On four floors, the new headquarters of the Policy Center for the New South (PCNS) reflects a desire to be part of major think tanks worldwide. The center focuses its action on six essential programs that reflect the geostrategic transformations in Morocco and more generally in Africa.
The Policy Center for New South (PCNS) presented to the press its new headquarters on Thursday night in Rabat, in the affluent neighborhood of Hay Riad. A four-storey building with the most modern conveniences that a think tank of this size can have. Conference rooms, “Silicon Valley” exchange spaces, classrooms for the benefit of the students of the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University of Ben Guérir, a library … nothing has been left to chance. For 5 years now that the PCNS exists, the time has come for this institution to stand on its own. The change of name (OCP Policy Center to PCNS) in late 2018 was a turning point to assert the independence of the center and its vocation platform open to all. It’s not a divorce either. OCP has been that kinetic force that has propelled the center into the global think tank ecosystem, but as for a child who is reaching the age of maturity, staying in the parental fold can be interpreted as a weakness.
Master African issues well
The center wanted to strengthen its autonomy and participate in the changes that Africa is going through. It also aims to enrich the reflection on socio-economic policies in Morocco and the countries of the South in general. Karim El Aynaoui, Chair of the PCNS, focused on the need today to redefine the dialogue between Africa and the rest of the world, mainly with the EU.
In a context marked by a great rivalry of the world powers (USA, China, Russia) on the African continent, it becomes imperative to properly identify these kinds of issues so as not to suffer them. With this in mind, the PCNS works to help Morocco open up to countries with which it does not necessarily have relations such as South Africa or Brazil.
He also does a real job of networking and lobbying thanks to the aura and quality of his senior fellows, 25 of whom are foreigners and 12 Moroccans. Their work has enabled the center to occupy the first rank of think tanks in Morocco and the Maghreb and 8th place in the MENA region. Each week, the center produces two or three reports and plans to produce more since it has the logistics and the framework for reflection and idea production. In 2018, the center doubled the number of its publications, 212 against 112 in 2017.
The 6 programs of the center
According to El Aynaoui, six major programs punctuate the work of the center. These include Morocco in its geopolitical environment, Africa in the world, the challenges of security in Africa, a new Moroccan economy or transformations on the African continent. In addition, there is a very interesting program dealing with public policies in Morocco in a field approach that favors local contact at the level of municipalities, local actors and young people.
The Atlantic dialogues, a mark of excellence
The CPNS has made a worldwide reputation through the organization of the Atlantic dialogues, the 7th edition of which took place last December in Marrakech. This agora was attended by 350 people of 90 nationalities including luminaries like Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State and Pedro Pires, former president of Cape Verde. The Policy Center has an African vocation that finds explanation in the relevance of current issues. “Africa is the last frontier of development and it is a public good for the world. First because it pollutes little and its development challenge is an opportunity for growth for the rest of the world,” said El Aynaoui. The center is now engaged in this dynamic that makes the continent the future center of the world. The slowing of global growth is driving economic powers to seek new markets and skilled labor. Africa is capable of capturing this demand and responding to it as long as it makes the necessary institutional and economic reforms.