Morocco’s Skillful Economic Diplomacy in Africa
While the West is shaken to the roots by doubts and fears and, consequently, is retreating into populism, bigotry and xenophobia, and, by so doing, burying reluctantly its recent creation called “globalization,” China is on the rise. It is attempting to control the world by means of commerce and its immediate target is the south where it is duly spreading its tentacles and influence.
In the midst of international fear, doubt, racism and protectionism, King Mohammed VI, riding his steel horse (Boeing 747) is tirelessly going from country to country in Africa proposing beneficial cooperation schemes within win-win ventures. The concept is simple; Morocco will bring fresh capital, expertise and willingness to create wealth and jobs for everyone with no strings attached in return for administrative and economic facilities. So far, the response from the concerned parties has been tremendous.
In a report written for the Trump administration by Robert Satloff and Sarah Feuer of the prestigious Washington Institute for Near East Policy entitled: “Strengthening Stability in Northwest Africa – Ideas for U.S. Policy toward Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia,” these two respected experts extol King Mohammed VI’s economic leadership in Africa.
Other governments around the world welcomed the Moroccan attempts to create positive partnership venues in Africa, seeing in this enterprise a courageous move to help and benefit mutually the good spirit of: “scratch my back, I will scratch yours,” with no hegemony nor control.
The Moroccan public and private conglomerates are investing in Africa creating beneficial economic opportunities for both sides. Moroccan companies have, indeed, accounted for nearly 9% of the business transacted in Africa. Some of these companies are as follows:
Fertilizer conglomerate. OCP (Office Chérifien des Phosphates) will create plants in several countries and share expertise.
Banking institutions. Moroccan banks such as: Banque Populaire, Attijari Wafa Bank, BMCE have taken over failing African banks and are managing them into profit anew and have, also, created their own banks for business and investment in the continent.
Insurance. The big insurance company Saham is extremely active in the insurance business in many countries in which it managing profitable business.
Telecommunication. The huge Moroccan telecom company Itissalat al-Maghrib has subsidiary companies in several countries and boasts over 30 million customers.
Mining. Moroccan economic holdings are very active in the mining sector in several countries.
Infrastructure. Buzzichelli Maroc is present in electrification projects and Addoha in building cement plants.
Water and power. The Moroccan public company ONEE (Office National de l’Eau et de l’Electricité) is responsible for many national African companies; etc.
Probably, the biggest Moroccan project in Africa so far is the future oil pipeline that will bring Nigerian oil to the Mediterranean coast making it available to the European continent.
For the Atlantic Council, in spite of the fact that Morocco has to grapple with many daunting regulatory obstacles in African countries such as capital controls, complex hiring and firing processes, and an unwieldy property registry, the indicators are compelling. In the 1990s, Moroccan trade with sub-Saharan Africa amounted to an average of $300 million annually. Since 1998, it has averaged $529 million annually and reached $1 billion in 2008. King Mohammed VI’s skillful economic diplomacy, since his accession to the throne in 1999, has efficiently established an economic beachhead onto the African continent for the good of the African people, the Moroccan economy and Western business interests. It must be said that this triangulating effort is undoubtedly good for all the sides concerned, bearing in mind that Africa is a true gold mine waiting to be exploited comprehensively by all parties that will come on board and its windfall will be great for the development of the African continent and the wellbeing of its valiant and proud people.