Already heavily investing in many countries across Africa, Morocco wants to reinforce its bold African diplomacy by increasing the number of scholarships and study grants for African students.
Rabat – While the banking and financial sectors are generally the most visible in Morocco’s increasingly vocal presence in African affairs, Rabat is turning to education to cement its Africa-focused diplomacy.
The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) in Morocco and the Moroccan Agency for International Cooperation (AMCI), the government body in charge of monitoring government scholarships and study grants, signed a memorandum of understanding yesterday in Rabat to set up a joint scholarship program destined for African students.
According to the two bodies, the cooperation dovetails with Morocco’s desire to share its science and technology expertise with the rest of the African continent.
Placing the initiative within the Moroccan diplomatic corps’s insistence on South-South and intra-African exchanges, they argued that the memorandum will give an opportunity to many African youth to hone their intellectual skills in Moroccan universities.
AMCI’s chief Mohammed Methqal said that IsDB’s willingness to cooperate with AMCI in investing in education is the culmination of the “royal vision which has placed Africa at the heart of Morocco’s diplomacy.”
According to the AMCI chief, Morocco is already an assertive promoter of expertise and knowledge sharing at the continental level, and the agreement with IsDB will boost Rabat’s reputation as the top African provider of study grants targeting African students. The goal, he said, is to be at the forefront in the scramble to “train Africa’s future leaders and decision makers.”
Since its establishment in 1986, AMCI has been a founding pillar in Morocco’s soft power in the rest of Africa, especially in Francophone countries. But it was after Morocco’s readmission to the African Union that AMCI cemented its impact on continental knowledge-sharing.
The body doubled the number of scholarships and study grants for African students.
Between 2017 and 2018, Morocco granted over 5,000 scholarships to African students, more than double the number it used to provide.
In the same period, junior civil servants from 30 African countries attended Moroccan universities and vocational schools to hone their skills and performance in their areas of expertise.
With the newly signed agreement with IsDB, an institution that says that “human resources development lies at the heart” of its agenda, the number of grants and scholarships will greatly increase from 5,000, according to Methqal.