Morocco And Rwanda: Building The Future

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By Said Temsamani

President Paul Kagame and Moroccan King Mohammed VI observe the national anthems of the two countries upon the visiting monarch's arrival at Village Urugwiro in Kacyiru.

Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame and Moroccan King Mohammed VI observe the national anthems of the two countries upon the visiting monarch’s arrival at Village Urugwiro in Kacyiru.

In a speech delivered at the opening of the Economic Forum in Abidjan last year, the king confirmed that credibility is without a doubt beneficial for the wealth of the African continent and primarily for African peoples. According to him, this requires South-South relations to be at the heart of African economic partnerships.

Although foreign trade with Africa does not exceed 2.5% for Morocco, 85% of the kingdom’s foreign investments are currently concentrated within the African continent, where Morocco comes second only after South Africa.

Morocco is to step up trade and investment relations with the three eastern African countries that the the King is currently visiting knowing that the potential between Morocco and EAC is not yet fully exploited. To foster the potential cooperation, Morocco will initiate negotiations and sign agreements that will enhance interaction between Moroccan and eastern African business organizations.

Morocco’s new strategy towards Africa is to enhance economic relations with African countries, aims at helping eliminate poverty in the continent and carry out a joint sustainable development policy together with African countries and to assess improvement of cooperation in economy and trade, and issues extending from energy to agriculture and from health to tourism. Morocco would continue in the highest level and a very strong basis would be established to boost relations.

Yesterday King Mohammed IV and the Rwandan President Paul Kagamé, presided over the signing ceremony of 19 agreements, including government and private sector agreements.

The agreements, which concern the different sectors as agriculture, housing, vocational training, finances, taxes and banking sector, new technologies, air transportation, tourism and renewable energy, seek to foster the legal framework governing bilateral cooperation. They are in line with the royal will to reinforce South-South partnership.

They are:

A general cooperation agreement, inked by foreign minister Salaheddine Mezouar and Rwandan peer Louise Mushikiwabo.

A memorandum of understanding to establish a mechanism for political consultations, inked by Salaheddine Mezouar and Louise Mushikiwabo.

An agreement on air services, signed by Salaheddine Mezouar and Louise Mushikiwabo.

An agreement on visa exemption for holders of diplomatic, service or special passports, signed by Salaheddine Mezouar and Louise Mushikiwabo.

An agreement on security cooperation, inked by interior minister Mohamed Hassad and Rwandan justice minister Johnston Busingye.

An agreement to avoid double taxation and tax evasion regarding income taxes, inked by economy minister Mohamed Boussaid and Rwandan minister of finances and economic planning Claver Gatete.

A partnership agreement between the Rwandan finances and economic planning ministry and Moroccan “Groupe Banque centrale populaire” on carrying out a micro-finance program. It was inked by chairman of the board of directors of Groupe Banque centrale populaire Mohamed Benchaaboun and Claver Gatete.

A general agreement between the Rwandan finances and economic planning ministry and the Groupe Banque centrale populaire (Africa Mutual Growth), inked by Mohamed Benchaaboun and Claver Gatete.

An agreement on the promotion and reciprocal protection of investment, inked by Mohamed Boussaid and CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and member of the Rwandan government Francis Gatare.

A partnership agreement between the Moroccan tourism office (ONMT) and the Rwandan Development Board, signed by ONMT director general Abderrafie Zouiten and Francis Gatare.

A memorandum of understanding between the Republic of Rwanda and the Moroccan company for pharmaceutical cooperation (Cooper Pharma) and Bank of Africa-Rwanda. It was inked on the Moroccan side by CEO of Cooper Pharma Jaouad Cheikh Lahlou and CEO of Bank of Africa Othman Benjelloun, and on the Rwandan side by Francis Gatare.

A memorandum of understanding on cooperation between Casablanca Finance City Authority (CFCA) and the RDB to reinforce and develop their shared interests, signed by director general of CFCA, Said Ibrahimi and Francis Gatare.

A memorandum of understanding on the establishment of the African Institute for Technology, inked by director general of the national company for transportation and logistics (SNTL) Mohamed Ben Ouda and Francis Gatare.

A memorandum of understanding to establish a partnership for the development and promotion of an economic zone in Rwanda, inked by Mohamed Ben Ouda and Francis Gatare.

An agreement on the establishment of a Moroccan-Rwandan Business Council between the Moroccan Employers’ Association CGEM and the Rwandan Private Sector Federation (PSF), signed by president of CGEM Miriem Bensalah-Chaqroun and PSF president Benjamin Gasamagera.

A memorandum of understanding between MASEN and Rwanda Energy Group Ldt for renewable energy development, signed by chairman of MASEN board Mustapha Bakkoury and director general of Rwanda Energy Group Ldt Jean Bosco Mugiraneza.

A memorandum of understanding to finance the project of building 5,000 economic houses in Kigali (Ndera commune), signed on the Moroccan side by CEO of “Palmeraie Développement” Hicham Berrada Sounni and Othman Benjelloun, and on the Rwandan side by director general of the Development Bank of Rwanda Alex Kanyankole.

An agreement between Attijariwafa Bank and shareholders of the “Compagnie Générale de Banque” (Cogebanque), inked by president of Attijariwafa Bank Mohamed El Kettani and representatives of Cogebanque shareholders Philbert Afrika and Égide Gatera.

A memorandum of understanding to promote and secure investment and foreign exchanges by Attijariwafa-Bank, inked by Mohamed El Kettani and Philbert Afrika.

Since his ascendency to the throne in 1999, King Mohammed has placed the African continent at the forefront of his country’s strategic, geopolitical and economic priorities.

Morocco’s efforts to give the South-South cooperation a face full of solidarity, has resulted in its continued commitment to noble causes of peace and development, as well as its constant position to express solidarity towards the concerns of developing countries, and their aspirations for progress and well-being.

The tone of the Royal Monarch’s visits in Africa always upbeats, focusing on opportunities and successes. Equally important objective of these trips aimed to build and sustain Morocco’s positive influence and partnership with African governments and publics. The King’s current visit will bring both immediate and long-term benefits to both Morocco and EAC. It will certainly strengthen existing bilateral relations and help to build beneficial partnerships.

Undoubtedly, the current visit of King Mohammed IV to East Africa is captivating both the international and national media’s attention. In fact the visit signals a renewed interest in East Africa on the part of Morocco. The deepening relationship between Morocco and East Africa will yield significant results.

The author is a Moroccan political observer and consultant, who follows events in his country and across North Africa. He is a member of Washington Press Club.

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