Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Could King Mohammed’s frequent trips to Africa Brought New Perspectives ?

July 3, 2013
By  via Eurasia
King Mohammed’s frequent trips to Africa offered an opportunity to reenergize Morocco’s engagement on a continent where economic opportunities are rising, tough security challenges endure. Recently, The King traveled to Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire and Gabon. His objective was to signal to African governments and citizens that the Morocco remains an important and interested Africanl partner, prepared to engage in ways that are relevant to the continent’s changing economic and demographic landscape. The royal trip has opened upside opportunities in Africa that ultimately will serve both Moroccan and African interests.
King Mohammed’s trip was greeted with elation in Africa, and many Moroccan and African observers assumed, that his frequent trips in Africa translate into a robust and activist Morocco Africa policy.
Those expectations were largely accurate when King ordered the launching of humanitarian and medical assistance to many Sub Saharan countries and urged both the Moroccan government and the private sector to engage more in Africa in stepping up their commercial and diplomatic ties.

Governance, Africa’s youth, and women’s empowerment, standard fare in Morocco’s Africa repertoire. Africa’s need for strong institutions rather than strong men in a honest effort to reach out to up-and-coming African leaders and entrepreneurs through a series of high-level forums; and promoting health and empowerment for women and girls.
But the major objective in those royal visits was the emphasis on bolstering Morocco.-Africa political, economic commercial and spiritual engagement. it speaks to Africa’s changing economic landscape, where opportunities—and competition—for investment are expanding, and where traditional donor-recipient relations are giving way to more mature partnerships.
The continent has made impressive economic progress in the last decade, with the International Monetary Fund forecasting average real GDP growth in sub-Saharan Africa at 5.4 percent this year and 5.7 percent in 2014. High commodity prices—and high demand from China and others for mineral and energy resources—have contributed to this growth, and new oil and natural gas finds are setting the continent up for a hydrocarbon boom that will draw big new investments going forward. But sectors outside the extractive industries—telecommunications, transportation, construction, wholesale and retail, financial services—have played a major role as well, as has a growing consumer class. Other countries have seized the opportunity.
The Moroccan private sector has done much to encourage Moroccan investors to seek investment opportuntiites in Africa. In a win-win partnership Morocco conveys to African governments and citizens the comparative advantage of Moroccan private-sector investment versus other international investors—in terms of quality, transparency, technology and knowledge transfer, training, and systems development. And third, Morocco will seek to harness the capacities of its government agencies and private-sector partners to help improve the investment climate in African states. This will include technical assistance to strengthen government and institutional capacity and an expected announcement to partner in various fileds especially in infrastructure which has been a long-standing impediment to Africa’s economic and industrial growth.
As with past King’s trips to Africa, the tone of the visit always upbeats, focusing on opportunities and successes. Equally important objective of those trips aimed to build and sustain Morocco’s positive influence and partnership with African governments and publics. Violent extremist organizations have increased both in their geographic reach and their capacity to mount attacks. The epicenter has been Mali where extremist militia, some with links to al Qaeda seized two-thirds of the country until they were pushed back by French troops. Morocco has repeatedly voiced its concern that the threat could mushroom if groups such as al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb turn the whole region of Sub Saharan Africa into a sfe haven.
Morocco’s King Mohammed and the presidents of Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire have reaffirmed the strength of the Moroccan and African security, economic and religious relationship. King Mohammed visited in Senegal on March 15, beginning a one week African trip and discussions about prospects to give Morocco and these African countries a powerful and new impetus to cooperation in various fields. King Mohammed received a full ceremonial welcome in Dakar and Abidjan.
Across this region, the winds of change bring both promise and peril. So King Mohammed’s visit is seen as an opportunity, to reaffirm the unbreakable bond between Morocco and other African nations, to re-state Morocco’s unwavering commitment to Africa’s security and boost its economy.
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The presidents of two countries that King Mohammed visited unanimously confirmed the need for a strategic alliance that has become greater than ever amid unpredictable changes in Africa. Morocco, through this royal visit, continues to seek peace, security and prosperity in the African continent.
In an unstable and uncertain sub-Saharan Africa the need for a strong alliance is greater than ever. It is the key to thwarting dangers to advancing peace. It’s the key to achieve a stable and secure and prosperous Africa that the Africans yearn for all and with all their hearts.
This unique Moroccan strategy was on display during the king’s tow-country jaunt. Projects are underway, spearheaded by Morocco, to electrify 550 villages along the Senegal River and bring affordable medicine to fight cholera, malaria, and diarrhea diseases to Africa’s poorest countries. At the same time, the king held brass tacks talks on boosting security cooperation—and in Senegal, the monarch convened a gathering of moderate Islamic leaders to talk about strengthening their role in providing an alternative to extremist ideologies. This royal visit confirms morocco’s keen interest to promote peace and prosperity in the African continent.
In fact, since his rise to the throne in 1999, King Mohammed has put the African continent among his top foreign policy agenda. He has visited many African countries launching socio-economic projects that seek to promote social development of Africans and at the same time offering opportunities for Africans to learn from Moroccan know-how to promote their economies.
Morocco, as has been stated by many international economic institutions, could become an economic and trade platform for African countries to reach out to Europe and the United States. Europe and America’s strong economic, political, and security ties to Morocco and strong economic, political, and security interests in greater Africa need to come together. It can be an economic boom at a time when a windfall is badly needed, and a boost to global security at a time when concerns about terror on the African continent are growing.
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