Jean R. AbiNader
May 4, 2018
Last weekend, King Mohammed VI of Morocco followed up on an initiative launched by Morocco on the sidelines of the COP 22 Paris conference on the environment. He visited Brazzaville in the Republic of Congo as a “special guest” to take part in the first Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Climate Commission and the Blue Fund for the Congo Basin. Ten countries have signed the Memorandum of Understanding on the Congo Basin Blue Fund: Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Morocco, Republic of Congo, and Rwanda.
The King’s participation at the summit was another affirmation of the important and pioneering role Morocco plays in promoting solutions to climate and environment issues in Africa. As the article in North Africa Post phrased it, his vision rests on “combining humanism, sustainable development, and good governance.”
The purpose of The Blue Fund, which aims to raise some $3.5 billion, is developing the economic future of the Congo River, stretching some 2,920 miles in Central Africa, and its basin through a number of programs including the promotion of sustainable agricultural development that does not damage existing forests, strengthening irrigation of agricultural land in the savannah, and support ecotourism. The river basin covers some 1.5 million square miles, some 13% of the entire African landmass.
In an earlier planning meeting in Rabat, experts met and agreed on the “terms of reference” for a detailed six-month preparatory study that will “make recommendations on which the crucial decisions on the financing, the operational management, and the strategic governance of the Congo Basin Blue Fund will be taken and draw up a first investment plan,” according to the article.
Following the Summit, King Mohammed VI met with the Denis Sassou N’Guesso, the President of the Republic to review and witness the signing of 14 bilateral agreements to strengthen the existing cooperation in agriculture, health, logistics, and investment opportunities.
Morocco and Congo initialed the documents of fourteen new bilateral agreements on the occasion of the working visit just made by King Mohammed VI to Brazzaville. The two countries have thus agreed to strengthen their already close cooperation in fields as diverse as agriculture, investments, logistics, and health.
On the economic front, investment treaties eliminating double taxation and guarding against tax evasion were signed. The two countries also agreed to build up their cooperation in the maritime fishing sector, aquaculture, agriculture, and livestock management. In the field of education and literacy, a protocol to negotiate a cooperative program between the two countries was signed that will provide technical and vocational training for Congolese citizens in various fields in Moroccan institutions. The agreement between the training authorities in both countries will start with 20 Congolese trainees per year and 10 trainers in various sectors. In addition, the Moroccan center will help establish vocational training centers in the Congo to be determined by market demand for specific skills.
The ongoing commitment of Morocco to the continent, as reflected in the 1500+ agreements signed under King Mohammed VI, is noteworthy as they are results-oriented with specific objectives and milestones that seek to enable Africans to mold and empower their own lives – a key goal of the King.