Brussels - Here follows the full text of the speech addressed on Thursday by HM King Mohammed VI to participants in the 4th Africa-EU summit, held here this April 02-03. The speech was read out by minister of foreign affairs and cooperation, Salaheddine Mezouar.
"Praise be to God
May peace and blessings be upon the Prophet, His Kith and Kin
Mr. Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council
Mr José Manuel Durão Barroso, President of the European Commission,
Distinguished Heads of State and Government,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to address this 4th Africa-EU Summit, which is being held on the initiative of the President of the European Council and of the President of the European Commission. I should like to express my warmest thanks to both of them for convening this important conference that brings together our two continents.
I hope the conclusions of this important meeting will promote the African-European partnership and enhance stability, security and prosperity in both our continents.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Our Summit is being held at a time when the world is facing sensitive and singular political circumstances. Such a situation requires us to engage in a deep reflection in order to chart the broad-lines of a better future for our respective populations, meet their legitimate aspirations and fulfill their ambitions.
The Summit also provides a precious opportunity to assess the progress made and to set a new course of action for African-European cooperation, in the light of new regional and global developments.
Such a re-focusing effort should seek, in particular, to achieve better use of our assets and of our forum, and to optimize the Summit’s operational mechanisms so that our peoples may embrace our framework of cooperation more effectively and enjoy its tangible benefits.
In this way, we should be able to lay the foundations of the African-European "Pact for the Future", which Morocco so fervently advocated during the 3rd Africa-EU Summit, which was held in Tripoli in 2010.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Africa is freeing itself from its past once and for all. It is resolutely looking to the future. By doing so, it is gaining in self-confidence without showing any inclination towards reclusiveness.
As I recently pointed out in Abidjan, Africa must become aware of its many assets and of its immense human and material resources.
Since my accession to the throne, I have wanted this to be the defining philosophy of the Kingdom’s Africa strategy.
It is a strategy which capitalizes on the virtues of South-South cooperation and on the need for balanced, sustainable human development.
The result is a comprehensive, integrated approach which significantly expands the scope of cooperation and serves the common interests shared by most African countries. This strategy is characterized by the exchange of experiences and expertise in institutional capacity building, governance and economic empowerment, and also by the consolidation of academic and vocational training programs and capacity building in the banking sector, through equity investment by Moroccan banks.
Finally, this strategy is marked by a significant increase in Moroccan public and private investment in Africa, which enhances the value of local production, revamps the economy and contributes to sustainable job creation.
As a result, more than half of Morocco’s foreign investment flows go to Africa, compared to barely 17% ten years ago.
Beyond the framework of bilateral ties, this proactive strategy seeks to ensure the joint implementation of flagship projects of regional - even continental -significance in such areas as access to electricity and drinking water and the promotion of trade, investment and food security.
Thus, in Libreville, on 7 March 2014, Morocco and Gabon signed a Strategic Agreement to sustainably increase food security – an agreement which is open to African and European partners as well.
The Kingdom of Morocco has been calling for regional integration in Africa, which my country perceives as an effective framework in which to come up with suitable answers to each one of the specific crises plaguing the continent, here and there. Regional integration can also be an appropriate mechanism we may build on to make the most of the complementarities, affinities and specific resources of each sub-region.
In this regard, Morocco has repeatedly called for the emergence of a new Maghreb order that would enable the five countries in the region to achieve their common objective and meet the legitimate aspirations of their peoples for democracy, freedom of movement and shared prosperity – a Maghreb region which can serve as a bridge between Africa and Europe, through increased cultural, human and economic exchange relations.
Moreover, and as a member of the CEN-SAD Community, Morocco has been playing a particularly active part in efforts to revitalize this important organization which is directly involved in the management of Sahel and Saharan issues. My country will have the privilege of hosting the next CEN-SAD Summit.
Concurrently, Morocco continues to strengthen its ties with several African regional organizations, such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC).
Morocco also hosts the headquarters of the Conference of African States Bordering the Atlantic Ocean, a Conference which is full of promise.
The frequent visits I pay to my brothers the African Heads of State target proximity services, mutual aid and the pooling of resources and energies to serve African citizens.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This proactive policy to promote inter-African cooperation as well as African sub-regional integration is not inconsistent - far from it - with the concomitant consolidation of Africa’s mutually beneficial relationship with its numerous partners, especially with the European Union and EU Member States.
In fact, the two processes enrich and harmoniously supplement one another.
Indeed, and given the magnitude of the challenges faced, we cannot but resolutely work together to promote mutually beneficial cooperation and meet the specific needs of each continent.
In this process, security and stability are of paramount importance. In this respect, our partnership is expected, today more than ever, to be actively involved in various sub-regional, regional and international actions and strategies in order to make a distinctive contribution and help pacify our common space, while fully respecting the sovereignty, the national unity and the territorial integrity of our respective countries.
This lofty goal cannot be achieved in full unless we resolutely combat the transnational threats to peace and security, wherever they may be in the continent. Terrorism, acts of maritime piracy, organized crime, networks involved in human trafficking and in drug and arms smuggling call for collaborative, inclusive and concerted responses.
It should be stressed, in particular, that migration-related challenges require collective, balanced and - above all - humane responses. For many African migrants, Morocco has become a destination country in recent years. Guided by a duty of solidarity and in keeping with a longstanding tradition of generous hospitality, Morocco has recently adopted a new migration policy which is unprecedented in the region and which makes it possible for migrants to enjoy their legitimate rights in full.
In the same way, Morocco has called for and has been working towards the establishment of an "African Alliance for Migration and Development" which safeguards humanitarian principles and stresses the duties of origin, transit and host countries.
Since the root causes of threats to security are often found in precariousness and ignorance, human resources must remain at the heart of our concerns and be the central element of our joint action. It is necessary for both our continents to support human development in Africa. Issues relating to education and training, health, access to basic services, women’s rights as well as youth and employment should guide our joint initiatives and provide the backbone of future action plans to be implemented. At the same time, it is essential to promote the ideals of openness and tolerance so as to provide a comprehensive and sustainable response to the threat of insecurity and terrorism hanging over large areas of our continent.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Africa has significant natural resources and, given the magnitude of its needs, the potential for sustainable development in the continent is enormous.
Today, African growth is partly driven by domestic consumption and no longer hinges exclusively on the export of natural resources. The business environment has markedly improved and returns on investment in Africa are among the highest in the world. Thus, despite its political difficulties, security issues and environmental challenges, Africa has become a new hub for global growth - possibly one of the world’s main engines of growth.
In this respect, it is gratifying to note that the 5th EU-Africa Business Forum is being held on the sidelines of this Summit, providing stakeholders from all backgrounds who are interested in consolidating and enriching our common space with yet another platform for action. Economic operators should adapt to changes in both continents, make the most of the fresh opportunities available and come up with alternative proposals to assistance-based relationships and simple, basic trade.
These alternative approaches should, instead, focus on the design and implementation of innovative, practical projects in priority areas, from a co-development and shared benefits perspective.
Morocco is aware of the obstacles and their magnitude. However, since action in this respect is bound to be useful and profitable to all, these obstacles can be overcome, provided the political will is there.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Throughout its history and thanks to its geographical location, Morocco has always been a bridge between neighboring Europe and Africa. From the very beginning, my country has advocated an innovative, equitable and mutually beneficial partnership between a united Europe and an emerging Africa.
Building as much on its multifaceted, priority actions in Africa as on its Advanced Status with the European Union, Morocco will continue to be constructively involved in advancing the partnership between our two continents. This will be achieved through a comprehensive, integrated and solidarity-based approach rooted in mutual esteem, with a view to promoting peace and security, boosting economic growth and sustainable human development as well as safeguarding the cultural and the spiritual identity of our respective populations.
I do not want to conclude without expressing the hope that our partnership will become more mature and provide a platform for effective transfer of know-how as well as for genuine pooling of expertise and serve as a perfect illustration of successful North-South cooperation. I also hope our partnership will match words with joint actions and give concrete substance to projects and opportunities for development, closer ties and greater exchange relations.