Morocco Breakfast Briefing

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Date: Wednesday 22 November 2017

Time: 08:00 - 10:00

Morocco has made more progress than its neighbours in diversifying its economy and consolidating strategic investments into Africa, which have attracted the attention of Chinese as well as Gulf, European and other foreign investors. However, structural problems remain in maintaining a dynamic of inclusive development across Morocco’s diverse regions and in responding to increasing socio-political demands. In the wake of the recent government sackings, can a new political and economic balance be struck?

Key discussion points:

  • Morocco’s 2011 constitution, devolving powers to the regions, remains to be fully implemented: what are the pros and cons?
  • The economy remains subject to centralisation and the vagaries of the weather: what is needed to unleash a new private sector?
  • Youth unemployment and internal security issues require new solutions: where will these come from and who will resist?
  • The status of the Western Sahara has not been resolved, despite diplomatic advances within Africa: how much of a hindrance will this pose  to Morocco’s regional and global integration?
  • The monarchy is a source of stability as well as a pole of attraction: can it evolve to embrace the digital era?


Dr. Claire Spencer – Senior Research Fellow in the MENA Programme and Second Century Initiative at the foreign policy institute Chatham House. Educated at Bristol University (BSc Politics) and the SOAS, University of London (Ph.D), Claire’s core research interests are in the changing dynamics of the Mediterranean region, the geopolitics of economic change and the socio-cultural dimensions of regional political developments.

Paul Welch – CEO of SDX, he is an international energy executive with over 30 years of industry experience having worked for Shell Oil Company (12 years), Hunt Oil Company, Pioneer Natural Resources among others. Earlier this year, he acquired the producing assets of Circle Oil PLC which expanded SDX’s producing operations to Morocco from its base in Egypt. Mr Welch graduated from the Colorado School of Mines with both a Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Petroleum Engineering. He also holds an MBA in Finance from the Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.

Craig Tevendale – is a partner at Herbert Smith Freehills and Head of their International Arbitration group in London. He has broad experience of commercial arbitration, court and expert determination proceedings in a wide range of industries. Craig has lived and studied in the Middle East and is fluent in Arabic and French. He has worked on many cases involving the Middle East and North Africa, notably Morocco.