Royal Atlantic Initiative takes center stage at “Morocco Today Forum” in Dakhla

Royal Atlantic Initiative takes center stage at “Morocco Today Forum” in Dakhla

The key features of the Royal Initiative for the Atlantic took center stage at the 7th edition of the international conference “Morocco Today Forum” (MTF), organized on Friday, July 5 in Dakhla, under the high patronage of King Mohammed VI.

The “Morocco Today Forum” was held under the theme: “Vision of a King: The Atlantic Africa, for an Integrated, Inclusive, and Prosperous Continental Region.”

This annual forum, organized by the Le Matin Group in partnership with the Moroccan Agency for International Cooperation (AMCI) and the Dakhla-Oued Eddahab Regional Council, was marked by the participation of several prominent Moroccan and African personalities and officials and provided a platform to discuss the opportunities offered by the Royal Atlantic Initiative.

Speaking at the inaugural session of this edition, Leila Benali, Minister of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development, emphasized that Morocco is firmly committed to developing and making available its road, port, rail, air, and energy infrastructures to realize this royal vision.

“This initiative does not merely stem from a traditional geographical neighborhood policy, but above all from a profound conviction of historical, cultural, political, and geostrategic belonging,” she emphasized, noting that “Africa faces many challenges, including low access to modern energy and dependence on fossil fuel imports.”

A tremendous opportunity for African countries’ integration

Former Malian PM Moussa Mara, who participated in the forum, described the Royal Atlantic Initiative as a “tremendous” opportunity to ensure the integration of African countries.

“HM King Mohammed VI’s initiative is a tremendous opportunity for these Sahel countries that have no access to the sea,” he said, recalling that his country has joined this Initiative.

“The countries of the Sahel, rich in mineral resources and agricultural potential, need maritime outlets, and the fact that Morocco is making its port, airport, rail and road infrastructure available to these countries is a tremendous opportunity,” said the former Malian Prime Minister.

He also stressed the importance of accompanying this Initiative by building infrastructure and projects to promote mobility and the free movement of people.

The human element at the heart of the initiative

In a statement to the media, on the sidelines of the second panel of this meeting, Morocco’s ambassador to the United States, Youssef Amrani, affirmed that “the royal vision is clear, because it places, above all, the human element at the center of the strategy.” Moreover, “it highlights the connection between this Africa-Europe-Sahel corridor, which promotes growth and creates synergies, electrical and energy interconnections, submarine cables, and rail and maritime transport,” the diplomat said.

“In this context, the port of Dakhla is a fundamental element that not only unlocks the Sahel countries but also creates opportunities for all the countries in the region,” the diplomat argued. “It is a vision that creates stability and prosperity, and we are happy today to see that our partners have not only supported this initiative but have also clearly indicated that it fits within their national priorities,” he concluded.

A pragmatic response

For his part, the president of the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises (CGEM), Chakib Alj, stated that “this 7th edition of the MTF is timely, occurring when Morocco is taking the lead on certain issues thanks to the royal vision and this Atlantic initiative, which is a pragmatic and practical response to many of the problems our continent is facing.”

“The Moroccan private sector is mobilized to respond to this royal vision. The kingdom is already the second African investor on the continent in various sectors such as banking, insurance, industries, pharmaceutical laboratories, agriculture, and agri-food,” he said. “We are ready to invest in a win-win spirit and partnership to develop African economies. We work very closely with African business organizations to identify complementarities between the different countries and create a ‘Made in Africa’ that will give a new impetus to our economy,” explained the business leader.

Policymakers, diplomats, local actors, business leaders, experts, and academics from Morocco, the continent, and beyond participated in MTF 2024, which is particularly significant this year both in view of the chosen theme and of the choice of the host city, Dakhla, not to speak of the new dimension of the event, now strengthened by the partnership with AMCI and the Dakhla-Oued Eddahab region.

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