Morocco has been regularly calling for inter-African coordination and cooperation mechanisms to be enhanced in various fields with a view to achieving regional economic integration, stressed King Mohammed VI.
“In keeping with its commitment to regional integration in Africa, Morocco has been consistently working with its African partners to implement transformative projects that can considerably improve the quality of life of millions of Africans,” said the Sovereign in a message addressed on Wednesday to participants at the Fourth Africa Investment Forum being held in Marrakech from November 08 to 10, under the theme “Unlocking Africa’s Value Chains”.
The Morocco-Nigeria Gas Pipeline project is part of that endeavor that reflects “my resolve to lay the groundwork for genuine regional cooperation,” added HM the King in the message, which was read out by Omar Kabbaj, Advisor to His Majesty the King.
Welcoming the interest expressed by bilateral and multilateral partners in this project, and in particular regional and international financial institutions, to provide effective support for the implementation of this strategic project, the Sovereign said that the project will enable all countries along the pipeline route to have access to reliable energy supplies and to be more resilient to exogenous energy price shocks.
In addition, HM the king noted that over the past two decades, Morocco “has made infrastructure development a priority in all economic sectors. As a result, my country has become a model in infrastructure investment”.
The Sovereign cited several examples to illustrate the Kingdom’s proactive policy of developing large-scale infrastructure projects to support the various sectoral strategies launched by Morocco.
“As regards energy infrastructure, for instance, the Kingdom now has 4.1 GW of installed renewable capacity. It is continuing to roll out its strategy plan to increase the share of renewable energy to over 52% of its national electricity mix by 2030,” recalled the Sovereign.
HM the king also noted that the motorway network is now 2,000 km long, connecting all cities with more than 400,000 inhabitants. “This network is expected to span 3,000 km by 2030,” said the Sovereign.
Furthermore, the high-speed rail line has made Morocco the first country in Africa to launch a train traveling 320km per hour, added HM the king, stressing that with the Tanger Med port complex, the Kingdom has positioned itself, for several years now, among the world’s top 20 hubs in logistics connectivity, forming the first industrial free zone in Africa.
Together with Morocco’s major advances in infrastructure development, a series of structural reforms have been implemented over the past two decades, which are meant to reduce the risks of fiscal and external vulnerability, in addition to putting the Moroccan economy on a sustainable path to strong, inclusive growth, underlined the Sovereign.
This investment dynamic, His Majesty the king noted, should be further consolidated by the new Investment Charter, which channels investment towards the country’s strategic priorities and offers, at the same time, an attractive incentive framework.
“Our ultimate goal is to make sure private investment accounts for two-thirds of total investment in the country by 2035,” wrote the Sovereign in the message, highlighting the crucial role the private sector is expected to play in order to make a decisive contribution to the economic recovery dynamic in the Kingdom.
The development of integrated infrastructure networks is a prerequisite for the creation of regional value chains, stressed King Mohammed VI, emphasizing that the continent’s infrastructure deficit is one of the main factors preventing Africa from realizing its economic growth potential in full and achieving its development goals.
“The disparity in infrastructure between African countries and other parts of the world is particularly striking when we compare infrastructure development indicators,” said the Sovereign in his message.
“The infrastructure gap between Africa and other parts of the world we hear so much about is a matter of concern to us all,” added HM the King in the message, which was read out by Omar Kabbaj, Advisor to His Majesty the King, adding that the gap must be quickly filled in order to promote regional value chains that can accelerate the productive transformation of African countries.
Of note, in this regard, is the energy sector, which is one of the most telling examples of areas where Africa is lagging behind in terms of infrastructure development, said the Sovereign, noting that although the continent’s energy potential – in both fossil fuels and renewable energy – is considerable, the electrification rate remains very low compared to other regions of the developing world.
It is essential, stressed His Majesty the king, to recognize the magnitude of this problem and to commit to resolving it in a decisive way. Indeed, quality infrastructure not only contributes to economic growth, but it also enhances human development as it increases access to health and education services and boosts the productivity of SMEs.
In addition, the Sovereign pointed out that the current international context, coupled with the actual and potential impacts it has on the African continent, “mean that we need to strive doubly hard to increase our national productive capacities and build stronger, more resilient continental value chains”.
HM the king added that as the experience of some countries has shown, notably in East Asia, the development of integrated regional value chains makes it possible to boost productive investment in these regions and increase corporate competitiveness, thanks to better resource allocation.
“Feedback from promoting regional value chains as a means for the achievement of economic and social development shows that the creation of a regional production-sharing system has a catalytic effect on the growth and rapid transformation of developing economies,” said the Sovereign, underlining that African countries are called upon to adopt an integrated approach to development in Africa in order to allow for the gradual creation of a common production system based on shared platforms.
In this regard, HM the king commended the work done by pan-African institutions concerning the setting up of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which is fully in line with the Sovereign’s vision for an integrated and prosperous Africa.
“As this African dream comes true, it will help us pave the way for the creation of regional value chains. The latter are needed to increase the continent’s resilience to exogenous shocks and unlock its potential for production and for prosperity,” wrote HM the king in the message.
Recalling the many challenges facing African countries, which considerably reduce their ability to strike a balance between economic and social development requirements and the imperative to preserve internal and external budgetary balances, the Sovereign indicated that given the unprecedented situation and the scale of development financing needs in Africa, the role of the private sector has been gaining greater importance in achieving African countries’ development objectives.
“State budgets alone cannot cover all the investment needed, especially in high-potential, job-intensive sectors,” noted His Majesty the king, stressing that considering the great many investment opportunities it offers private operators, Africa needs, now more than ever, bold, innovative initiatives to encourage private entrepreneurship and unleash the full potential of our continent.
“That is why initiatives such as the African Investment Forum, which is sponsored by the African Development Bank, are commendable because they help direct private investment towards the most promising economic sectors, thus reinforcing the integration of African economies into global value chains,” according to His Majesty the king.