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Moroccan Royal Vision For Africa: Africa Must Resolutely Look To The Future – OpEd

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At the 28th African Union (AU) Summit held in Addis Ababa, King Mohammed IV said: “A New Africa will make the most of its potential since our continent boasts tremendous assets. Morocco wants to contribute to the emergence of that New Africa. We owe this to our peoples. We owe it to our youths. The promise of a better, more prosperous future should no longer be an empty slogan or mere wishful thinking. It is our duty to match words with action for the sake of our future generations – for the sake of a New Africa.”

In another Royal message to the participants in the Crans Montana Forum held in Dakhla from March 12-14, King Mohammed VI stressed that “Morocco’s African policy is based on a comprehensive, integrated and inclusive approach designed to promote peace and stability, encourage sustainable human development and safeguard the cultural and spiritual identity of our populations, while respecting the universal values of human rights.”

“Morocco has been working untiringly to help forge a modern, bold, entrepreneurial and open Africa; an African continent which is proud of its identity, which derives its vibrancy from its cultural heritage and which is capable of transcending outdated ideologies,” he said

The King acknowledged that “the borders inherited from colonization often continue to be a major source of tension and conflict,” and that “Africa is a continent with growing and unsettling security issues”; but he stressed that “Africa’s tremendous human and natural resources should, instead, be a powerful catalyst for regional integration,” and urged that “It is up to us — Africans — to innovate in order to turn them into open spaces where fruitful exchange and interaction can flourish between African states.

At the Moroccan-Ivorian Economic Forum, held in Abidjan on February 24 2014, King Mohammed VI 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”

Morocco is and will continue to be present in Africa and reinforce south-south cooperation to contribute to the development of the African continent and collaborate with American and European allies to bring peace and stability to this continent.

Committed defender of African integration, Morocco is an regional economic and financial hub, a hotspot for international investment in Africa. But South-South dialogue isn’t enough in itself. African development can only prosper with a triangular co-operation model, North-South-South.

“For a long time our friends have been asking us to return to them, so that Morocco can take up its natural place within its institutional family. The moment has now come,” the monarch said in a message sent to an AU 27th summit held taking in Kigali.

“Through this historic act and return, Morocco wants to work within the AU to transcend divisions,” he added.

“Mine is a country whose commitment to just causes needs no further proof. Indeed, my country has been and always will be guided by an unshakable faith in Africa, in a Continent which derives its strength from its economic riches and potential, which is proud of its cultural and spiritual heritage, and which confidently looks to the future.”

“Morocco is an African nation and it always will be. And all of us, Moroccans, shall remain at the service of Africa. We shall be at the forefront of actions to preserve the dignity of African citizens and ensure respect for our Continent. “These were the words of late King Hassan II, in his Message to the Twentieth OAU Summit on 12 November 1984, announcing Morocco’s withdrawal.

Those words pronounced by His late Majesty proved prophetic, and the conclusion today is obvious: Morocco has kept its promise.

Three decades later, Africa has never been so much at the heart of Morocco’s foreign policy and its international action as it is today.

Morocco has forged a unique, authentic and tangible South-South cooperation model which has made it possible not only to consolidate cooperation in the traditional areas of training and technical assistance, but also to engage in new, strategic sectors such as food security and infrastructure development.”

Morocco is already the second largest investor in the Continent. It is worth recalling the important involvement of Moroccan operators and their strong engagement in the areas of banking, insurance, air transport, telecommunications, housing. Morocco is also seeking to develop a strategy for tripartite cooperation channel aid funds made available in the framework of international programs for the financing of infrastructure projects or socio-economic development in African countries and to entrust those projects to Moroccan companies (consultancies, engineering companies, service providers, etc).

Morocco attaches great importance to national education by providing college scholarships to African students. More than 10,000 students pursue their studies each year in universities and schools through scholarships provided by the Moroccan Agency for International Cooperation (AMCI).

Morocco has initiated many African countries to triangular cooperation, rich and varied, based on a true partnership and effective solidarity, in addition to cooperation programs implemented bilaterally. It has many advantages and allows many African countries to benefit from the know-how and expertise already experienced in the land of Africa and to overcome the lack of budgetary resources.

Given the multiple benefits of triangular cooperation, Morocco considers that this type of partnership can be a vehicle for supporting the efforts of developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa and expresses its readiness to invest with donors and regional donors and international collaboration seeking to achieve tripartite programs for countries in SSA.

Export Morocco spares no effort to promote exchanges between Morocco and many African countries, through participation in international fairs and exhibitions, and the organization of business missions, advising businesses, hosting meetings with economic operators, and finally by sponsoring prospective studies of areas and countries.

Morocco will continue to be present in Africa and reinforce south-south cooperation to contribute to the development of the African continent and collaborate with American and European allies to bring peace and stability to this continent.

Committed defender of African integration, Morocco is an regional economic and financial hub, a hotspot for international investment in Africa. But South-South dialogue isn’t enough in itself. African development can only prosper with a triangular co-operation model, North-South-South.

Morocco is strengthening its political, economic and spiritual presence in Africa. This royal vision will certainly contribute efficiently to a stable and prosperous africa that will become more and more economically attractive to foreign investors.

Morocco’ s political influence is growing and so is the trust of the states it is working with. The kingdom keeps defending African’s cause, either directly, thanks to its participation in different operations to maintain peace or either indirectly, supporting, in all of the international summits, sustained efforts for human and social development in the sub-Saharan area.

Morocco also relies on its spiritual diplomacy. King Mohammed VI in his capacity as Commander of the Faithful, agreed to official requests made by African countries to benefit from religious training and cooperation.

Moroccan spiritual diplomacy has been very successful in West Africa due to the country’s historic Maliki School through Sufi channels and methods of reaching worshipers in the sub-Saharan region and West Africa. The Tijaniya sufi order widely operating in West Africa was founded in North Africa during the 18th century. Other Sufi orders – including the Qadiriyya and Chadiliya orders – soon followed, gaining large numbers of devotees who identified heavily with Morocco, where the tomb of Sheikh Ahmed Tijani, the founder of the Tijaniyyah order, is buried.

Apparently Morocco’s religious authority – Imarat Lmouminin – is highly venerated by many Africans, whether in Mali, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire… In all his trips in Africa, King Mohammed as Commander of the Faithful, receive all leaders of major Sufi orders. In all his trips in West Africa, he provided thousands of copies of the Quran issued by the Mohammed VI Foundation for Holy Quran Publishing to be distributed mosques and other major Muslim institutions. In short, a credible and very successful spiritual diplomacy led by the King to promote a tolerant Islam that teaches respect, love to other religions and contribute efficiently to counter all extremist voices who unfortunately seem to gain ground in some countries in West Africa.

In March 2015, King Mohammed VI inaugurated the Mohammed VI Institute for the Training of Imams, Morchidines, and Morchidates in the capital, Rabat. The religious training center that aims to instill the values of Morocco’s open, moderate form of Islam, based on the Maliki rite and Sunni Sufism, in the next generation of Muslim religious leaders (imams) and preachers (morchidines and morchidates) from across the region and the world.

The new foundation (Mohammed VI Foundation for African Ulema) is a key element in Morocco’s ongoing efforts to promote religious moderation and tolerance as a shield against extremism in the region. The spiritual ties between Morocco and many African Sub-Saharan countries are mirrored throughout history in the exchange of muslim scholars, saints and sufis who spared no effort to spread the genuine Islamic values of tolerance and moderation.

Certainly, Morocco readmittance to the African Union will benefit the whole continent since Morocco will undoubtedly contribute much to the continent in terms of knowledge, expertise and human capital.

This was high time that a country as big a player in Africa as Morocco reclaimed its rightful place in the African institution.

Morocco will continue to be present in Africa and reinforce south-south cooperation to contribute to the development of the African continent and collaborate with American and European allies to bring peace and stability to this continent.

Certainly Morocco’s highly appreciated return to the African Union will boost the pan African organization and will contribute effectively along with all other members to empower the organization economically and politically and thus will serve the key interests of the African continent on all levels.

“It is a beautiful day when one returns home after too long an absence. Africa is my continent and my home. I am finally home and I am happy to see you. I missed you all,” the monarch told the closing ceremony of the AU summit in Ethiopia.


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Said Temsamani

Said Temsamani

Said Temsamani is a Moroccan political observer and consultant, who follows events in his country and across North Africa. He is a member of Washington Press Club.

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