King Delivers Speech at 28th African Union Summit, Day after Historic Decision
Washington, DC, January 31, 2017, Moroccan American Center for Policy (MACP) — In a visionary speech delivered to the 28th African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Tuesday, Morocco’s King Mohammed VI reaffirmed his country’s “commitment to the development and prosperity of African citizens” and pledged to “help bring about unity and progress” to the continent. The speech came a day after an overwhelming majority of AU member countries—39 of 54—agreed on Morocco’s admission to the organization.
“It is so good to be back home, after having been away for too long,” began the King, referring to Morocco’s more than 30-year hiatus from the organization. “I am home at last and happily reunited with you.” Noting the “massive, outspoken support Morocco has received,” the King referred to the organization as “a family we had not really left.”
“In fact, despite having been absent from the AU institutions for so many years, our links, which have never been severed, have remained strong and African sister nations have always been able to rely on us,” he said, citing his 46 visits to 25 African countries, and that “since 2000, Morocco has signed nearly a thousand agreements with African countries, in various fields of cooperation”—almost twice as many as during the period between 1956 and 1999.
The King spoke of the thousands of scholarships Morocco offers to African students to continue their higher education in Morocco; the recently announced Nigeria-Morocco Africa Atlantic Gas Pipeline, which will “create wealth for neighboring countries and populations” and “help build more peaceful bilateral and multilateral relations”; Morocco’s ongoing work to boost Africa’s agricultural output and food security—by building fertilizer plants in neighboring countries and the launch at COP22 of the Adaption of African Agriculture initiative to support small-scale African farming; Morocco’s many contributions to United Nations peacekeeping operations on the continent and other efforts to promote stability; and the country’s highly praised immigration policy which, in the “spirit of solidarity and humanism,” has offered legal residence to more than 25,000 sub-Saharans living in Morocco “who have suffered too long due to their life in hiding.”
“All this confirms that Morocco is right to choose Africa,” he said. “By doing so, my country has opted to share and transfer its know-how; in concrete terms, it is offering to build a safe, solidarity-based future.” He emphasized that Morocco is seeking not to cause division but to bring unity, and to bolster the continent’s leadership role on the global stage, saying “It is time for Africa to benefit from Africa’s wealth”—a clear echo of similar statements he has made in recent years.
Contact: Jordana Merran, 202.470.2049
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