Washington, DC, March 12, 2014 (MACP) — This past week, Morocco’s King Mohammed VI concluded a three-week trip in Africa which began in Mali and continued to Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, and Gabon. The King demonstrated Morocco’s leadership in South-South cooperation by presiding over the signing of more than 80 bilateral agreements on trade, agriculture, water, energy, industry, job training, and other sectors by members of the Moroccan delegation—including government and private sector representatives—and their Malian, Ivorian, Guinean, and Gabonese counterparts. The trip has been deemed a diplomatic success by African and other international observers and drew praise from the US.
“Morocco is showing the way within the framework of an approach that doesn’t recognize artificial differences between North and Sub-Saharan Africa,” said Ambassador Michael Battle, US Department of State, at a recent roundtable of African Ambassadors at the National Press Club. Battle, senior advisor to the upcoming August 3-5 US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, said, “Morocco is setting the pace by showing how African countries which are prosperous can be responsive to African countries which are in the process of becoming prosperous.”
In Mali, the King and President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita presided over the signing of 17 bilateral cooperation agreements. This was the second Mali visit in less than six months for the King, whose September trip to Bamako resulted in an agreement to send 500 Malian imams to Morocco for training in using Morocco’s moderate Islam to help fight the spread of extremism. The first 100 imams have already begun their training.
In Cote d’Ivoire, the King delivered a keynote speech at the first-ever Moroccan-Ivorian Economic Forum in Abidjan, where he stated that “a vibrant, developed Africa is not merely a dream for tomorrow; it can be a reality today, provided we take action,” and that “Africa should learn to trust Africa.” The Moroccan delegation and their Ivorian counterparts signed 26 bilateral cooperation agreements that included plans to build 8,000 new affordable housing units in Abidjan.
In Guinea, the King and President Alpha Condé chaired the signing of 21 bilateral cooperation agreements and inaugurated a new “Moulins de l’Afrique” flour mill, a joint 30-milllion-Euro Morocco-Guinea venture that will create hundreds of jobs. In a joint statement, Guinea and Morocco called for deploying a strengthened UN peacekeeping force in the Central African Republic, where Morocco has already provided military support to help stabilize the country. In addition, President Condé expressed Guinea’s continuing support for Morocco’s autonomy initiative to end the Western Sahara conflict. Morocco received backing on the Sahara issue on the other three legs of the tour as well.
At his final stop, King Mohammed VI and Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba presided over the signing of 24 bilateral agreements. They also launched a strategic partnership to build, with Morocco’s Office Cherifien de Phosphate (OCP), facilities in Gabon and Morocco to produce fertilizer that will significantly increase agricultural output and food security in neighboring countries.
“King Mohammed’s Africa tour delivered on Morocco’s commitment to help build a strong, united, and prosperous future for the continent,” said former US Ambassador to Morocco Edward M. Gabriel. “In deeds as well as words, Morocco and its partners have shown they are serious about ‘Africa working with Africa’ to overcome its challenges and chart a bright new course forward — together.”
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