By Safaa Kasraoui
By Safaa Kasraoui
Rabat – Morocco and Malaysia signed on Wednesday a partial agreement to abolish visa requirements for official and social visits between the two countries for 90-day periods of stay, announced Maghreb Arab Press (MAP).
The agreement was signed by the Moroccan ambassador to Malaysia, Mohammed Reda Benkhaldoun, and the Foreign Ministry Secretary-General, Datuk Ramlan Ibrahim, during a ceremony held at Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The agreement is expected to enhance interaction and exchanges between the kingdom and Malaysia.
According to Malaysian news platform Astro Awani, Ibrahim said that “the partial abolition of the visa requirement will encourage people to visit each other’s countries.”
The news site added that total trade between Morocco and Malaysia stood at RM 388.39 million in 2016, representing an increase of 24.9 percent in 2015. Ibrahim also added that the agreement will strengthen ties between the two countries and would enhance business, tourism, and investment cooperation.
The Malaysian official also added that he expects Malaysian airlines to launch direct flights between the two countries, noting that “approximately 3,000 people from either country travel to the other annually.”
In 2017, several African countries, including Angola, also abolished visa requirements for diplomats. In May, Morocco and Burkina Faso finalized an agreement to abolish visa requirements for the citizens of the two countries.
According to the 2017 Passport Index revealed in June, Morocco ranks 138 out of 199 countries for passport power. The Index shows that the kingdom is the 19th most powerful in Africa, less strong than countries including Tunisia, Malawi, Kenya, and Tanzania.
Morocco’s position at number 138 resulted from its not needing a visa to enter 57 countries. These include: Algeria, Belize, Brazil, Equador, Grenada, Haiti, Hong Kong, Indonesia, South Korea, Tunisia, and Turkey