*Par Amine LAGHIDI
En ces temps de défis, une note positive nous vient du Japon, pays du soleil levant et grand ami du Maroc, où une analyse de M. Amine Laghidi, expert international, vient d’être traduite en japonais (de l’anglais) et publiée le jour de la “Fête du Trône”. Un message diplomatique en toute finesse. D’autant plus que l’analyse a été publiée et relayée sur plusieurs sites officiels dépendant d’agences gouvernementales japonaises. En mettant l’accent sur le rôle pionnier du Maroc, sous les Hautes instructions de Sa Majesté le Roi Mohammed VI, dans la lutte contre les répercussions sanitaires, économiques et sociales du Covid-19 en Afrique et dans la Région. Même en temps de crises mondiales, le Maroc demeure fidèle à ses engagements et se distingue comme pilier principal de tout partenariat Nord-Sud-Sud sérieux et prospère.
While I am writing this article, Moroccan Medical Aid, including Medicine, Pharmaceutical Products, Para- Medical Material such as Masks (8 Million Units), protection Visors (900.000 Units)… all 100% Moroccan Made, has been sent, upon the High Instructions of His Majesty King Mohamed VI, to 15 African Countries covering all the Sub-Regions of the continent. Prime Ministers, Ministers and High Officials of African Sister Nations attended the official reception ceremonies in their respective countries, while African Presidents thanked the Kingdom of Morocco and His Majesty for their Exemplary Commitment toward the continent.
Two Months earlier, April 13 2020, His Majesty, launched a Pan-African initiative to fight the COVID-19 Crisis, a pragmatic, concrete and adapted response approach to the needs and realities of the continent. The Royal initiative received full support from the African Parliament and the African Union, together with the international Community.
While many countries have turned their back to Africa, in these times of crisis, Morocco remains faithful to his vows toward the continent, faithful to his role as a true locomotive of development for the region and long-standing commitment to build a Prosperous, Independent and Safer Africa. A Moroccan proverb says, “It is in times of hardship that true friends are known”.
The success of the Moroccan Diplomacy abroad, mirrors the success of the country within, to tackle the COVID-19 crisis. The Kingdom put, under Royal instructions, the Protection of the Life of Moroccans and Morocco’s Guests, above all other priorities. Catalyzing a fast and successful response since the first case appeared. That included Medical, Territorial & Security Response, the construction of a new and Dedicated Hospitals in less than 7 days, the creation of a special Solidarity Fund, restructuring of the Moroccan industry to secure the much-needed Life Support Products, such us: Pharmaceutical, Medicine, High Quality Respiratory Machines with 100% Moroccan Design and Technology, Surgical and Protection Masks, Disinfecting Gel & Solution…
While many countries struggled to import those vital goods, Morocco was working silently and effectively. The country succeeded in a record time to secure the production of High Quality Life Products that covers the needs of the Moroccan Population, with International Standards (the country developed the best Respiratory Machine to date) and Competitive Costs (0,07 USD per Mask as example). Thanks to the mobilization of Moroccan Competencies and the combined efforts of the authorities and the Agile and Patriotic Private Sector.
The country was among the first Non-Asian Countries to export those lifesaving goods to world, and precisely to Four (4) Continents: North America: USA and Mexico, Europe (Spain, Portugal, France…), Africa (Algeria, Senegal, Mauritania…), South America (Brazil) and the Middle East (Saudi Arabia…).
From an Agriculture perspective and while the Food Security remains a Key preoccupation for governments and nations around the globe, Morocco was able to secure its domestic needs in a record time.
The Kingdom scored one of the highest food exports growth in the region during this period. Thanks to the Fresh Vegetables and Fruits segments, joined by the Fisheries (Fresh, Frozen or canned).
These realizations are due to a long-term strategy and investment made over the past decades to keep and enhance the country’s Agriculture and Food Expertise, Production and exports.
The clairvoyant strategy allowed a smart and important upgrade of the sector. Which allowed Value creation through: Training, Skills enhancement, Engineering, R&D, Fertilizer Plants and tech, increase of the surface dedicated to agriculture, Funding, Modern Infrastructures & Logistics, the construction of water dams and desalination plants (that reduced drastically the risk of water stress from which suffers neighboring countries), the Diversification of the Production and encouragement of local Transformation.
A detailed study, that my team and I conducted over the past two (2) years, and that received the African Award of Economic Development in Conakry last November 2019, showed the deep impact of the Agriculture on building a sustainable development among the continent, encouraging stability, Reducing Social & Gender Gaps. Which leads to the Increase of local income and the diversification of the Moroccan & African revenues and exports.
The study forecasts that Morocco will become soon a true Agriculture and Food sourcing Hub for Africa and the World. Securing and assisting African Countries to enhance their production, increasing the local production, the quality and the revenues of the producers by establishing direct links between the producer and the final foreign or domestic buyer (with a special focus on the small and medium size producers). This Positioning shall support the African Agricultural Production and exports toward the world, establishing a “Food Co-Safety” among the nations of the continent and the Region. By linking this newly developed production capacity to foreign demand through international Purchasing and Distribution Centers, Morocco emerges as a Hub of consolidation, Industrialization and global trading for Agriculture, Fisheries and Global Food Value Chains.
This crisis became an opportunity for fulfillment of this prophecy, and Morocco has become a key sourcing zone for the Region.
Today, Many European, African and even American Countries consider the Kingdom of Morocco to be a safer, faster, closer and more reliable Sourcing and production zone. Which will allow the relocation of foreign investments toward the country, allowing it to play a central role in the post-pandemic global value chains.
Benefiting from its Free Trade Agreements with the USA, European Union, Africa (ZLECA, and soon the ECOWAS) and with Many Arab & Mediterranean countries.
The Country holds many strong financial assets as well, such as the international Financial Hub Casablanca Finance City (CFC) and a Dynamic financial sector. Moroccan Banks and Insurance Companies are among the most active and respected in Africa and hold the top positions in the investment ranking within the continent.
Morocco benefits also from its high-level infrastructures, the first African bullet Train, a Good Road and Railway network, and a strong network of Airports and Ports. Including the leading Port of Tangier Med, number 1 in Africa and the Mediterranean in terms of Capacity, Facilities and Connectivity (Connected to 180 Ports in 70 Countries). The port plays a key role in the support of Moroccan exports and the attraction of foreign investors in various sectors: Automotive, Agriculture, Energy, Textile, Electronics, Aeronautics, Renewable Energy, Mining… thanks to its strategic position, and international Logistics and Industrial zones, where many Japanese Companies are successfully established.
Such strong Assets, combined with the investment on the “Moroccan Human Capital”, the most important asset of all, shall accelerate and support the role of country as an international Hub and key investments destination.
Morocco, whose name derives from the Arabic world “Maghreb”, meaning both the “West” and “the Setting Sun”, has succeeded to become, during this world crisis, a role model for the region and a true “rising Sun”. The country is sharing the light of its expertise and the fruit of its industrial, service and agriculture successes with its friends and neighbors, in an act of humanity, generosity and commitment toward a better future.
This International Aura and recognition will certainly support the country to continue playing a major political and economic role within the region.
Such a noble endeavor relays also on key partnerships that are built around a joint vision, mutual respect, Trust, humbleness and a strong will to achieve a better future for all partners.
The long standing and Prosperous Relations between Morocco and Japan can serve as a model for South-South-North Partnerships and cooperation, where Africa and its Development is the key focus and Morocco the Hub of Investments and Locomotive of Economic and Social Development for the continent.
*President of the Commission of Immaterial Capital and Economy
Vice President of the Moroccan Exports and Foreign Trade Confederation
Senior Board Member of the Global Economic Research Institute