Rabat - King Mohammed VI’s anticipated visit to Indonesia confirms that Morocco is determined to bolster its presence in markets as far as those in Southeast Asia.
Rabat – King Mohammed VI’s anticipated visit to Indonesia confirms that Morocco is determined to bolster its presence in markets as far as those in Southeast Asia.
The King is expected to partake in the 10th Bali Democracy Forum (BDF), making his “historic” first visit to the Muslim majority country.
Not only will the King get together with Indonesian governmental bodies, but he will also meet with representatives from 58 countries, including the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore, over talks to “promote and foster regional and international cooperation in the field of peace and democracy through dialogue-based on sharing experiences and best practices.”
Paving the Way
A few weeks before the BDF, Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani was in Malaysia during the 13th Annual World Islamic Economic Forum, where he delivered a speech, promoting the democratic advances in the county.
“Morocco has been sharpening its inroads in democracy and good governance, since 2011 constitution,” he said, highlighting that “during the uproar of the Arab Spring, the country managed to design its own path based on reform within the framework of stability.”
While Morocco is clearly eyeing cooperation with Southeast Asia, the feeling is mutual. “Morocco’s leading economic activity in Africa has made it a potential host for future editions of the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF),” said forum chairman Tun Musa Hitam.
Morocco is a suitable destination to host upcoming forums. “Morocco is a leader in economic development in the region [Africa]” said the chairman of the business-centered forum.
For Better Connectivity
In 2013, Indonesia and Morocco agreed to establish a joint commission to improve relations in investment, tourism, trade, and human resources sectors. A MoU signed in the same year called for capacity-building cooperation, exchange of training, and increased connectivity between the two countries.
The volume of bilateral trade between the two countries increased from USD 35.99 million in 2003 to USD 109.31 million in 2008, with phosphate as the main Indonesian import from the kingdom.
In September 2016, Morocco joined the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation (TAP) in Southeast Asia in Vietnam. The regional group consists of 10 states: Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Brunei, Cambodia, Burma, Laos, and Indonesia.
Both nations are members of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Non-Aligned Movement, and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
Today, political positions embraced by Jakarta, which often align closely with Rabat’s, have further strengthened the political bonds between the two nations. The most important example is Indonesia’s support of Morocco in the Western Sahara issue.
The visa-free entry policy allowing Indonesians and Moroccans to visit each other’s counties more freely has also helped increase the number of tourists between the two countries. Cooperation has also expanded into people-to-people ties, including religion, education, and culture. The strong religious cooperation between the two countries is symbolized by the presence of a mosque called Masjid Indonesia (Indonesian Mosque) in Kenitra, Morocco.
Religious ties between Jakarta and Rabat mainly take place in the form of scholarships. After the signing of MoU on Cooperation in the Area of Religious Affairs in 1994, the government in Rabat offered scholarships for Indonesian students to study Arabic literature and Islamic studies in several universities in Morocco.