MEDays 2018: "In reality, Morocco is already a West African country" - JeuneAfrique.com

The 11th edition of this international forum opened on Thursday November 8 in Tangier. New partnerships, new strategies, new policies ... the 150 speakers reflect on the changes currently underway on the continent. And especially in the place occupied by Morocco.

From the bay of Tangier, the shores of Europe are so close. Just a few miles across the Strait of Gibraltar, they stand out above the foam of the waves. At hand and yet they never seemed so far from the eyes of MEDays participants. The times have changed.

While this Moroccan think-tank forum Amadeus, created by Brahim Fassi-Fihri, the son of Royal Councilor and former Foreign Minister Taïeb Fassi-Fihri, is entering its second decade of existence, it is focusing this year around new African partnerships.

What place for Morocco in Africa?

New threats, new opportunities, new perspectives ... for three days, the 150 speakers will discuss the partnership with China or the migration routes. But during this first day of reflection, it's around the place of Morocco in Africa, and in particular within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) that were the debates, Thursday 8 November.

Morocco must enter ECOWAS. Why ? Because Moroccans and West Africans want it

"I call: as soon as possible, Morocco must enter ECOWAS. Why ? Because Moroccans and West Africans want it, "exclaimed the former president of Benin, Thomas Boni Yayi. On Moroccan lands, the speakers were unanimous. Two years after the return of the Shereefian kingdom to the African Union and eighteen months after the agreement in principle of West African Heads of State to join ECOWAS, all welcomed the new prospects that this arrival could engender.

"The Kingdom is the largest investor in West Africa. It is the country that has the most agreements, the King has made more than twenty-five visits to the region. Which head of state can say as much? ", Launched Brahim Fassi-Fihri. "In fact, Morocco is already a West African country. "

"To cure fears"

"Moroccan companies are already very present, as in the banking sector or in the building," said the former Malian Prime Minister Moussa Mara, seeing in the integration of Morocco a strengthening of the unity of the continent. "If Morocco joins ECOWAS, this space will be 15rd global economy, the 10rd in 2030 ", for its part predicts the Senegalese economist Moubarack Lo.

Behind the political display, there are concerns in Côte d'Ivoire or Senegal, for example

At the forum, the enthusiasm would be forgotten that, since the agreement in principle to the accession of Morocco to ECOWAS given by the West African Heads of States at the Conference of Monrovia, in June 2017, the case file to advance.

Nigeria, behemoth of the sub-region, does not hide its reluctance, as some business circles. "Behind the political display, there are concerns in Côte d'Ivoire or Senegal, for example. The business community sees this potential arrival as that of an unfair competitor and are fiercely against, "says one of the speakers, much less optimistic, during an informal discussion.

"We must clean up fears," said Luis Filipe Lopes Tavares, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cape Verde, also recognizing legal difficulties. Like many people in Tangiers, he said he would like to see Morocco arrive "as soon as possible" in ECOWAS, "from 2019, or 2020 ... Inch'Allah! "

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