In one his Op-Eds published on congress blog The Hill, Dr J. Peter Pham the director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center wrote ” Morocco is an African country of serious political and economic clout, integral to the continent’s development and prepared to play a leading role in its future. For policymakers in Washington, Paris, and other Western capitals long in search of a reliable partner in Africa that can direct its own resources toward enhancing regional security and prosperity, it is a signal they have been looking for.”
In fact, for nearly fifteen years, Morocco has embarked on a major socioeconomic transformation, combining substantial policy changes and ambitious economic projects that have sustained relative social calm and enabled the doubling of our GDP while maintaining sustained growth exceeding 5 % per annum. Besides, Morocco continues its remarkable presence in Africa and reinforces 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.
It is now worth noting, on the eve of the working and friendly visit of the French President François Hollande to Tangier on September 19 and 20, that Morocco and France share a deep historical legacy and the friendship endures. However, while it is important to bear history in mind, a shared historical legacy is not enough.
No matter how asymmetrical the relationship might be, it should not be taken for granted. Whether Morocco-France relations are “special” in the 21st century can be debated by policymakers and academics in both nations. At a minimum, the relationship should remain “important” in helping to ensure peace, stability, and economic prosperity not only in both nations but in the whole Mediterranean region more broadly. But this will require that both nations develop a set of strategic objectives that can be pursued in the future.
The French President’s upcoming visit will provide another venue to discuss what these strategic objectives might be in the effort to make Morocco-France relations more germane in a 21st-century world. It is high time now to give a new impetus to the private sector, NGOs, think tanks, universities…from both countries to implement many of the agreements and accords reached between the two countries. Both Moroccans and French should now accelerate their initiatives and projects in different fields to give a meaning to excellent political relations between the two countries. An economic, cultural, educational road map should be elaborated to open doors for potential projects from both sides.
Any observer of this long-standing relationship between Morocco and France will reaffirm its depth and magnitude. That upcoming high-level meeting between His Majesty and President François Hollande will offer an opportunity for both countries to discuss the evolution and future of this essential relationship, especially from an economic and commercial standpoint.
The two heads of state called the special partnership between Morocco and France, an exemplary partnership that is marked by mutual trust. This visit will be a valuable opportunity for both countries to deepen and renew these distinguished relations in the political, socio-economic, cultural and human areas. French President has always praised the momentum of achievements and reforms undertaken by Morocco, under the leadership of King Mohammed VI, setting the exercise of democracy and human development as priorities. Now it is time to move forward this historical relationship between the two nations to a stronger partnership that will continue to benefit Morocco and France.