HM The King of Morocco, Mohamed VI has lately concluded his historical long tour to major African countries starting from Mali through Ivory Coast, Guinea to Gaboon, culminated with a set of compelling economic and religious agreements, in addition to several political and security alliances. It’s Morocco’s strategic initiative and a new vision seeking to expand its cooperation and enhance its deep historical ties with Africa, looking forward to be a major economic, religious and diplomatic player in the continent. Being aware of available motivating factors and its historical presence in Africa , Morocco heads south with « pioneering » vision according international experts.
With the increasing of Middle East tensions, political instability in the rest of Maghreb region and the continuous economic challenges in Europe, Morocco seeks to devote its strategic choice willing to strengthen its position in Africa. Algeria, the nearby country still faces several security difficulties and has been recently preoccupied with serious political issues related to the presidential election. Besides, Tunisia still seems to be striving to realize political stability after the Arab spring launched in the country.
Under these regional circumstances, Morocco is looking forward to be taken as model in the region. The commitment of HM King Mohammed VI to the development efforts in Africa shows how “the Moroccan talent is committed through an exemplary approach” in the continent, stated by Michael A. Battle, Ambassador and Senior Advisor to the Organization of US- African Leaders coming Summit, According to Maghreb Agency Press (MAP).
Furthermore, according to the observers, Morocco’s new approach in Africa extends to the economical and the religious field with a purpose to promote south-south cooperation. The recent royal African tour is said to be new and special of its kind for it’s not only diplomatic but beyond. The large number of the business agreements reflects the royal focus on economy dimension through the trip in the four African countries. More than 80 bilateral agreements on trade, agriculture, water, energy, industry, job training, and other sectors were signed. In clear terms, HM the king stressed the importance of economic relations between Morocco and the African countries. “In the past, diplomacy served to consolidate political ties. Today, it is the economic dimension, which predominates. It is a crucial component of diplomatic relations” said the king in Moroccan-Ivorian Economic Forum held in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire –February 25, 2014.
Omar Elkettani, a Moroccan economist, pointed out to Attajdid newspaper that the Moroccan’s relations with the African countries were principally diplomatic and political, and Moroccan interest in business relations have emerged within a strategy of the country. He stated that the African market is huge, and it is Morocco’s crucial future in the next ten years. Moreover, the European market has reached its top and can’t give us more, Elkettani added.
Morocco enjoys several motivating factors, which pave a way to strengthen its multi-field ties with Africa. The country has already had an important economic presence in sub-Saharan Africa, a key factor which pushes it to play an influencing role in the area. Plentiful number of Moroccan industries in various fields including, finance, fertilizers, agriculture, pharmaceutical companies, telecoms, have been well established in Sub-Sahara Africa. According to Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Today, three Moroccan banks rank among the top ten banks in Africa, with over $90 billion in assets.15 Moroccan banks have a presence in 22 African countries, while agricultural products currently represent the largest share (37 percent) of Moroccan exports to sub-Saharan Africa.
Morocco’s geographic position is considered as a promising bridge between Africa and Europe. The Tangier Med port is one of the busiest ports in Africa and the World. It offers, according CSIS , the benefit of close proximity to key African markets.
On the other hand, the growing popularity of the HM Moroccan sovereign among high rate of Africans, and his strong spiritual relationships with the concerned countries is considered one of main factors which promotes Morocco’s new strategy in Africa. Accordingly, the kingdom has deep historical religious ties with the several African nations which have been recently promoted through religious cooperation agreements during the king’s tour.
Commenting on the sovereign tour in Africa, Forbes Magazine reported HM King Mohammed VI is "carrying a pioneering vision for an African continent that is confident in its assets, freer, more prosperous, and liberated from the burdens of the past."
Overall , I think The main and beautiful message addressed to Africa during HM the king’s tour is, as he stressed through his speech in Abidjan Forum : «Africa should learn to trust Africa »