This year marks 60 years of Jakarta-Rabat diplomacy, and the two countries have expressed a mutual interest in strengthening cultural, academic, and economic ties.
Rabat – The Director of the Middle East Department at the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Achmad Rizal Purnama, emphasized the importance of defining common priorities for cooperation between Morocco and Indonesia post-COVID-19.
During a virtual conference on Monday, June 15, the official said the two countries have to define the priorities for cooperation to support the signing of bilateral agreements, particularly in the areas of trade and investment. The Indonesian official said Morocco and Indonesia share the same vision for boosting South-South cooperation.
The panel also included Morocco’s Ambassador to Indonesia Wadie Benabdellah, who said the two countries were able to successfully maintain ties over decades.
“Moroccan-Indonesian relations should take advantage of the Industrial Revolution 4.0, new technologies, and scientific research for a solid partnership oriented towards the future,” the ambassador said.
The diplomat added that many cooperation projects are under consideration. Rabat and Jakarta are studying a “list of complementary and non-competitive products to expand bilateral trade exchange while protecting the national product,” he emphasized.
Indonesia’s Ambassador to Morocco Hasrul Azwar also participated in the conference, reviewing the common vision of the two countries to boost economic relations to “the level of their political and diplomatic relations.”
Antara News reported in 2019 that trade between two countries reached $154.8 million in 2017, with Indonesia’s exports to Morocco estimated at $86 million and imports from Morocco to Indonesia reaching $68.9 million.
Jakarta’s top exports to Morocco include coffee, palm oil, and oxygen amino compounds. Morocco’s natural calcium phosphate is a major export to Indonesia, along with women’s jackets and shirts.
In October 2019, Morocco and Indonesia renewed vows to continue strengthening bilateral cooperation. Morocco’s Foreign Affairs Minister Nasser Bourita traveled to the country on a working visit on October 28, meeting with several senior officials.
The officials expressed satisfaction with the tangible diplomatic relations between Rabat and Jakarta but pledged to further solidify cooperation in several fields, including education and culture, and to promote a tolerant and moderate interpretation of Islam.
During the virtual conference on Monday, the two countries renewed the same vows in the presence of academics including the President of the University of Sidi Mohammed bin Abdullah in Fez, Redouan Al Murabit.
The Jakarta-Rabat momentum seen in 2019 continued into 2020, with the two countries vowing in May to coordinate their efforts in the fight against COVID-19 in Africa. The Indonesian government also expressed earlier this month its interest in benefitting from Morocco’s expertise in counterterrorism.
Morocco and Indonesia mark their 60th anniversary of bilateral relations this year and have each reiterated their hopes to strengthen an already “excellent” partnership. The two countries formalized ties in 1960 when Indonesia’s first president and a pioneering figure in the Afro-Asian Non-Aligned and anti-colonial movements, President Sukarno, visited Morocco. A street in Rabat, “Rue Soekarno,” bears his name to this day.