Washington, DC, March 14, 2017, Moroccan American Center for Policy (MACP) —Morocco’s King Mohammed VI has concluded a five-country tour of Africa that took him to South Sudan, Ghana, Zambia, Guinea, and Côte d’Ivoire. The tour immediately followed the African Union’s (AU) decision to readmit Morocco to the continental bloc after a 33-year hiatus. Since ascending the throne in 1999, the King has made Africa a foreign policy priority, making over 50 visits to nearly 30 African countries and signing approximately one thousand bilateral agreements on economic, political, security, religious, and educational issues.
- From February 1-2, the King visited South Sudan, overseeing the signing of nine bilateral agreements with President Salva Kiir Mayardit in the areas of urban development, investment promotion, agriculture, industrial cooperation, mines, and vocational training. The King also committed funds to a feasibility study for the building of a new capital city in Ramciel; as well as to a field hospital in Juba operated by Morocco’s Royal Armed Forces.
- From February 16-19, the King visited Ghana, where he and President of Ghana Nana Akufo-Addo oversaw the signing of 25 governmental and public-private partnership agreements. The agreements center on investment, industrial cooperation, electricity, insurance, banking, agriculture, renewable energy, mining, tourism, and partnerships to promote business and engage the private sector in favor of climate action.
- From February 19-23, the King visited Zambia – his first visit to the country. The King and Zambian President Edgar Chagwa Lungu chaired a signing ceremony for 19 political and economic partnership agreements covering air services, investment promotion and protection, finance and banking, insurance, education, tourism, agriculture, technology, industry, and mining and renewable energy.
- From February 23-24, he visited Guinea-Conakry, where he oversaw the signing of eight bilateral agreements in agriculture, sanitation, fertilizers, and technical assistance; visited a vocational training complex funded by the Mohammed VI Foundation for Sustainable Development; and undertook a number of measures to strengthen religious ties between the two countries. In addition to donating 10,000 copies of the Quran to the Secretary General of Religious Affairs in Guinea, the King performed Friday prayers at the Ahl Sunna Wal Jamaa mosque, launched construction on the “Mohammed VI Mosque,” and met with imams who were part of the first class of Guinean imams to receive training at the Mohammed VI Institute in Rabat.
- From February 24-March 14, King Mohammed VI visited Côte d’Ivoire, presiding with President Alassane Ouattara over the signing of 14 economic agreements covering pharmaceuticals, public transportation and road security, women-managed small businesses, and the creation of a “Technocenter” in Abidjan. During the visit, the King and President Ouattara also chaired a ceremony presenting the progress of the Cocody Bay rehabilitation project, which the King launched in a June 2015 visit to the country. It was during that visit that the two countries established the Côte d’Ivoire-Morocco Economic Impetus Group to reinforce private sector cooperation; since then, Côte d’Ivoire has become a premier destination for Moroccan foreign investment and trade has increased threefold.
Morocco is the second largest African investor in the continent, and its trade with the rest of Africa increased by 12% annually between 2003 and 2013. 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, he 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.
“With this most recent trip, King Mohammed VI has once again put words into action and taken concrete steps to solidify his commitment to the development and prosperity of African citizens and his pledge to help bring about unity and progress on the continent,” said former US Ambassador to Morocco Edward M. Gabriel.
Contact: Jordana Merran, 202.470.2049
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