Morocco and Africa: Long historical ties

The civilized brotherhood between the South-South

17 AUGUST 2015,
King Deepens Morocco's Ties with African Countries, Gains Support on W. Sahara
King Deepens Morocco's Ties with African Countries, Gains Support on W. Sahara

Morocco is the only Maghreb country that has centuries of relations with Saharan African countries. Relations started with the caravan routes that went from Morocco to reach black Africa. A contact namely with the countries of Sudan and Guinea continued to the present day through the huge number of agreements and yearly visits of the Moroccan king to Some African countries. These contacts were not only economic but also intellectual and artistic. Indeed, it is through these caravan routes that Islam entered the coastal regions of Black Africa, particularly through the Moroccan Zawiyas (Tijane influences which originated in Si Ahmed Tidjani buried in Fez, believing that the Moroccan Berbers and blacks have the same civilization characteristics.

Kings visits strengthen a partnership to an exceptional relationship. These regular yearly visits were carried out by the King of Morocco to different brotherly African countries this strengthening and enabling new dimensions to the South-South co-operation. Indeed, these working visits and friendships were marked by the signing of bilateral agreements between public-private and private-private economic partnerships. Thus confirming the increasingly important role that Morocco played in Africa through the policy focused on the development of the continent and its mediated activities. The role of Morocco as a country (which is) stable politically and economically is crucial in the resolution of conflicts, the kingdom is resolutely committed to peace and promotes a moderate and tolerant Islam, these strengths make Morocco a guarantor country in the region that its international community can always count on. These visits have allowed Morocco to reinforce its exceptional partnership and expand its multi-sector cooperation with these African comrades. The different steps of this African journey are the social, economic and human, devoted Morocco's determination to strengthen its historical ties and build a mutually beneficial co-operation with these countries with the full dedication to meeting the needs of their populations. The projects launched by the King during his stays in these countries have given full measure to Morocco's commitment to developing its economic, commercial, cultural and human exchanges with the nations of the continent and the consolidation of South-South co-operation, which was erected within the fundamental axis of the foreign policy of the Kingdom. This policy places the human element at the heart of the process and to develop goals by focusing on the key areas of agriculture, industry, tourism, fisheries, trade and human development.

Moroccan and African first policy King Mohamed VI who places importance on relations with African countries, further promote the South-South co-operation in various sectors. This strong desire to make South-South cooperation a dynamic model of co-operation had however already been expressed by the Sovereign, he is convinced that Africans should "seek the solution to their economic development on the continent first before turning to more distant lands in search of partners, often, because of the geographical distance and culture, they are not always able to understand and effectively support our country on the road of development ", said the king. The African tour of King Mohammed VI, in the year 2015, reflects this vision, Morocco giving the first example. This is evermore true that over the past five years, more than half of direct foreign investment in Morocco were in Africa to the tune of 1.5 billion euros (according to the National Exchange Office). Better, last year, during the peak of the epidemic of Ebola in West Africa, Morocco was via the RAM (the national airline), the only country to maintain all of its Airlines bonds with the three main affected countries (Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone).

Moroccan African Economic projection The African vocation of Morocco has thus taken on a new dimension by registering as part of a long-term vision based on the virtues of South-South co-operation and on the imperative of human development, establishing fair and balanced equitable economic relations. Morocco's economic projection in Africa has evolved in three stages. The first began with the involvement of Moroccan public enterprises in the implementation of various projects related to the development of basic infrastructure: dams, road and rail networks, telecommunications, sanitation, electricities, water resource management and irrigation plus various others. Secondly, private operators were involved mainly within the service sectors (banking, professional training, mining,), supported in their efforts by a very dynamic economic diplomacy. The current phase is marked by the impulse of a real economic strategy, which is in part of a medium and long-term vision oriented towards the realization of a further regional integration in all its dimensions commercial, financial, economic or monetary.

The realization of further regional integration in all its many dimensions should help unlock the potential of the continent and offer hope of a better life to its people. It should help Africa to support and rely on its own potential by developing public-private South-South partnerships and facilitating the transfer of technology in a mutually beneficial framework. Morocco has already taken part in several initiatives in favor of African countries, including the cancellation of the debt of some lesser developed countries and total exemption of their product customs duty at the entrance of the Moroccan market.

Morocco has continued its efforts to strengthen the co-operation with African partners, working especially for an agreement with the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) and adhering to the Community of Sahel Saharan States (COMESSA). It is negotiating strategic partnerships agreements, including the gradual establishment of free trade areas with the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) and the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC).

The opportunities arising from the "triangular" co-operation is to direct international aid funds financng infrastructure projects in Africa and to entrust project management within Moroccan companies, and may also serve as a foothold for further intensification of Morocco's economic relations with other countries of the continent.