Prosper Africa: Morocco to Become America’s Gateway to Africa

Photo: Epa/Maxim Shipenkov

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Agadir – As part of the new Trade and Investment Program under its Prosper Africa initiative, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) is set to designate Morocco as an economic hub. 

Under the programme, North and sub-Saharan Africa will receive up to $500 million in funding, over the period of five years. The aim is to provide services such as business development, investment-facilitation, as well as support for improved legal and regulatory frameworks.

Using Morocco as a centralised economic hub, USAID looks to create thousands of new jobs, as well as manage billions of dollars in exports and investments. According to the US government, the overarching goal is to strengthen strategic ties and expand trade between the US, Morocco, as well as other countries across North Africa.

USAID is approaching this venture in a continent-wide manner, looking to create satellite offices that will support North and sub-Saharan Africa. 

Prosper Africa is a US governmental initiative with the goal to increase two-way trade between US and Africa. With such a program, the US government recognizes that Africa will play a pivotal role in the future global economy. 

Part of Prosper Africa’s ambitions is the need to make trade and investment opportunities easier to access as the African continent looks to diversify its economy and play a more assertive role in global exchanges. 

While Africa holds six of the fastest-growing economies, as well as over 1 billion consumers, the United States has access to over $13 trillion in purchasing power. The hope is that connecting the markets will yield mutually beneficial results.

Looking to capitalize on these conditions, “the U.S. Government helps to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit of Americans and the people of African nations like never before — advancing American and African prosperity and security, supporting jobs, and demonstrating the superior value of transparent markets and private enterprise for driving growth.”

Morocco as a regional hub

On November 17, 2020, USAID’s acting Deputy Administrator John Barsa announced the Trade and Investment Program for pre-solicitation. 

According to the Office of Press Relations for USAID, this is not just a new program. Instead, “it is a new way of doing business that will dramatically expand the investment by the United States in Africa’s growth by harnessing private-sector resources and innovation.”

As part of the initiative, USAID looks to open and staff an office for the recently announced Executive Secretariat for Prosper Africa in Morocco. This will involve expertise from 17 participating US governmental departments and agencies, bringing over resources and staff.

For USAID, the main goal of the program is to further consolidate the strong-looking relationship between Morocco and the US. USAID supported Morocco’s COVID-19 response, addressing the basic need for food security as well as assisting deaf and hard of hearing students with distance learning. 

US Ambassador to Morocco David Fischer also said that Morocco has been the largest recipient of funds from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to date.

The cumulation of these programs and investment shows the growing importance of Morocco on the global stage. As local industry recovers to pre-pandemic levels, Morocco has established new diplomatic relationships and strengthened existing ones

As it looks to capitalize on an unprecedentedly successful year for its diplomacy, Morocco appears poised to bring its diplomatic and strategic outreach to new heights in 2021.