In June 2016, Moulay Hafid Elalamy, Morocco’s Minister of Industry, Trade, Investment and the Digital Economy, unveiled the Morocco Digital Plan 2020. The Plan aims to accelerate the digital transformation of the national economy, reinforcing the Kingdom’s aspirations to become a regional leader in the digital sector.
On 4 August 2017, Othman El Ferdaous, Secretary of State for Investment, combined digital with investment. Using the hashtag #fikrainvest – ‘fikra’ is the Arabic word for ‘idea’ – he invited Moroccan citizens to propose ideas for how to reform the 1995 Investment Charter.
El Ferdaous wrote on Facebook: “We will develop a new version of the bill on the basis of the best proposals, the most accurate, realistic and the most likely to improve the return on private investment”. His online initiative offered a voice to the public around an issue of national significance.
Within the first three days, more than one suggestion had caught the Secretary of State for Investment’s attention. While some ideas were unrealistic, El Ferdaous’ ministry was able to gain insight into Moroccans’ views through their comments, likes, and shares.
A government source claimed that #fikrainvest was initially meant to be used on LinkedIn only, with the objective of targeting professionals. LinkedIn had the added benefit that responses weren’t anonymous, giving the Ministry access to respondents’ backgrounds and fields of expertise. Despite this, the success of #fikrainvest quickly spread across Twitter and Facebook.
On August 15, one day after the #fikrainvest initiative concluded, El Ferdaous announced that he had received more than 544 ideas from 172 people. Half of the responses were posted on LinkedIn, with the remaining on Twitter and Facebook. The three leading topics were: legislation and taxation (15%), entrepreneurship (12%), and human capital (9%). This level of engagement reflects the success of El Ferdaous’ initiative.
By involving of the public – in addition to contributions from ministries and other institutions – El Ferdaous has added several steps to his reform project, and it will be some time before the 1995 Investment Charter is replaced. With that said, #fikrainvest showed us the value of including more stakeholders in developing and implementing national policy.