King Mohammed VI, President Keita Meet in Bamako to Strengthen Morocco-Mali Ties, Promote Peace, Progress in NW Africa
* 17 Agreements to Boost Malian Economy, Human Development Signed During King’s Visit *
Washington, DC (February 21, 2014) — Yesterday in Bamako, Mali, on the first leg of a four-nation trip to deepen Morocco’s relations and promote peace, progress, and stability in Africa, Morocco’s King Mohammed VI presided with Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita over the signing of 17 bilateral cooperation agreements.
The agreements, signed by Moroccan Ministers and private sector leaders with their Malian counterparts, are designed to provide assistance to Mali in promoting financial and human development and sustaining an improved quality of life in the country. They focus on a broad range of matters, including among others: investment; tax regulation; agriculture and rural development; industrial cooperation and trade; mining, oil, and gas; and health initiatives.
“Morocco has long been a leader in promoting stability and economic success in Africa by providing its technological know-how, training, and financial services,” said Ambassador Edward M. Gabriel, who served as US Ambassador to Morocco from 1997-2001. “These agreements signed in Bamako clearly demonstrate the King’s and Morocco’s continuing commitment to further deepening its relations, as well as advancing progress and stability, in Mali and the region.”
This visit to Mali marks the second in less than six months for King Mohammed VI. In September, the King traveled to Mali for the signing of an agreement to send 500 Malian imams to Morocco over the next two years for training in using Morocco’s moderate and tolerant form of Islam to help fight the spread of extremism. The first 100 imams from Mali have already begun training in Morocco.
Last week, the Moroccan Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs announced that King Mohammed VI has agreed to similar requests from Tunisia, Guinea, and Libya for cooperation on religious matters, including providing training in Morocco for imams from the three African nations. In March 2013, the King also paid official visits to Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, and Gabon, underscoring Morocco’s commitment to African solidarity in addressing economic and security challenges, in particular the fight against extremism.
In a column published in The Hill, J. Peter Pham, Director, Atlantic Council’s Africa Center, wrote that Morocco’s efforts in Mali and elsewhere in Africa are making “a vital contribution to regional stability as well as prosperity.”
“Morocco’s burgeoning engagement with Africa under Mohammed VI,” Pham added, “delivers an unambiguous message: Morocco is an African country of serious political and economic clout, integral to the continent’s development and prepared to play a leading role in its future.” He said that “For policymakers in Washington, Paris, and other Western capitals long in search of a reliable partner in Africa that can direct its own resources toward enhancing regional security and prosperity, it is a signal they have been looking for.”
Over the next two weeks, King Mohammed VI will also visit Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, and Gabon.
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