Moroccan king’s Africa visit may spur return to African Union

Rabat, Feb 18: Moroccan monarch, King Mohammed VI, is touring Mali, Guinea Conakry, Cote d’Ivoire and Gabon as part of a diplomatic swing through sub-Saharan and West Africa amid speculation it could lead to the return of Morocco to the African Union.

Morocco was one of the first African states that contributed to the establishment of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). However, Morocco pulled out of the organisation in 1984 to protest the admission of the self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. Since then, there have been increasing calls for Morocco to return to the now African Union.

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 criminal trafficking of arms and drugs, say analysts.

King Mohammed VI’s visit is seen as part of the country’s initiatives in Africa. The king took the initiative to cancel the debt of very poor African countries. This decision was only the beginning of a long-term economic strategy to get back to the premier position it occupied in the African diplomatic landscape, say Moroccan officials.

Several Moroccan public or private companies have established themselves in sub-Saharan Africa to invest in sectors that could foster some countries’ growth, such as banking.

“This new royal diplomatic strategy has opened new doors for the Moroccan-American and Moroccan-European partnership to fight terrorism but mostly to promote economic prosperity for many African countries,” officials emphasised.

IANS