Economic Prowess Dominates Diplomatic Precision

economicIncreasingly in recent months, international politics has been split down the red line of foreign policy—a demarcation dividing the EU and the US from Russia and China. Crises like the current showdown in the Crimea, and the dark shadow hovering over Syria, are bleak examples of an embedded opposition between east and west. Clustered around the borders of that red line are countries such as Mali, rising economies with a favorable GDP poised to make a firm, political shift toward a permanent residency on one side or the other.
It is advantageous for the pro-West faction then, that King Mohammed VI of Morocco has become one of the most influential statesmen in African politics. The King maintains a strong relationship with his counterparts in the US and the EU, based on mutual respect and economic links, and is fast extending an equally friendly hand to Mali and other isolated, underdeveloped African nations. Over the past two weeks Mohammed VI has shown impressive diplomacy and business acumen during a tour of the sub-Saharan countries of Mali, Guinea, Gabon and the Côte d’Ivoire. His carefully cultivated relationship with Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, the Prime Minister of Mali, laid the foundations for 18 bilateral agreements signed by the two countries during the King’s state visit, covering areas in finance, energy and national defense.

With hindsight, the success of Moroccan diplomacy in Mali was to set a trend for the remainder of King’s tour. In the Côte d’Ivoire warm words of welcome were extended in an address by President Alassane Dramane Ouattara, which included an expression of support for Morroco’s preferred policy of autonomy in relation to the Western Sahara. At the presidential palace in Abdijan, Ouattara and Mohammed VI presided over the signing of six bilateral agreements in the areas of aquaculture, tourism and civilian protection. A joint communiqué later released highlighted the potential for further economic cooperation and trade between the two countries, with the aim of expanding diplomatic and, most importantly, economic relations. In a speech in front of over 500 business delegates from Morocco and the Côte d’Ivoire, HM King Mohammed VI openly emphasized the necessity for economic cooperation in today’s climate of global interdependency, “Diplomacy used to serve the strengthening of political relations. Nowadays, the economic dimension comes first, and it forms the basis of diplomatic relations.”

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Written by: Nabil Ouchagour
Friday 14 March 2014


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