Washington - On February 21, Moroccan king Mohammed VI capped his third visit to Mali in the past year in a dramatic week-long tour, culminating in the signing of 17 bilateral cooperation agreements. It was the first stop in a multi-leg visit to Africa south of the Sahara that also included Guinea, Gabon, and Cote D'Ivoire. Beyond its immediate success, the visit garnered a warm response elsewhere on the continent too -- a clear indication that the King's message and approach to development in Africa resonates among the people who stand to be affected most. This new dynamic, in turn, carries significant implications for Morocco's Western allies.

Ahmed Charai is publisher of the Moroccan weekly magazine L’Observateur as well as the French edition of the Foreign Policy magazine.