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ECOWAS 54th ordinary meeting, Morocco’s fate remains undecided

27.12.2018
Article from AFRIC Editorial
For some time now, African leaders have been advocating for total cooperation among African nations. In 2018 alone, regional integration and cooperation dominated the agendas of the many meetings organized by continental bloc African Union and other regional blocs including ECOWAS, ECCAS, and SADC among others. Thus to ensure total commitment and togetherness, AU chairman and Rwandan president Paul Kagame has continuously called on leaders and stakeholders to give priority to regional integration and cooperation. In the quest to better fit into the agenda, the North African nation of Morocco in 2017 disclosed its intention to be a permanent member of the Economic Community of West African states (ECOWAS). This was accepted in principle with hope to give an outright response during an ECOWAS meeting; however, Morocco’s fate remained undiscussed as the ECOWAS leaders culminated the 54th ordinary meeting of the authorities of heads of state of the ECOWAS in Abuja-Nigeria.

In 2017, the leadership of Morocco King Mohammed 6th surprised the African continent by announcing his interest to become a permanent member of the West African regional bloc, ECOWAS.  In a statement addressed to then ECOWAS chairperson and ex-president of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sir leaf, Rabat said it was ready to join the influential West African bloc as a full member.  The country noted that its intention to join ECOWAS was to solidify the already existing political, human, historical, religious and economic links with ECOWAS member countries”. Reacting to this, the West African leaders in 2016 agreed in principle to admit Morocco as a permanent member of the giant economic body in West Africa. Notwithstanding, ECOWAS promised to fully discuss the fate of Rabat in its subsequent gatherings. Morocco enjoys formal ties with ECOWAS but as an observer. Many pundits had doubts as to why a nation in North Africa would want to be part of the West African bloc. Thus, the implications of this move was very problematic and needed to be treated with caution.

To some, it was a milestone given the fact that the North African nation had isolated itself from other African countries years after the African Union backed the independence of Western Sahara. Rabat in the early times had created strong bonds with the West than Africa.

ECOWAS LAST MEETING OF THE YEAR FAILS TO DETERMINE MOROCCO’S STANCE

On December 22, 2018, ECOWAS leaders met in Nigeria’s capital city for its 54th ordinary session of the Authorities of heads of state and government of the Economic Community of West African states.(ECOWAS).The leaders brainstormed on important issues concerning the bloc but failed to address in full capacity, Morocco’s quest to be part of the Economic Bloc. Morocco was not on the agenda as leaders met in Abuja.

Never the less, the 54th ordinary session of the bloc ended well with leaders pledging to remain committed as a group. Upholding the objective of the bloc, which is cooperation among member states.  Host leader and Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari challenged ECOWAS leaders and reiterated the need for proper ties among them as the need to face challenges as one strong bloc. Buhari did not fall short of applauding the efforts made by ECOWAS leaders in the fight against terrorism; he also commended President Nana Akufo Addo of Ghana and Alpha Conde of Guinea Conakry for their unfailing efforts to resolve the Togo crisis among other things. As two ECOWAS member states move towards presidential elections in February 2019, Buhari cautioned and urged Senegal and Nigeria to ensure a smooth running of the pending landmark elections.

MOROCCO TURNS TO AFRICA

A wind of change blew through Morocco in the last few years. King Mohammed VI embarked on what can be dubbed friendship visits to some African countries in the quest to sign trade deals and to create mutual partnership with other countries on the continent. The move came some 34 years after Rabat withdrew itself form the continent though an African Nation. Worth noting is the fact that in 1984,  Rabat left Africa’s most influential bloc the African Union, after the bloc refused to give  green light to Morocco’s acquisition of the western Sahara or what can be called the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). However, in January 2017, Morocco again gained its full rights as a member of the AU, an achievement by the AU to bring all African countries together.

Morocco in recent times have witnessed significant growth and has positioned itself as one of the economic giants in Africa. According to a report, Morocco witnessed development in areas of telecoms, banking, and insurance, among others.

In all, the African continent will again be  whole when the dreams of former Libyan President and a true Pan Africanist Muammar Gaddafi become a reality,  when all the 54 African  nations will unite as one and be called ‘’the united states of Africa’’, then greater cooperation can take the lead.

Article from AFRIC Editorial

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