challenge. To begin with, the immense environmental and social challenges. Environmental challenges? They are probably the ones that most affect the future of our society. They have a diverse nature: climate change, access to water, threats to certain ecosystems (deforestation, destruction of large natural lungs), soil depletion, pollution of all kinds, threats to biodiversity, waste management , excessive exploitation of natural resources … Answers must be given. Drastic. Contact information. And global. Another source of legitimate concern is the worsening of social inequalities. The World Bank and Oxfam estimate that 860 million people will be placed in extreme poverty by 2022 (less than $ 1.90 a day). At the same time, the 85 richest individuals collectively hold the same amount of wealth as the world’s population, or approximately 4 billion people.

Faced with this situation, States have a secondary challenge associated with their own difficulties: crisis of legitimacy, financial crisis, poverty otherwise inability to meet the expectations of citizens. Between a record level of public indebtedness and the collapse of the tax allowance, the State’s financial margins are too small to conceive of coping with these constraints. It should be added that the crisis of confidence between governments and citizens has taken hold: electoral turnout is witnessing it.

A collaborative and digital economy

The final challenge has to do with the issue of a new collaborative and digital economy. No doubt this opens up new horizons, but it also brings up some of its questions. The reference was made, for example, to the concern of the middle classes because of the uncertainties that could weigh on the job. Digital appears – or may be – as a threat: automation, questioning the status of traditional jobs. It can also be in the perception made by traditional actors, State and companies. The fear is this: their avoidance and replacement of new platforms that allow citizens to directly provide services to each other. This is the problem of a public service that may tomorrow be disrupted, as will entire sections of the market economy.
Such a picture remains disturbing. There are only two ways to look into the future of public action. One is what might be called a “declinist” perspective: allowing the role of public action, which is incapable of resolving current issues, to diminish. Another approach is presented: a “new era” of public action. It is based on three pillars: a stronger place for citizens, a new approach to the universality of public service and a deep deconcentration of organizations. This requires more confidence and accountability of the actors who manage the day-to-day implementation of public policies.

In Morocco, did the Akhannouch firm, which invested in October, find the right path in this area? In fact, it must reconcile sometimes conflicting obstacles: initiate very rapid reforms that meet the high expectations and needs of citizens, respond to successive priorities and announcements, put its public action in perspective. both in relation to its program and also to the axes of the new model of development (NMD). The danger? Dealing with short -term demand and sacrificing a long -term perspective on reform. This is because in fact the priorities follow each other; they even accumulate; thus they end up diluting forces and efforts, compromising any change project in 2035. Not a series of tensions but a momentum that is likely to promote compliance, set the path, consider long time: that’s the challenge. Does the current cabinet have capacity? The discourse of reforms, yes; the desire for reform was also expressed; actions remain …

The duration of the change

That said, the comparative approach is interesting to highlight. Surveys – such as those regularly conducted by McKinsey – thus attach themselves to the evaluation of programs aimed at ambitious goals of three different types: a growth trajectory or a strong development change. of the economy; control public spending and reduce the budget deficit; finally, improving the quality of public service. Changes made always require courage. Another observation: international examples show that simple and clear objectives and appropriate implementation methods are success factors. Finally, a coherent transformation model is stated around two main dimensions: the level of accountability of the entire line of management and the ways in which stakeholders are brought together.
By refining, we can identify three variants: changes designed and implemented in a decentralized manner; “technocrats” based on a “top-down” (vertical) approach and led by a central team of decision makers (politicians, senior civil servants, experts) grouped together within an agency focused on piloting the program; those still relevant to social changes, with an extraordinary system justified by the search for a large socio-economic impact.

In any case, a balance must be found between short, medium and long -term intervention. We should not focus on the electoral agenda and the era of political responsibility: far from it. The changes to be made should not fit into measures with limited impact but will be visible in the long run for long -term change. how Through processes, structures and texts. Even if they provoke a certain unpopularity in a short time …

By Mustapha SEHIMI
Professor of law, political scientist

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