King Mohammed VI of Morocco will pay, as of Tuesday, a three-day state visit to Rwanda, first leg of a regional tour in Eastern Africa that will also lead him to Ethiopia and Tanzania, according to local media reports.
The Moroccan King’s visit to Rwanda, his first to the eastern African country, takes place at the invitation President Paul Kagame had extended him during a visit to Casablanca last June.
During this visit, King Mohammed VI had decorated President Kagame with the Grand Collar of Wissam Al-Mohammadi, Morocco’s highest national award of honor.
Besides the establishment of stronger political ties, the royal visit also seeks to launch a mutually beneficial economic partnership between the two countries’ institutions and private sectors.
According to press reports, the King’s party will include a number of the kingdom’s leading entrepreneurs and companies eager to explore investment opportunities in the small African country, regarded as a model in the continent, in view of its outstanding performances in terms of human and economic development.
The royal visit to Ethiopia is expected to usher in a new era in bilateral relations as Addis Ababa is eying more investments by Moroccan companies and financial institutions, following the steps of Morocco’s BMCE bank and the state-owned phosphates company, OCP, which have already established subsidiaries in the country.
On its part, Morocco is seeking to bolster its influence in the Horn of Africa, where Ethiopia is considered a heavy weight, in view of its demographic and economic performance (a growth rate of 10 %) as well as its diplomatic impact as the host of the African Union headquarters.
Morocco’s connections with Eastern Africa will also be further strengthened by the King’s visit to Tanzania, which boasts tremendous economic cooperation opportunities.
During the Royal tour, political talks would surely touch on Morocco’s return to the African fold, as the North African country has officially submitted its request to integrate the African Union in September on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.
The continental organization will decide over the request during the January Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.