Historic Decision Affirms Morocco’s Regional Leadership, Commitment to African Development
Washington, DC, January 30, 2017, Moroccan American Center for Policy (MACP) — An overwhelming majority of African Union (AU) member states voted on Monday to admit Morocco to the pan-African organization after a 33-year hiatus. The historic decision, in which 39 of 54 member states voted in favor, is a crowning achievement for Moroccan King Mohammed VI’s diplomatic goals and vision for the continent.
In a message to attendees of the 27th African Union Summit in July last year, King Mohammed VI had said that “By returning to the African family, Morocco aims to keep up its commitment to Africa and strengthen its involvement in all matters it feels strongly about. Morocco pledges to make constructive contributions to the AU agenda and activities.”
“My country has been and always will be guided by an unshakable faith in Africa, in a continent which derives its strength from its economic riches and potential, which is proud of its cultural and spiritual heritage, and which confidently looks to the future,” read the message.
Since ascending the throne in 1999, the King has made Africa a foreign policy priority, making 38 visits to African countries and signing more than 350 bilateral agreements on economic, political, security, religious, and educational issues. Morocco is the second largest African investor in the continent, and between 2003 and 2013, 51% of its foreign direct investment went to Sub-Saharan Africa, peaking at 88% in 2010; meanwhile, Moroccan trade with the rest of Africa increased by 12% annually in that same period. In late 2013 the King established a program to train imams from across the continent in Morocco’s open, moderate form of Islam; and in June 2016, inaugurated the Mohammed VI Foundation for African Oulema with a mission of strengthening age-old historical and religious ties between Morocco and its African neighbors. With Morocco serving as the host country, the King also ensured that Africa’s interests on climate change policy were represented at the 22nd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change summit in Marrakesh in November 2016, hosting a special meeting for African leaders at the event.
“This is welcome news and the natural outcome of King Mohammed VI’s tireless commitment to enhancing Morocco’s strong ties in Africa,” said former US Ambassador to Morocco Edward M. Gabriel. “Since the King ascended the throne in 1999, Morocco has become a leader on existential issues for the continent, including countering violent extremism; climate change; trade and investment; social and economic development; and stability and security. Rejoining the AU will bolster those efforts and further cement Morocco’s bond with its African neighbors. I applaud the African Union for its historic decision.”
Contact: Jordana Merran, 202.470.2049
The Moroccan American Center for Policy (MACP) is a non-profit organization whose principal mission is to inform opinion makers, government officials, and interested publics in the United States about political and social developments in Morocco and the role being played by the Kingdom of Morocco in broader strategic developments in North Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East.
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