The minister delegate stressed that the African Continental Free Trade Area is helping promote inclusive development in Africa at a time when solidarity is more essential than ever.
Rabat – The COVID-19 pandemic has forced African states to prioritize continental solidarity, the minister delegate to Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohcine Jazouli said to the Executive Council of the African Union.
Speaking via videoconference on Tuesday during a debate about COVID-19 in Africa, Jazouli shed light on King Mohammed VI’s efforts across the continent during the pandemic.
He recalled King Mohammed VI’s directive in June to send medical aid to more than 20 African countries.
The solidarity initiative aimed to provide medical equipment to Morocco’s “brotherly African countries” and support them in their efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
The donation consisted of nearly eight million masks, 900,000 visors, 600,000 hygiene caps, 60,000 gowns, and 30,000 liters of hydroalcoholic gel, in addition to 75,000 boxes of chloroquine and 15,000 boxes of Azithromycin.
The King’s initiative enjoyed international recognition, including that of the World Health Organization (WHO), which labeled the act as a “genuine and tangible manifestation of regional solidarity.”
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) also expressed satisfaction with Morocco’s donation.
Jazouli said the pandemic, by giving rise to a common threat, has brought continental actors closer together. African leaders should not lose this momentum, he stressed, calling for more concentration on the “common values of solidarity” in order to achieve the aspirations of “the Africa we want.”
The AfCFTA’s role in African solidarity
Jazouli stressed that the African Union has the important ability to act as a catalyst to strengthen intra-African solidarity.
He said, in particular, that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has a “unifying” role in generating common growth and inclusive development.
Morocco welcomed the implementation of AfCFTA in 2018, and continues to encourage the boosting of internal African trade.
Last year, Morocco’s former Minister of Communication, Mustapha El Khalfi said that the entry into force of the AfCFTA agreement will contribute to the idea that “Africa’s future is the work of the continent itself and its citizens.”
On March 2, the President of Morocco’s House of Representatives, Habib El Malki, stressed that Africa must accelerate the pace of its economic integration around structured regroupings.
“We must work in a progressive way on making the African continental free trade area a tangible reality serving the people of the continent,” said El Malki during a meeting of the trade and transport committees at the Pan-African Parliament.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the revival of continental solidarity, African states have a new opportunity and motivation to continue on a path of unified development.