By Khalid Baddou
By Khalid Baddou
Rabat – The expansion of Morocco’s political and economic footprint in Africa deserves attention. It constitutes an opportunity for all countries with a strong interest in Africa to solidify their relationships with the Kingdom and to accelerate access to a continent of more than 1.2 billion potential customers with substantially increasing income.
Since 2013, King Mohammed VI has flagged Africa as the top priority for Morocco’s international relations. His recent visits, along with those of key public and private sector leaders, to 10 sub-Saharan African countries, announced a new era in bilateral and multilateral collaboration between Morocco and those partners.
The Monarch has spent two thirds of the last quarter of 2016 visiting “friendly” Francophone African partners and, most importantly, Anglophone countries with whom animosity has been prevailing due to their opposition to the Moroccan authority on Western Sahara.
The announcement of a new pipeline, approximately 2.500 miles long, bringing gas from Nigeria to Europe via Morocco, in addition to signed deals to build a USD $3.7 billion fertilizer plant in Ethiopia and USD $500 million factory in Nigeria, represent the strongest economic achievements of Mohammed VI’s 2016 African tour. Such projects will increase Morocco’s influence on energy and food self-sufficiency in African countries with the highest populations over the long term.
Consequently, the Kingdom has managed to bypass political conflicts to build up trustworthy connections with key African countries, unlocking their economic potential and enabling Morocco to gradually become the true “Hub of Africa.”
Accompanying this new dynamic have been several important structural reforms in the Moroccan economy. The launch of Islamic banks, announced this month, in addition to the continued attraction of ‘Casablanca: the Financial City’ and other services and industry located in offshore zones, will be bring fresh money and investments to Moroccan and African economies alike. A few American, but primarily European and Middle Eastern Companies, have already situated their African headquarters nearby.
This novel strategy toward Africa makes of the Moroccan Kingdom a strategic partner for nations that support stability and welfare in areas where conflicts prevail. Emerging countries, like Morocco, could constitute a pillar on which to build a solid, win-win based sustainable framework.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent any institution or entity.