Rabat – “Every time we visit the region we witness considerable improvements,” said Ismaila Nimaga, ambassador of the Central African Republic to Rabat. Nimaga said he is impressed by the “rapid transformations” in the region.
The aim of the visit, the Central African diplomat explained, is to “bear witness to Morocco’s diverse developments efforts.” The diplomat called Morocco a rising African power, suggesting that Rabat is growing in prominence in North Africa and in the entire African continent.
Laayoune is part of the southern provinces that were historically associated with fewer opportunities and fewer government investments.
Since 2015, however, the bulk of Morocco’s investment budget has been spent in realizing King Mohammed VI’s insistent calls for an “inclusive and harmonizing development model” to bolster the development of historically left-behind regions.
“Moroccan government, private businesses, and NGOs have all recently shouldered their responsibility in investing in equal development of all regions,” Nimaga said. He argued that “these rapid socio-economic transformations” are mostly “due to King Mohammed VI’s personal commitment and political will.”
In awe with a region that keeps changing for the better, the Central African said that other African countries, “especially in sub-Saharan Africa,” can learn a lot from Morocco’s recent efforts in its southern provinces. The region, he said, can play a great role in bringing Morocco even closer to its “African brothers.”
The visiting ambassadors included Nigeria’s Baba Garba, Ghana’s Stephen Yakubu, and diplomats from DR Congo, the Gambia, Benin, Niger, Sudan, Chad, and Ukraine.
Also speaking of the socio-economic transformations in Laayoune, Baba Garba said, “Morocco is on track and is making the right choices.”
“These kinds of projects should be emulated across the entire continent to improve the living standards of vulnerable and low-income classes,” the Nigerian diplomat said.
Echoing the sentiments of his Central African counterpart, Baba Garba said that the efforts Morocco has been deploying in the south can serve as a springboard for enhancing the South-South cooperation agenda on the African continent.
Ghana’s Stephen Yakubu said that he was “very pleased” that the lion’s share of Morocco’s investments is “actually benefiting local populations.”
Remembering that Rabat and Accra signed technical cooperation agreements in February 2017, the Ghanaian official said that his country is hoping to take advantage of Morocco’s expertise in terms of project planning and realization.
Initiated under the auspices of King Mohammed VI as part of Morocco’s 2007 Autonomy Plan for Western Sahara, increasing investments in the southern provinces have borne considerable fruit for Moroccan diplomacy and Morocco’s position on the Western Sahara question.
In the past months, multiple foreign delegations have hailed Morocco’s “genuine and sincere” commitment to its southern provinces.
Most recently, participants in the Morocco-France Business Forum called Laayoune an “ideal hub” for investments.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the forum on November 2, Philippe-Edern Klein, chairman of the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Morocco (CFCIM), said, “The region of the South benefits from ambitious investment programs, both public and private, and major infrastructure projects that make it the ideal hub to the African continent.”