Morocco’s vision on its partnership with the EU, Africa, its strategies for the future highlighted at opening of EDD
The European Development Days (EDD), one of the main world forums on development cooperation, kicked off this Tuesday, June 21, 2022 in Brussels, with the participation of Morocco, represented by the head of government, Aziz Akhannouch, who presented the kingdom’s strategies for the future and its vision on partnerships with the European Union and Africa.
The 2022 edition of the EDD, sponsored by the European Commission, aims to highlight “Global Gateway”, the EU’s new strategy to invest in “smart, clean and secure” infrastructure in the digital, energy and transport sectors, and to strengthen health, education and research systems around the world, tackling inequalities and putting the Sustainable Development Goals on track.
For the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who launched the event, the objective of this initiative is to mobilize €300 billion by 2027, including €150 billion in Africa.
Speaking at this event, and insisting on Morocco’s essential position in the context of exchanges with the European Union, the head of government said that “throughout its history, Morocco has played the role of a bridge – a kind of gateway – between Africa and Europe. Building sustainable and reliable partnerships is, so to speak, in the Kingdom’s DNA.”
He vowed that Morocco will accompany the European Union in the deployment of the innovative Global Gateway strategy, which contributes to an integrated development and a strengthened connectivity that is mutually beneficial to Europe and Africa.
Global Gateway, which places Africa at the heart of its strategy as the main beneficiary of the project, “will help to take a qualitative step towards a world of sustainable co-prosperity,” he said.
Very soon after the launch of European integration, Morocco and the EU have built, patiently and over time, a partnership of exception, which continues to develop today, thanks to a strong and constant royal will,” he recalled, noting that “Morocco and the EU wanted [this partnership] to be comprehensive, ambitious, equal, based on shared values and carried by common interests, which makes it today a strategic, reliable, necessary and unique partnership.”
Morocco and the European Union can now invest in fields of future cooperation, Akhannouch stressed, recalling that Morocco is the first country in the world to engage in the conclusion of a Green Partnership with the EU.
This avant-garde orientation of the Morocco-EU Partnership, and its proven ability to deliver results, gives it a force of emulation, projection and success, beneficial to both the African continent and the Euro-Mediterranean region,” he said.
Recalling that Morocco, which has intensified over the past 20 years its trade with its home continent, is now the first African investor in West Africa, and the second on the continent, the head of government said that the place occupied today by Morocco is the result of the vision of King Mohammed VI.
Akhannounch also brought up the Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline, saying the project is one of the most striking illustrations of Morocco’s commitment to long-term infrastructure projects with Africa. This gas pipeline project linking Africa to Europe should be included as a flagship initiative of the Global Gateway plan as it represents a powerful vector of regional and bicontinental integration, he argued.
The head of government stated further that Morocco has proved its resilience to the pandemic and has succeeded in a high-level vaccination campaign, with more than 63% of the population fully vaccinated, while having the ambition to go much further to achieve effective prevention.
It is within this framework that Morocco has proceeded to launch the construction of a vaccination plant for Morocco and the African continent, he recalled, assuring that Morocco places the protection and fulfillment of its citizens in the forefront of its priorities.
“Our country is currently carrying out three far-reaching reforms, namely in matters of social protection, health and education to accompany, train and release the energies of our citizens throughout their lives,” he said.
Noting, on the other hand, that “Morocco is working to ensure greater connectivity between our continents,” he said that the Kingdom has already built first-class infrastructure.
He cited Tanger Med Port, which is now the first port of transshipment in Africa and the Mediterranean, in addition to many new projects, which, combined with existing international airports, will connect the African and European continents by air, sea, rail and road.
These exchanges cannot take place without a stable and sustainable world. However, this stability is now threatened by global warming and the problems of price and energy supply,” he said, noting that Morocco has taken its responsibilities by being a pioneer in renewable energy for over 15 years, while being in the forefront of new energy technologies, such as the development of green hydrogen.
Organized in a hybrid format, EDD welcomes 2,500 face-to-face participants, in addition to 10,000 online participants. Political leaders, civil society representatives and private sector actors from all over the world participate in these European Development Days.
For two days, participants can take part in more than 90 sessions, including high-level panels, around the five key themes of the Global Gateway: digital, climate and energy, transport, health, and education and research. There will be specific sessions on the geopolitical context and the need for sustainable financing flows, as well as region-specific sessions.