An overwhelming majority of African countries on Monday voted in favor of Morocco's return to the African Union (AU), during the 28th Summit of African Heads of State and Government, which is being held in Addis Ababa.

Thirty-nine African countries expressed their support to the kingdom's return to the pan-African bloc. Morocco's willingness to rejoin the AU was announced by the King Mohammed VI in his message to the 27th Summit of the Union, held in Kigali, and in which the King affirmed that the time has come for Morocco to regain its natural place within its institutional family. "By returning to the African family, Morocco aims to keep up its commitment to Africa and strengthen its involvement in all matters it feels strongly about. Morocco pledges to make constructive contributions to the AU agenda and activities," the Sovereign had said.

Morocco's Return to AU, Opportunity for Greater Trade with African Countries

Morocco’s return to the African Union (AU) is an opportunity for greater trade with African countries, many of which are growing much faster than European states. The various visits paid by King Mohammed VI to several African countries, in which Morocco had signed almost 1,000 agreements and treaties with various African countries since 2000. Moroccan banks have expanded throughout Africa, with a presence in more than 20 countries, and the country’s state-run airline “Royal Air Maroc” is one of Africa’s biggest airlines, with Casablanca used as a transit point for many sub-Saharan Africans traveling across the continent.

Morocco has opened a number of interesting diplomatic and commercial interests with their nearest African neighbors. Morocco could immediately help bridge the AU’s chronic financial shortfalls. These were again exposed at the summit this week when it became obvious that the plan to impose a 2% levy on imports to fund ambitious plans to reduce its large dependence on foreign donors, would not happen in a hurry. Morocco is geographically part of Africa, and it can contribute a great deal to the continent.

Major strategic projects were set up during my visits to African countries with the launch of the Africa Atlantic Gas Pipeline project with Mr. Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This project will allow natural gas to be transported from gas-producing countries to Europe. But more than that, it will benefit the whole of West Africa, through the creation of a regional electricity market and be a substantial source of energy which will help develop industry, improve economic competitiveness and speed up social development.

Morocco returns to the African Union through the main gate

The King Mohammed VI said in a speech at the 28th African Union Summit held in Addis Ababa that Morocco is returning to the African Union through “the main gate”. “Morocco is not returning to the African Union through the back door, but by the main gate. This is shown by the warm welcome extended to us today by our African brothers,” the Sovereign said.

The King seized this opportunity to invite African nation to join Morocco’s dynamism to give new impetus to the whole of Africa. “It is time for Africa to benefit from Africa’s wealth,” the Monarch noted, adding that “we must work to enable our land, after decades of looting, to enter an era of prosperity.” “For a long time, we have looked elsewhere to seek help in making a decision, a commitment,” the King said, adding that it is time for this tropism to be stopped.

Africa should be proud of its resources, its cultural heritage, its spiritual values, and the future should strongly support this natural pride, the Sovereign underlined. Africa can and must validate, on its own, its elections and thus endorse its citizens’ free choice, the Monarch said, noting that Africa has regulatory tools and legal institutions, such as Constitutional Councils and Supreme Courts, which can settle electoral disputes and appeals. “Africa is governed today by a new generation of uninhibited leaders. They are working for the stability, political openness, economic development and social progress of their peoples,” the King said. “They are working with determination, resolve and conviction, without caring about being “graded” or assessed by the West,” the Sovereign noted.

Morocco King Highlights Strong Bilateral Relations between Morocco and African Countries

Since 2000, Morocco has signed nearly a thousand agreements with African countries, in various fields of cooperation, the Sovereign pointed out, noting that “between 1956 and 1999, 515 agreements were signed, whereas 949 agreements have been signed since 2000 - in other words, almost twice as many!”. “During this period I, personally, was keen to give fresh impetus to this action, by making more visits to various African sub-regions,” the Monarch said, adding that “on each of the 46 visits I paid to 25 African countries, numerous agreements were signed involving the public as well as the private sector.”

"Major strategic projects were set up during my visits to these countries. Firstly, I had the pleasure of launching the Africa Atlantic Gas Pipeline project with my brother, His Excellency Mr. Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” the Sovereign recalled. "The project will thus create wealth for neighboring countries and populations, generating crucial momentum that will stimulate the emergence and the development of parallel projects,” the King stressed. "Secondly, as part of projects aimed at improving agricultural productivity and promoting food security and rural development, fertilizer production plants have been set up with both Ethiopia and Nigeria,” the King said, noting that “these projects will benefit the continent as a whole." "As we know, basic food needs cannot be met with gas or oil. But is not food security the major challenge facing Africa?,” the King added, noting that “this is the objective of the initiative for the Adaptation of African Agriculture, or Triple A Initiative, which we promoted during the COP22."

World countries to Work with Morocco to Consolidate Growing Partnership with Africa

The European Union (EU) expressed its keenness to work with Morocco in order to consolidate the EU's growing partnership with Africa, after the return of the Kingdom to the African Union (AU). EU Keen to Work with "We look forward to working with the African Union and Morocco to strengthen the EU's growing partnership with Africa," said the spokesman of the EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini.

The Arab League hailed on Wednesday the return of Morocco to the African Union (AU) at the 28th Summit of the Pan-African organization held in the Ethiopian capital. On this occasion, the Arab league’s Secretary General, Ahmed Abou El Ghait, expressed his sincere congratulations to HM King Mohammed VI, the Moroccan government and the Moroccan people. The United States congratulates Morocco on its return, the State Department said, underlining that "HM King Mohammed VI’s strong leadership and the government of Morocco have returned the country to its rightful place in the institutional family of the African continent".

The United States has praised Morocco's return to the African Union and the "strong leadership" of HM King Mohammed VI, the State Department said Tuesday. The Czech Republic hailed the return of Morocco to the African Union (AU), noting that the Kingdom’s reintegration into the AU will contribute to foster stability, security and development in the continent, Czech foreign affairs ministry said on Friday. The Portuguese government congratulated Morocco on its reintegration into the African Union (AU), the Portuguese news agency Lusa reported. Portugal’s foreign minister, Augusto Santos Silva, expressed his country’s satisfaction with the return of Morocco to the Pan-African organization, Lusa said.