Yesterday, Moroccan King Mohammed VI arrived in Nigerian capital Abuja for his first visit to the African country since he ascended to the throne in 1999. This historic visit constitutes the third leg of a larger Africa tour, which has already brought the king to Ethiopia and Madagascar and later to Zambia and Kenya.
According to the Nigerian Foreign Ministry statement, the king’s visit reflects “the Kingdom of Morocco’s desire — at the highest level — to foster partnerships with the African continent and promote cooperation along the South-South axis”.
Today and after having performed the Friday prayer, King Mohammed VI and the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari presided over the signing ceremony of several bilateral agreements in the fields of agriculture, fisheries, air services and renewable energy.
According to the Moroccan Press Agency the strategic partnership to develop the fertilizer industry in Nigeria is part of a shared vision by Morocco and Nigeria for the development of Africa and a strong will to reinforce economic ties between the two countries.
This south-south partnership touches on all the agricultural value chain, based on fertilizing solutions that are adapted to the Nigerian soil and cultivation, to the availability of fertilizers on the Nigerian market and to the setting up of support measures for local farmers.
It also provides for developing a platform for fertilizer production in Nigeria, and reinforcing the fertilizer market in this country.
This collaboration seeks to secure fertilizer supply for the Nigerian market at competitive prices, share a real know-how in terms of developing local blending facilities, promote innovation, research and development, reinforce local distribution channels, and extend the existing agricultural systems.
The final goal is to develop a sustainable agriculture in Nigeria while helping with the amelioration of farmers’ daily life in a spirit of south-south partnership.
Afterwards, HM the King and the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria chaired the signing ceremony of two agreements related to this partnership.
The first is an agreement between OCP-Ltd and Dangote Industries Limited for the development of a platform for fertilizer production in Nigeria, inked by Mostafa Terrab, CEO of OCP-Ltd, and Aliko Dangote, CEO of Dangote Industries Limited.
The second is a draft agreement between the OCP-Ltd and the association of fertilizer producers and suppliers in Nigeria for the development of the fertilizer market in Nigeria, inked by Mostafa Terrab and Thomas Etuh, chairman of the said association.
The two leaders also chaired the signing of five cooperation agreements. They are:
- An agreement on visa exemption for official diplomatic and service passports, inked by foreign minister Salaheddine Mezouar and Geofrey Onyeama, Nigerian foreign minister.
- A bilateral agreement on air services, signed by Salaheddine Mezouar and Geofrey Onyeama.
- A cooperation agreement on fisheries, inked by agriculture and fisheries minister Aziz Akhannouch and Audu Ogbeh, minister of agriculture and rural development.
- A memorandum of understanding on the agricultural field, inked, on the Moroccan side, by Aziz Akhannouch, Hicham Belmrah, chairman of the board of the “Mutuelle Agricole Marocaine d’Assurance”, and Tariq Sijilmassi, president of the board of the “Crédit Agricole du Maroc”, and on the Nigerian side by Audu Ogbeh, minister of agriculture and rural development.
- A cooperation agreement on the renewable energy field between MASEN and the Nigerian ministry of energy, civil engineering and housing, inked by Mustapha Bakkoury, chairman of MASEN board and Babatunde Raji Fashola, minister of energy, civil engineering and housing.
Mr Laoye Jaiyeola, Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Economic Summit Group stated that the public and private sectors of both countries would collaborate to leverage on opportunities for sustainable economic growth.
Jaiyeola spoke at the Nigeria-Morocco Business Meeting, with the theme: “Business Climate and Investment Opportunities.”
According to him, improved business relations between Nigeria and Morocco will create mutual benefits, connect the continent’s markets and enhance competitiveness
This partnership between the two nations will take the bilateral ties to a new high and will sound the clarion call to form an all-directional, multi-layered and wide-ranging cooperation. This pragmatic cooperation in various fields between the two countries will feature fruitful achievements and exemplary highlights.
Morocco will continue to be present in Africa and reinforce south-south cooperation to contribute to the development of the continent. It is worth reminding King Mohammed’s vision for Africa that was well summarized in a statement he made at the Moroccan-Ivorian Economic Forum, held in Abidjan on February 24 2014, when he laid out a compelling vision for Africa’s development – He said that “This objective [prosperity for future generations] will even be more readily attainable when Africa overcomes its Afro-pessimism and unlocks its intellectual and material potential as well as that of all African peoples. Just imagine what our continent will look like, once it frees itself of its constraints and burdens!” Certainly, the current royal visit to Nigeria will grant bright prospects of Morocco-Nigeria bilateral relations.
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