Rabat - Since its readmission in the African Union, Morocco’s diplomacy has increased its focus on the African continent. This Africa-oriented policy of Morocco’s newfound diplomatic assertiveness is especially manifest in the North African country’s status as the second African investor in the rest of Africa.
Rabat – Since its readmission in the African Union, Morocco’s diplomacy has increased its focus on the African continent. This Africa-oriented policy of Morocco’s newfound diplomatic assertiveness is especially manifest in the North African country’s status as the second African investor in the rest of Africa.
However, Morocco’s “African turn” has been impeded by the slowness with which its ECOWAS membership request is being treated, especially given the rhetoric from some countries claiming that Morocco’s ECOWAS membership would be harmful for the organization.
To thwart the growing suspicions regarding Morocco’s eventual admission within the regional body, the Amadeus Institute and the Prospective Agricultural and Rural Initiative (IPAR) organized a conference on March 29, in Dakar, Senegal. Under the theme “Morocco’s ECOWAS Bid: Foundations, Common Stakes, and Perspectives,” participants discussed the possible costs and benefits of Morocco’s bid.
In a statement shared with Morocco World News, the Dakar conference organizers expressed their satisfaction at the success of the event, saying that the “conference was an opportunity to hold a sincere dialogue with the involved parties” and important stakeholders in the ECOWAS region.
The conference was marked by the presence of political parties, government officials, consumer organizations, civil society groups, investors and representatives of the private sector, as well as researchers from Moroccan and Senegalese think thanks, the statement said.
“Discussions explored, without any sort of complacency, political, social, and economic, and security impacts that Morocco’s membership would have on ECOWAS’ member states. While acknowledging the legitimacy of Morocco’s membership request, participants underlined that a series of important questions were sidelined and need to be addressed,” the statement read, adding that a host of participants demanded that both parties (Morocco and its ECOWAS counterparts) agree on “some specific accompanying social measures.”
According to the Amadeus Institute and IPAR, the Dakar conference was an opportunity to realize that Morocco’s success in its ECOWAS bid will depend on the organization of a broad “social debate” in Morocco and the ECOWAS area.
“Conscious of the lack of communication regarding this crucial issue, the Amadeus Institute and IPAR are calling for the initiation of a regional dialogue between all the involved parties: states, civil society, private sector, and academia.”
For the organizers of the Dakar conference, initiating this much-needed broad social dialogue “will allow [Moroccan officials and their ECOWAS counterparts] to plainly explain the stakes and perspectives of Morocco’s bid to society at large, thereby answering growing interrogations about the issue,” and at the same time, convincing said populations to “adhere to Morocco’s vision.”
The conference was concluded by the creation of a Morocco-Senegal committee to reflect on what Morocco can bring to the ECOWAS table and build a feasible and effective platform for meeting the growing continental and regional challenges, the statement concluded.
This move comes just days after 44 African states signed a free trade agreement to boost and kickstart intra-African exchanges.
And Morocco, whose Africa-policy guidelines are in line with a more assertive and integrated Africa, is seeking to convince its fellow African partners of the sincerity of its plans for the continent’s and ECOWAS’ Pan-Africanist aspirations.