By Loubna Flah
Morocco World News
Casablanca, July 28, 2013
The latest official visit of the Senegalese president Macky Sall to Morocco comes to consolidate the ancestral bilateral relations between two friends and allies, Morocco and Senegal. King Mohammed VI received the president of the republic of Senegal, Macky Sall along with a delegation of ministers, including the minister of foreign affairs, the minister of infrastructure and transport, the minister of agriculture and rural equipment among other Senegalese officials.
Morocco and Senegal share a large number of commonalities compared to other African states. Both countries have forged a solid alliance promoted by their shared values and their ancestral partnerships at the economic and cultural levels.
The Senegalese president described the convivial relations between Morocco and Senegal as “founded on values rooted in the soil of faith and culture”. Indeed, the relations between Morocco and Senegal are anchored in their belonging to the Muslim World and the similarities between their respective cultures. The exchange between both countries dates back to the Saadi dynasty through trade and cultural relations.
Nonetheless, the advent of colonialism had disrupted the continuity of their bilateral relations. The two allies had to face the same tumult and fight for the same cause: Independence. The struggle for independence has rallied Morocco and Senegal together against the same enemy, the French colonizer.
The main key figures of this period were the late king Mohammed V and the Senegalese president Léopold Sédar Senghor who showed an unwavering commitment to the pan African cause.
Morocco and Senegal consolidated their bilateral relations mainly through a sustainable economic cooperation. Foreign trade with Senegal has considerably increased in the last years prompted by the liberalization of trade agreements under the effect of globalization. A large number of Moroccan companies operating in different sectors like banking, hotel business, food industry, building, pharmacology and energy relocated their activities to Senegal. It is also noteworthy that Senegal is Morocco’s leading trade partner in West Africa with a volume estimated at USD 122 million.
This bilateral cooperation between Morocco and Senegal is not limited to trade relations. It covers also several partnerships in education and professional training. A large number of Senegalese students are enrolled in Moroccan Universities and other higher institutes with scholarships attributed by the Moroccan Government. The Senegalese students do not usually encounter major adjustment problems due to the cultural proximity with the Moroccan culture notably in religion and social customs.
In addition, many Senegalese followers of the Zawia Tijania, a Sufi confraternity, set out on a spiritual journey to the Moroccan city Fes, which hosts the Mausoleum of Sheikh Sidi Ahmed Tijani, the founder of this Sufi confraternity.