* King calls for greater South-South cooperation, inter-African partnerships to spur progress, growth *
Washington, DC (February 25, 2014) — In a speech opening the first-ever Moroccan-Ivorian Economic Forum held in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire yesterday, Morocco’s King Mohammed VI lauded Cote d’Ivoire’s economic progress and the two countries’ growing economic partnership. He emphasized the need for more cooperation across the continent, as well as private-sector investment, to spur development. The Forum served as the cornerstone of the King’s visit to Cote d’Ivoire — the second leg of a four-nation Africa trip that has already taken him to Mali and will continue on to Guinea and Gabon.
“Whereas the last century was that of the independence of African States, the 21st century should be that of African peoples’ triumph over the ravages of underdevelopment, poverty and exclusion,” said the King to an audience of Moroccan and Ivorian dignitaries, including Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan.
The King said that “Africa should learn to trust Africa,” and that “the continent’s wealth should benefit African peoples.” The Moroccan sovereign highlighted that “for sustainable development to take place in Africa, the creativity and dynamism of the private sector should focus on specific promising areas such as agriculture, industry, science and technology, and infrastructure development…”
“A vibrant, developed Africa is not merely a dream for tomorrow; it can be a reality today, provided we take action,” said the King. But to do so requires rising to “the challenges which threaten its political stability and hinder its socioeconomic development,” overcoming “Afro-pessimism,” and unlocking “its intellectual and material potential as well as that of all African peoples.”
The King’s remarks come after a five-day visit to Mali, where he presided with Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita over the signing of 17 bilateral cooperation agreements focusing on a broad range of economic and development matters.
Over the next week, King Mohammed VI will also visit Guinea and Gabon.
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