Rabat, Morocco– King Mohammed VI, on an official visit to Madagascar, has granted an exclusive interview to Malagasy press.
Here is the full text of the interview, published Saturday by several local media:
Q: Your Majesty, Thank you for receiving us. You are in Madagascar as part of a tour in Africa. What do these visits to African countries inspire you?
A: Firstly, I would like to pay tribute to my African brothers and our continent. Each visit to Africa is an opportunity to reconnect with the African populations that I admire and respect, they teach me true wealth… the wealth of the heart.
Morocco and Africa are one. To separate them would be an uprooting, an error.
During my visits to Africa or through the projects that I initiate in the continent, it is not a question of giving lessons. Rather, I suggest that we share our experiences.
Of course, the challenges in Africa are great. But the women, men and children I meet during My visits give me the strength to continue. They make me proud to be African, to be, as deemed by the President of the Republic a “son of the country”.
Q: You have just returned from Antsirabe where you attended a number of ceremonies and You went to the places where the Royal Family used to live. How was the visit?
A: My Wednesday’s visit was very moving. My Grandfather and the Royal Family lived two years in Antsirabe. Contrary to exile experiences in general, my family has maintained a good memory of this forced stay and has maintained a strong relation with Madagascar, especially Antsirabe.
This is why I wanted to visit the city and launch projects for its population: I would like to set up a vocational training center in the field of tourism and construction and build a mother-child hospital, which will also provide training for medical staff.
In this regard, I would like to remove any ambiguity: the rumors that these projects would only benefit the Muslim community are totally false. These projects are, of course, intended for the entire population.
The King of Morocco is Amir Al Mouminine, Commander of the Faithful, the faithful of all religions.
The Malagasy people are an open people, a people with a pure heart. My country, Morocco does no proselytism and does not seek to impose Islam. Morocco adopts a moderate and tolerant Islam.
I met the Imam of the Mohammed V Mosque in Antsirabe, who he has already visited Morocco and received training in “The Mohammed VI Institute of Imams, Morchidine and Morchidate”. This is a center in which an increasing number of participants from different countries aspire to get training.
Q: How does your Majesty intend to promote partnership between Morocco and Madagascar?
A: Prior to this particularly symbolic trip to Antsirabe, I chaired, in Antananarivo, with HE the President, the signing ceremony of many cooperation agreements, which reflect the will of the Moroccan State to help the Malagasy government and improve the living conditions of its population. This is the sense of the projects of construction of social infrastructure and economic development.
Madagascar has undeniable assets to succeed. Morocco is ready to support its ministerial departments, public companies and private sector.
I would particularly encourage the Moroccan private sector to undertake projects in Madagascar, on the basis of cooperation on an equal footing with its Malagasy counterparts.
At the time of the Paris Conference, I will be visiting Abuja. I will nevertheless guarantee that Morocco will be present in Paris: a large delegation will support the priority infrastructure projects in Madagascar, and representatives of the government and the private sector will actively participate in its works.
As I do everywhere in Morocco and elsewhere, I will personally follow the implementation of all of these actions.
I will therefore return to Madagascar.
Q: What about the African continent, Your Majesty?
A: The model of cooperation that We want to implement here is similar to those we have developed in many other African countries.
Indeed, I would like to establish strong and solidarity-based South-South cooperation between many African countries.
As I said in My Speech in Abidjan, in February 2014, “Africa shall trust Africa”. Within the framework of cooperation without complexes, we can all together build the future.
Morocco has projects in various African countries. We give and share without arrogance or feeling of colonization. I urge Moroccan companies to use local consultants and workforce.
I pay several visits to the countries of the continent to materialize this model of inter-African cooperation. I feel good and comfortable in this continent and I appreciate the kindness and affection shown to me by the people.
I have an ever stronger pride in being an African. I also feel strongly attached to this continent.
Q: Is this part of Morocco’s return to the African Union?
A: I know that the Moroccan presence in Africa and particularly my current tour are displeasing to some.
Nevertheless, everyone acknowledges that We have not waited for the announcement of Morocco’s return to the AU to work and invest in Africa.
All countries, long-time friends or new friends, particularly in East Africa, are unanimous in supporting Morocco’s reintegration in the AU.
I have initiated these visits without preconditions. I am glad of the positive feedback expressed by my hosts. I extend My thanks and gratitude to them.