A la une

Date of posting : February 8, 2017

ISS :HM King Mohammed VI made an emotional return to the bosom of Africa

HM King Mohammed VI “made an emotional return to the bosom of Africa,” said the Institute for Security Studies (ISS).

African heads of State gave HM King Mohammed VI “a rousing, standing ovation as he entered the hall,” the Pretoria-based think-tank pointed out in an analysis by its consultant Peter Fabricius.

“It is so good to be back home, after having been away for too long!’ said the king to heads of state in the Nelson Mandela Hall for the African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa,” the source went on.

“In doing so, it appears to have out-manoeuvred its enemies, including South Africa,” the ISS added, noting that South African officials “were saying until recently that the return of Morocco was too big an issue to be dealt with this week, and would require a special dedicated summit during the next few months.”

“The king candidly noted that his country’s return did not have unanimous AU backing, but quickly added ‘we have absolutely no intention of causing division,’ and that instead Morocco would ‘help bring about unity and progress,” the source said.

“It needed a simple majority to rejoin, but in fact it persuaded a hefty 39 of the AU’s then 54 member states to write to outgoing AU Commission Chair Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma supporting its unconditional re-admission,” the ISS noted.

“Morocco could immediately help bridge the AU’s chronic financial shortfalls. These were again exposed at the summit this week when it became obvious that the plan to impose a 2% levy on imports to fund ambitious plans to reduce its large dependence on foreign donors, would not happen in a hurry,” the Institute underlined.

As Liesl Louw-Vaudran, a consultant with the Institute for Security Studies pointed out, “it is a good thing that Morocco has returned to the fold.”

‘It is geographically part of Africa,’ she noted, ‘and it can contribute a great deal to the continent.’

HM the King “told the leaders in the Nelson Mandela Hall of the many contributions that Morocco had continued to make to Africa’s well-being, even during its absence from the AU,” the source said, adding that the sovereign “catalogued scores of cooperation agreements with individual countries, thousands of scholarships for African students, fertiliser factories built in Ethiopia and Nigeria, agricultural projects in several countries, the contribution of thousands of troops to six UN peacekeeping missions in Africa – with Moroccan troops still in Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo – and peace mediation in Libya and the Mano River region.”

Morocco “is too important a player to be discounted any longer – not only for its economic and military clout on the continent, but as an important bridge to Europe and beyond,” the institute pointed out, noting that “the Polisario in fact only governs a refugee camp in Algeria in practical terms.”