African Trade & Investment Summit Backs Morocco’s ECOWAS Membership

The second African Trade and Investment summit held this week in Ifrane wound up on a tone of support for Morocco’s membership in the Economic Community of West African States.

The participants in the event, notably investors and businessmen from across the continent and beyond, expressed their support for Morocco’s bid to join the West African economic bloc in recommendation number 22 of the final document, which they intend to submit to all African heads of state.

According to participants, such a membership will give a boost to regional integration efforts as part of a win-win approach and in line with the recommendation of the African Union for the creation of integrated free trade zones in the continent.

Such an integration will be conducive for the free movement of persons, goods and services between African countries in view of the upcoming adoption of the African passport.

The final statement of the summit also stressed the importance of air transport and called for lowering air travel costs between African states.

After its triumphal return to the African Union, Morocco applied in March 2016 to join the ECOWAS. Before submitting its application, King Mohammed VI paid visits to the countries in the region where Morocco is already one of the largest investors.

Morocco opted to look southwards and reached out to its partners in West Africa with whom it has been building partnerships on a sound foundation underpinned by a south-south cooperation approach.

Morocco’s bid to join ECOWAS is, therefore, a continuation of a decades-long process of fostering ties with the countries of the region.

The admission of Morocco to the ECOWAS sub-region will make it the second largest economy after Nigeria. Thanks to its geographic location and trade agreements with the EU, Turkey, the US and several Arab countries as well as its port and airport hubs, Morocco will offer West African countries a gateway to new markets.

With the inclusion of Morocco, the ECOWAS will bolster its aggregated GDP to the 16th rank globally ahead of Turkey and right after Indonesia.

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