Maghreb Arab Press

Morocco, ‘the Key’ to America’s Success in Africa (International Policy Digest)

Washington  -  
Morocco remains a ‘model ally’ that holds the keys to America’s future success on the African continent, the US magazine “International Policy Digest” said in an analysis published on Friday.
Morocco, ‘the Key’ to America’s Success in Africa (International Policy Digest)
19 October 2018

“As Trump’s administration continues to reconsider each individual relationship, Morocco remains a model ally that holds the keys to America’s future success on the African continent,” the paper pointed out, recalling that Morocco was the first country to recognize American independence in 1777.

Morocco, which holds the longest unbroken treaty in U.S. history, remains a “crucial security partner, a leader in religious tolerance for the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region, and an innovative world leader in renewable energy,” the paper said in an analysis by Christopher Shays, a former US Congressman.

Shays, who has recently returned from Morocco with a bipartisan delegation of former members of Congress organized by the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress (FMC), said that “we witnessed the unique position Morocco finds itself in and the opportunity that lies ahead for closer U.S.-Morocco cooperation.”

“Morocco shares its capabilities and experience to professionalize its African neighbors, acting a multiplier effect for the U.S.’ efforts on the continent,” Shays noted, adding that the Kingdom hosts African Lion, the annual joint U.S.-Morocco military drill that builds the military capacity of Morocco and several West African nations.

In the face of relentless instability across North Africa, Morocco has not only provided security within its own borders, but has also contributed to the global fight against terrorism, the paper said.

On counter-terrorism and security, Morocco has worked especially close with the EU and Interpol to identify foreign terrorists and members of ISIS that have used Mediterranean maritime routes between North Africa and southern Europe to smuggle in weapons, foreign fighters and finance terror, it added.

President Trump’s own Special Envoy for the Coalition to Defeat ISIS, Brett McGurk, praised Morocco for playing a “decisive” role in fighting terrorism, the paper recalled, adding that beyond hard security elements, Morocco has implemented a robust counter-radicalization strategy that should serve as an example for many Muslim majority countries in the MENA region. 

“Morocco, which has always been a land of crossroads and diverse cultures, including a historic Jewish minority community, works to promote values of moderation and tolerance, both at home and abroad, through state education programs, community building, and religious training, as was recently noted by the State Department’s 2018 annual report on terrorism,” the US paper pointed out.

Stemming from King Mohammed VI’s role as Commander of the Faithful, Morocco has reorganized the state’s religious structures to protect citizens from invasive, extreme forms of Islam, it said.

Apart from its counter-radicalization efforts, Morocco is also taking on one of the key catalysts of extremism, economic opportunity. The economy, traditionally reliant on agriculture, manufacturing and mining, has developed and modernized greatly over the past decade, International Policy Digest said.

Since 2000, GDP per person has increased by 70% in real terms, while the GDP growth rate in that same period is estimated to be 4.1%, it added, noting that Morocco has built the world’s largest concentrated solar plant in the world, at the Noor Power Plant.

Tax incentives have drawn in foreign investors, most notably from Europe, China, and the Gulf; helping revive aspects of Morocco’s manufacturing industry and building new infrastructure such as the upcoming Moroccan high speed train (LGV), the paper said.

More importantly to U.S. investors, Morocco is not only looking to develop its own economy but to aggressively accelerate development across the continent.

Casablanca in particular aims to become an international financial center and several Moroccan banks are looking to provide Africa with the capital it needs to achieve the desired development that could shift the continent’s future, it added.

Implementing localized and patient banking strategies, Morocco sees itself as the interlocutor between fellow African countries and international investors, providing outside investors with African know-how and serving as a gateway for African countries through its ports and access to the world, the paper pointed out. 

Last modified : 19 October 2018

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