King Mohammed VI used the Crans Montana Forum, meeting in Dakhla Saturday, as a platform to call for the “century of Africa.”
The remarks came in a letter the King wrote to the Crans Montana Forum in Dakhla, which was read by the president of the Dakhla region, Khattat Ynja.
Africa was at the forefront of the King’s letter. King Mohammed VI noted how Africa enjoys demographic vitality with the world’s youngest population, “which compels us to launch more development projects capable of transforming the reality of the continent.”
He emphasized that the projects place high priority on education, health, agriculture, infrastructure, and the fight against poverty.
Addressing these challenges for Africa, he stated, will influence geostrategy internationally.
“It’s high time that this century must be the century of Africa,” reads the letter.
With a hint of gentle criticism towards the West, the King emphasized, “Africa has chosen openness, refusing the logic of looting the continent of its richness, while preserving the value of sharing and solidarity characteristic of our age old culture.”
King Mohammed VI also highlighted the importance of Dakhla as a “crossroads for dialogue.” He remarked that in just a few years, the city has managed to stand unparalleled, taking pride in its conviviality and hospitality, which symbolize an Africa capable of living up to international standards.
Dakhla, which is nicknamed the “pearl of the South,” a reference to Morocco’s increased investments in upgrading the business attraction of its southern provinces, also hosted last year’s Crans Montana Forum.
Beyond its interest in attracting investment and business ventures to the country’s southern provinces to transform them into “continental hubs,” there are suggestions that the Moroccan government is seeking to capitalize on the forum to exhibit the enormous development efforts Morocco is making in Western Sahara.
While attending last year’s forum, many participants applauded the socio-economic transformations witnessed in Dakhla in recent years as a result of sustained investment efforts from the Moroccan government.
The King expressed his pleasure at the historic assembly, which he said “stands out as an important gathering in the quest for reflection and practical and innovative responses to sustainable socio-economic development.”
Crans Montana, he added, draws a large number of high-level participants from all walks of life and from all over the world.
This year’s Crans Montana Forum is the fifth time that Morocco hosts what is widely regarded as one the continent’s biggest reunions of world leaders, investors, and change makers in Africa and beyond.
Reverend Jesse Jackson, a civil rights icon in the US, who participated in last year’s event, said that forums like Crans Montana are needed to cement South-South momentum on the world stage. Jackson went on to stress Morocco’s growing role in African affairs. He called the kingdom “a light-bearer of African solidarity.”