Morocco’s political and economic footprint expansion in Africa deserves attention. It constitutes an opportunity for all countries with strong interest in Africa to solidify relationships with the Kingdom, and to accelerate access to a continent of more than 1.2 billion potential customers with substantially increasing income.
Since 2013, King Mohammed VI flagged Africa as top priority in Morocco’s international relations. His recent visits – along with key public and private sectors’ leaders – to 10 sub-Saharan African countries, announced a new era in the bilateral and multilateral collaboration between Morocco and those partners.
The Monarch has spent two thirds of the last quarter of 2016 visiting “friendly” Francophone African partners, and most importantly, Anglophone countries with whom animosity has been prevailing because of their opposition to the Moroccan authority on Western Sahara.
The announcement of a new pipeline (approx. 2.500 miles) to bring gas from Nigeria to Europe via Morocco, in addition to sealed deals to build a $3.7bn USD fertilizer plant in Ethiopia and $500 mln USD factory in Nigeria, represent the strongest economic achievements of Mohammed VI 2016 African tour. Such projects will increase – in the long term – Morocco’s influence on energy and food self-sufficiency in African countries with the highest populations.
The Kingdom has consequently managed to bypass political conflicts to build up trustworthy connections with key African countries, unlocking their economic potentials and enabling Morocco to become gradually a real “Hub of Africa”.
This new dynamic has been accompanied by structural reforms of the Moroccan economy. The launch of Islamic banks, announced in early 2017, in addition to the continuous attractiveness of “Casablanca Finance City” and other services and industry offshore zones, will be bringing fresh money and investments to the Moroccan and African economies. Few American, but mainly European and Middle Eastern Companies have already settled their African headquarters nearby.
The new strategy towards Africa makes of the Moroccan Kingdom a strategic partner to nations that support stability and welfare in areas where conflicts prevail. Emerging countries – like Morocco – could constitute a pillar to build up solid and win-win based sustainable framework.