New York – Morocco has been establishing itself as a "major economic force" in Africa, even as it eyes gaining readmission into the African Union (AU), which it left decades ago, said UN magazine Africa Renewal in its latest issue, highlighting Morocco's offensive on both economic and diplomatic levels to rejoin the AU, whose Summit is scheduled for late January in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
New York – Morocco has been establishing itself as a “major economic force” in Africa, even as it eyes gaining readmission into the African Union (AU), which it left decades ago, said UN magazine Africa Renewal in its latest issue, highlighting Morocco’s offensive on both economic and diplomatic levels to rejoin the AU, whose Summit is scheduled for late January in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
“Slowly and steadily, Morocco has been establishing itself as a major economic force in sub-Saharan Africa, even as it eyes gaining readmission into the African Union (AU), which it left decades ago,” said the magazine in an analysis entitled “Morocco flexes muscles as it seeks AU reinstatement.”
Recalling that the kingdom has expanded its economic ties with many countries on the continent, mainly through trade and investments since it left the AU, the author of the article, Franck Kuwonu, said that Morocco “now seeks to return to the fold, boost these ties” and settle the Sahara issue.
He said that “over the 10-year period starting in 2004, Morocco’s trade with the rest of the continent grew by an annual average of 13% ($3.7 billion) in 2014, 42% of which was with sub-Saharan Africa. This represented just 6.4% of the kingdom’s overall trade globally during the same period.”
“Yet the most remarkable change was Morocco’s direct investments in the continent. In 2015 it invested $600 million,” according to the World Investment Report 2016, a publication of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), quoted by the magazine.
Africa Renewal also noted that “over the decade ending in 2016, Morocco’s investment in sub-Saharan Africa represented 85% of its overall foreign direct investment (FDI) stocks.”
It cited, in this regard, a 2015 survey report by Ernst & Young, which underlined that “Moroccans became a more prominent investor on the continent, initiating 13 intra-African investments—its highest in over a decade.”
Morocco’s investments are mostly concentrated in banking and telecommunications sectors, which in 2013 accounted for 88% of its FDI stocks in sub-Saharan Africa, the magazine recalled.
Africa Renewal also highlighted King Mohammed VI’s letter to the 27th AU Summit, in which He explained that “the important involvement of Moroccan operators and their strong engagement in the areas of banking, insurance, air transport, telecommunications and housing are such that the kingdom is now the number one investor in West Africa.”
King Mohammed VI added that Morocco “is already the second largest investor on the continent and our ambition is to be ranked first.”
The magazine said that Morocco is supported in its request to rejoin the AU by a group of no less than 28 African countries, recalling that these countries had addressed to Driss Deby Itno, President of the Republic of Chad and Chairman-in-Office of the African Union, a motion for the suspension of SADR’s membership to enable the Pan-African organization to play a constructive role and to contribute positively to the efforts of the United Nations for a final settlement of the regional dispute over the Sahara.