“ECOWAS will not be weakened by an economically strong country such as Morocco, and as an ECOWAS member, Morocco would be better able to fulfill its desired role as a bridge between Africa and Europe”, adds Kannengieber in a statement to German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW).
As the economy of Morocco’s most important trading partner, the European Union (EU), is faltering, the North African country looks for new allies and new markets for its products and with a combined population of 350 million, ECOWAS could turn out to be the perfect partner, notes chief of the German-African Business Association.
“The Moroccans are pursuing a double-edged political strategy,” says Kannengieber. On the one hand, the country is seeking a privileged relationship with Europe. On the other hand, it is also trying to strengthen its integration with other countries on the African continent.
“The Moroccans know that the African continent, especially West Africa, is an important region of growth, not only from an economic perspective, but in terms of political influence as well,” he adds.
Heads of States of ECOWAS have in principle approved the membership application of Morocco during their latest summit convened in Liberia. Morocco, 2nd African investors in the continent, had submitted its application to join the West African regional bloc after retaking its seat at African Union (AU) in January.
King Mohammed VI said Sunday that Morocco’s rejoining AU is “the start of a new era of joint action with all African countries in order to build a genuine, solidarity-based partnership, ensure – together – our continent’s development and meet the needs of African citizens”.
“We are currently in the process of building an Africa that believes in itself, is committed to solidarity and rallies behind concrete projects while being open to its surroundings”, added the Monarch, in a speech he delivered Sunday on the occasion of the 64th anniversary of the Revolution of the King and People. He explained that it is this comprehensive vision that led the Kingdom to bid for membership of the Economic Commission of West African States.
ECOWAS is a natural extension of the AU. By joining both institutions, Morocco will contribute to economic prosperity and human development on the continent, explained the Moroccan Sovereign describing the move as a “historic political decision and a milestone in the endeavors made towards African integration, which can only be achieved through regional blocs, for the latter have become crucial players in international affairs”.
Within ECOWAS, Morocco will seek to lay down the foundations for genuine African integration that serves the continent and fulfils its peoples’ aspirations for development and for a dignified life, in an environment characterized by unity, security and stability, stressed the Monarch.
ECOWAS was set up in 1975. Its gathers Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Senegal and Togo.
The group weighs $630 billion dollars, representing the world’s 21st GDP and by integrating Morocco, the 15-member bloc would become the 16th largest world economy with an additional $115 billion dollars and a GDP approaching $745 billion, ahead of Turkey and right after Indonesia.
With its strategic geographic and economic position, Morocco would be a vital platform for ECOWAS countries to secure European, American & Arab markets.