Morocco’s Eminent Return to the African Union Should be A Priority

Morocco was one of the first African states that have contributed to the establishment of the Organization of African Unity. However, Morocco pulled out of the then organization in 1984 to protest against the admission of the self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic within the continental body. Since then, there have been increasing calls for Morocco to return to its natural place in the Union.

Recently, a group of African intellectuals issued a communiqué urging Morocco to reconsider its decision. The communiqué stated that “We are calling on Senegal’s head of state to work with his counterparts towards bringing back Morocco to the African Union. We think abnormal the absence of Morocco in the pan-African institution,” said Senegalese film-maker, Cheikh Ngaido Ba who is a member of that group.

“We have already gathered 61 signatures as a sign of support for our call and made several trips in that regard, Mr. Ba added, describing as “unfair” Morocco’s absence in the AU. “The signatories of the appeal including intellectuals and African men and women of culture are relying on African political leaders to find a way to bring back Morocco, a country whose contribution to the emergence of the much-longed for United States of Africa is so valuable to the African Union,” a communiqué issued by the group has indicated.

In fact, Morocco’s membership in the African Union will also benefit regional and continental security. Currently, the region is facing  the threat of terrorism. With Morocco’s accession to the African Union, Maghreb and African countries would have at their disposal a trained army capable of fighting terrorism and the criminal trafficking of arms and drugs. Such a force could prevent terrorists from finding a safe haven in Africa.

With the return of Morocco to the he AU, the African organization would gain more weight. Attitudes towards AU will change and it will become more rigorous. The Organization would gain a lot from Morocco’s strategic partnership either with EU or with the United States. Now Morocco has launched key political, economic and social reforms that can benefit the whole African continent. The expertise and the know-how could be at the disposal of African governments, private enterprises and leading NGOs.

Morocco is determined to promote openness and democracy and to bring about peace and security to the whole continent. Therefore, the natural place for Morocco now, and within this current context of terrorist threat and economic challenges facing the continent, is in the African Union.  Now the ball is in the AU field.