The just concluded tour of Morocco’s King Mohammed VI to Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Cote d’Ivoire, and Gabon, the several cooperation agreements signed and the several projects launched during the trips gave an additional evidence to Morocco’s firm resolve to sustain its Africa-oriented policy and its unfailing commitment to help African countries promote their development and African people improve their well-being.
This latest tour that was conducted under the sign of human and economic development was actually marked by the signing of partnership agreements and the launch of socio-economic projects in sectors deemed of vital importance to upgrade the living standards of African people. These projects cover the sectors of agriculture, fisheries, vocational training, health, water, solar energy, electricity… and are meant to contribute to Africa’s development, taking into account the needs of African communities, mainly the impoverished layers of society.
Actually, since his coming to power in 1999, King Mohammed VI has underscored Morocco’s African vocation and its commitment to a sustained south-south cooperation and has visited many African countries, some more than two or three times.
These visits have all given a new impetus to Moroccan-African cooperation, both at the institutional level and at the private level and in some cases, between 2000 and 2010, trade exchanges increased by over 400% (Moroccan-Senegalese trade).
Several Moroccan groups operating in the sectors of telecommunication and ICT, banking, insurance, construction, food processing etc. have opened branches in several African countries or set up joint ventures with African economic operators.
All these efforts in Africa led analysts to describe Morocco as an engine for prosperity in the continent while many Western countries, including the U.S. and European States, see in the North African country an entry port to this part of the world.
The Kingdom is also seen as a security shield in the Maghreb and Africa and its counterterrorism program, which includes a poverty-fighting component, is hailed as a model to be followed.
Richard Miniter, a Forbes foreign policy and national security issues reporter, wrote in a recent column that the U.S. should rely on King Mohammed VI in its fight against the Islamic State group.
“President Obama should ask Morocco’s king to be a kind of forward air controller, to use his on-the-ground perspective to increase the effectiveness of the overhead American effort,” stated Miniter, who deemed that “free trade is an important part of the war against ISIS.”
“What’s needed in Muslim Africa…is someone who is trusted simultaneously by military and civilian leaders, by religious and tribal leaders, as well as the financial elites in precisely those African nations where ISIS is seeking to expand. Ideally, it would be someone who is also trusted by the United States and has a proven track record of combating extremism and expanding economic opportunity in the region,” he wrote.
Touching on the role of economic development in providing fragile societies with the capacity to resist ISIS, the journalist pointed out that “here too, King Mohammed VI has played an important role, providing a model program that should be widely copied.” He was referring to the National Human Development Initiative (INDH).
The Moroccan sovereign’s African multi-dimensional strategy seeks to consolidate pan-African solidarity, to promote win-win partnerships and to stimulate South-South cooperation. And according to many analysts, the bet is won.