G20 Compact with Africa Summit: Africa, a ‘Priority’ in Morocco's Foreign Policy

G20 Compact with Africa Summit: Africa, a ‘Priority’ in Morocco's Foreign Policy

Africa and its development are a "priority" in the foreign policy of the Kingdom of Morocco, said Tuesday in Berlin Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan expatriates, Nasser Bourita.

"To say that Africa is a priority for my country is not a ‘statement’ but rather a reality, and it is at the center of the Kingdom's foreign policy," Bourita said at the opening of the 3rd "G20 Compact with Africa" Summit in Berlin, held under the presidency of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The minister said, in this regard, that 2/3 of foreign direct investments (FDI) in Morocco go to Africa, which makes the Kingdom the second largest African investor in the continent and the largest one in the region of West Africa, adding that Moroccan exports rose from DH 2.2 billion to DH 21 billion.

The vision of HM King Mohammed VI regarding African policy is based on public-private partnerships, as much as it mobilizes intergovernmental cooperation, Bourita pointed out, noting that whether they are banking institutions, real estate groups or telephone operators, the Moroccan company is conceived as an African company whose method is the sharing of expertise, whose approach is transparency and whose purpose is promoting the co-development of the continent.

Morocco is betting on a "sustainable success" Compact, the minister noted, adding that the ambition of the Kingdom "is not the Compact, but Africa".

"The Compact is at the service of Africa. The opposite is not and should not be true. Africa is not the object of ambition, but ambition itself, and the reason for what we are doing there," he added.

Africa today does not need development assistance, as much as it needs to generate its own growth and, most importantly, translate it into development, Bourita said, adding that "development is none other than sustainable growth, which reduces structural inequalities, the very ones that generate instability and reinitiate the vicious cycle of decline".

This is also the meaning of the New Development Model, to which HM the King refers, "that of social prosperity, where growth, investment and development complement and improve each other but do not substitute for one another,” he explained.

While Africa has one-third of the world's natural resources and half of the world's arable land, it is able to grow further, Bourita said, noting that some countries, however, which are among the best endowed ones by nature, are paradoxically among the most shunned by development.

Thus, the Compact is called more than ever to contribute to this reconciliation, supporting the reforms in Africa certainly, but also backing a revision of approaches to the North, the minister stressed.

To remedy this situation, it is important to broaden the Compact with Africa by opening up more widely to African countries, to break down the stereotypes according to which the African market would be riskier than the others, and to strengthen the potential for inter-continental and intra-continental cooperation, he said.

"We are definitely in a new era of cooperation, an area that recognizes the flaws of North/South vertical action, which exceeds the limits of action + Government to Government + and tames the need for an innovative, pragmatic and uninhibited approach," Bourita pointed out.

The G20 Compact with Africa (CwA) was initiated under the German G20 Presidency to promote private investment in Africa, including in infrastructure. The CwA’s primary objective is to increase attractiveness of private investment through substantial improvements of the macro, business and financing frameworks.

It brings together reform-minded African countries, international organizations and bilateral partners from G20 and beyond to coordinate country-specific reform agendas, support respective policy measures and advertise investment opportunities to private investors. The initiative is demand-driven and open to all African countries. Since its launch in 2017, the CwA has sparked great interest. So far, twelve African countries have joined the initiative: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal, Togo and Tunisia.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Merkel said the Compact with Africa initiative, which aims to boost private investments in African countries that commit themselves to macroeconomic reforms, has already made progress. That, in turn, could spur investment, she added.

"We believe that more transparency could also bring more investors into these countries, because for the investors from Germany and the G20 countries, transparency and trust are very important," Merkel said.

At last year's Compact Conference, Merkel announced a fund of up to €1 billion which would be used to support both German and African companies.