Tomorrow Saturday 30th of July 2022, the Moroccan people commemorates the 23rd anniversary of King Mohammed VI’s ascension to the throne of his glorious ancestors.
This is an occasion to renew the pledge of allegiance, a unique ancestral and sacred bond between the Moroccan people and the Sovereign that reflects the deep cohesion between the People and the Throne. It is also an auspicious occasion to celebrate the great development strides made over the last 23 years under the leadership of His Majesty King Mohammed VI and hail the political reforms and the various development projects launched in diverse field.
Morocco held in September 2021, general, regional and local elections. The good organization and positive atmosphere highly praised by international observers and the high voter turnout (50.18%), particularly in the southern provinces, confirmed the vigor of the Moroccan democratic model as well as the principle of rotation in managing state affairs.
As the Sahara issue remains quintessential to the Kingdom’s national unity and the cause of all Moroccans, quiet, tangible developments in the defense of Morocco’s sovereignty over its Saharan territories have occurred recently. Indeed, the recognition of the United States of America of Morocco’s full sovereignty over its Sahara, the recent sovereign decision of the Kingdom of Spain to support Morocco’s autonomy plan for its southern provinces, within the framework of Moroccan sovereignty and the opening of consulates in the cities of Laayoun and Dakhla by more than 26 countries, the last of which was the Consulate of Togo opened in July 21st in Dakhla, further confirms the broad support for Morocco’s legitimate stance.
On the economic level, the New Development Model, adopted by the Kingdom seeks to advance investment, higher education, research, digital society and green energy. It also aims at doubling the per capita GDP by 2035, increasing the capacity of the economy to generate jobs, significantly reducing social and territorial inequalities.
The Covid-19 pandemic has shown that sovereignty issues are front and center, and Morocco like every other country is working to preserve sovereignty in various domains, be it in relation to health, energy, food or other sectors.
In this regard, His Majesty King Mohammed VI launched, in January 2022, an industrial vaccine manufacturing unit that will contribute to meeting the needs of the Kingdom and securing the health sovereignty of African sister countries. In the midst of the crisis, in April 2021, Morocco has also launched a project to generalize social protection to all Moroccans.
Under the leadership of HM King Mohammed VI, Morocco has always been inventive in tackling the issue of energy. The Kingdom, which hosted the COP 22, has made great strides towards modern, sustainable and reliable energy, is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. In this regard, Morocco’s Noor Ouarzazate Solar Complex is the largest concentrated solar power plant in the world, spread over 3,000 hectares of desert with an overall capacity of 580 MW of power.
The country has also developed more than a dozen large-scale windfarms, as well as provided incentives for businesses and residences to invest in their own solar panels to save on energy costs.Recently selected as Global Champion for the UN High-level Dialogue on Energy, Morocco’s renewable energy projects now contribute almost 40 percent of its installed energy capacity, and it is targeted to exceed 50 percent by 2030.
As far as industrialization is concerned, the Office Chérifien des Phosphates OCP is one of the world’s largest fertilizer manufacturers and currently engaged on a $8bn expansion plan. Morocco’s Tanger Med Port, a world-class port surrounded by industrial car manufacturing parks, which provides over 350,000 cars annually, to Europe and to the rest of Africa is now the biggest port in Africa and the Mediterranean, with worldwide access to almost 180 ports and 70 countries. In 2021, $120 million private investments were injected in 28 new projects in the port’s activity zones.
Morocco, under the enlightened leadership of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, is pursuing a coherent and integrated policy in its relations with African sister countries. In the past, the Kingdom played an active role in continental politics, being one of the founders of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in 1963. Morocco’s return to the African Union and to its institutional family in 2017 was the result of a pro-active and sustained policy of King Mohammed VI and of his vision to develop a strong and active south-south cooperation. His Majesty’s visits to 30 countries across the continent, including Ghana in February 2017, resulted in the implementation of several cooperation and strategic partnerships.
Morocco strongly believes in a co-development based on intra-African cooperation and economic complementarity, on active solidarity and on the pooling of resources and efforts. In this vein, and in a context where the African continent struggles with soaring fertilizers prices in the international market where costs have quadrupled, Moroccan state-owned phosphates and fertilizers company OCP offered several African countries 550,000 tons of fertilizers, 180,000 tons of which in the form of donations and 370,000 sold at discounted prices.
Unfortunately, in the space of a decade, Africa has become not only a place of return and redeployment of foreign fighters, but also a space producing terrorist groups. The Sahel region, particularly, remains the world’s 2nd most affected region by terrorism.
Morocco considers that the fight against security threats in Africa requires collective actions involving sub-regional cooperation strengthened by the contribution of the international community. In this regard the Kingdom hosted between June 6 to 30 African Lion 2022, the largest and most diverse joint multinational and multidisciplinary operation. The exercise allowed almost 4,000 U.S. service members and more than 4,000 troops other countries including Ghana, Senegal and Tunisia to train together with a focus on strengthening their abilities and interoperability.
Concerned that the collusion against the sovereignty and stability of states, and the convergence of financial, tactical and operational means, create an objective alliance between terrorist and separatist groups, Moroccodeveloped an effective, multi-dimensional and comprehensive strategy to combat terrorism and extremism and has been calling for a multilateral response that enhances solidarity and integration
Morocco hosted in May 2022, the first meeting of the Global Coalition against ISIS in Africa that reaffirmed the shared determination to continue the fight against Daesh through both military and civilian-led efforts contributing to the enduring defeat of the terrorist group.The opening in June 2021 of the Rabat-based Program Office for Counter-Terrorism and Training in Africa of the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism enhances the coalition’s capabilities.
Morocco strongly believes that South-South cooperation remains the way forward to improve the economic conditions of African countries and is committed to the achievement of large-scale projects, such as the gas pipeline project between Morocco and Nigeria, which is expected to contribute effectively to enhancing the energy security of a large number of African countries including Ghana. It will also serve as an example of how regional integration would transform the landscape of Atlantic Africa and bring prosperity to its people.
The progress made in spite of the challenges created by the current crisis, in institutionalizing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), whose headquarters are here inGhana, is further evidence of our continent’s ability to enhance its economic integration, based on a common pan African vision. Once operational, Africa’s Continental Free Trade Area will become the largest free-trade zone in the world, with a market size of $3.3 trillion, covering 54 countries, with a population of 1.3 billion people.
As Ambassador of His Majesty the King of Morocco to the Republic of Ghana, I take the opportunity of this important commemoration to pay tribute to the fraternal bilateral relations and cooperation based on mutual respect and historical ties that have linked our two countries for decades.
I would also like to reiterate my willingness and readiness to work with the Ghanaian Government to enhance our cooperation and further strengthen our ties. Our greatest challenge being to offer our populations better living conditions in a space of security and prosperity. Let us unite for the good of our peoples in Morocco and in Ghana and for our continent, Africa.
The writer is the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Morocco to the Republic of Ghana
TRIBUNE BY HER EXCELLENCY IMANE OUAADIL