Moroccans and friends of Morocco welcomed the country’s “triumphant return” to the African Union as King Mohammed VI spoke on Tuesday at the bloc’s Summit in Ethiopia for the first time in decades.
The royal speech in Addis Ababa is the crowning achievement of the successful political, economic and cultural actions of Morocco in Africa.
The readmission of Morocco into the African Union is the result of extraordinary endeavors by King Mohammed VI since the beginning of the year 2000, when the debt of the least developed African countries towards Morocco was canceled. Then, the King went further by making more and more frequent state visits to several African countries, from Francophone West Africa, to Central Africa, then Eastern, and since a few months, he went on other trips further south, to Rwanda, Madagascar and Tanzania.
The historic return of Morocco to the African Union is an excellent step forward at the economic and political levels.
Economically, Morocco will have access to the promising African wide market, which will allow for favorable fruitful exchanges. As a stable and relatively wealthy country, Morocco can contribute to the development of the African continent while strengthening its own economic development.
At the political level, the reintegration of the African family will consolidate the ties of fraternity and friendship with African countries and will foster the territorial integrity of Morocco, which will find allies to promote its unifying project for the Southern provinces and to discredit the enemy’s attitude toward Morocco’s territorial integrity from within the African Union itself.
By avoiding its isolation in Africa at a time when Algeria turns its back on us, Libya is in ruins, and Tunisia and Egypt are struggling, Morocco seeks to rely on the African bloc in order to dialogue and cooperate more effectively with other African countries.
Morocco will put at the disposal of Africa its skills in all fields: agriculture, construction, finance, food industry, communications, road, port and airport infrastructures, etc. “My country opts for the sharing and transfer of its know-how; it proposes to concretely build a solidary and secure future “, underlined the royal speech.
Similarly, Morocco will also share its expertise in security matters for the fight against terrorism, and its diplomacy for resolving conflicts in the continent peacefully. “Since its independence, Morocco has participated in six UN peacekeeping operations in Africa, deploying thousands of men in various places of operation. Moroccan troops are still deployed in The Central African Republic and The Democratic Republic of Congo today,” said the royal speech.
Furthermore, Morocco has recently regularized the situation of tens of thousands of Sub-Saharan undocumented migrants, and commissioned the Moroccan religious scholars or Ulema to African Muslim countries for the strengthening of moderate tolerant Islam and the fight against religious extremism.
During the previous royal visits to Africa, major strategic projects have been put in place, including: the initiation of the Atlantic African Gas Pipeline project with Nigeria, which will transport gas from producer countries to Europe. “But beyond that, it will benefit all of West Africa.” In addition to other bilateral projects, “Fertilizer Production Units have been established with Ethiopia and Nigeria” and whose “benefits will extend to the entire continent”, the King added in his speech to the African summit.
The royal speech in Addis Ababa and Morocco’s multiple actions in Africa were very well received and applauded with good grace by the African Heads of States.
As the King stated in a fine and emotional style, he has come home, and he is happy to reunite with his dear African brothers whom he all missed. The King clearly criticized the dysfunction of the Arab Maghreb Union (UMA) unfortunately “because faith in a common interest has disappeared”. By putting full responsibility on the Maghreb states, which remain among the least integrated in the world, the Sovereign said that “the Maghreb countries are at a very weak level of economic cooperation”, way below other African sub-regions.
In short, Tuesday January 31, 2017 will remain a historic day for the kingdom, which commemorates Morocco’s return to the great African home after 33 years of absence. And all this is the culmination of long years of gigantic efforts in the service of a continent that was once ruined and sacked, now worn and abused by some Western and non-Western dishonest countries.
Morocco withdrew from the African Union’s predecessor, the Organization of African Unity (OAU), in 1984 in protest at the Sahrawi republic’s (RASD) admission to the body.
Today, Morocco’s reintegration of the African Union will have major ramifications, particularly since it is a key country in Africa and has strong relations and a considerable impact in West Africa. Morocco is not only central on political and economic levels, but from a cultural and religious perspective as well. A few Muslim countries in Western Africa eulogize the king of Morocco in Friday prayers as the Commander of the Faithful.
In returning to the African Union, Morocco not only expresses its desire to exercise influence within the African organization, but also seeks to challenge and curb the presence of the so-called RASD since many African countries have already withdrawn their recognition of it during the past ten years. This is bound to open a new era in the Moroccan struggle to defend its territorial integrity and in Morocco’s relations with the African continent. The country will now revert to its role as a political and economic leader and correct its previous errors.
By Moha Ennaji