A recent study published by the Arab Democratic Center’s “Asian Issues” journal, highlighted the growing significance of healthcare in international relations, driven by the global dynamics of state sovereignty and health security.
According to the study, healthcare has become a focal point for geopolitical rivalries, particularly between China and the United States, with the Belt and Road Initiative playing a crucial role. China has skillfully used the COVID-19 pandemic to bolster its public healthcare sector in developing nations, and Morocco has emerged as a significant partner in this endeavor.
The study notes that the US’s efforts to challenge China’s global technological dominance had limited impact on the healthcare sector during the COVID-19 crisis. In contrast, China seized the opportunity and established multiple partnerships with emerging and developing countries, including Morocco.
Morocco’s strategic approach involved diversifying its partnerships, allowing it to navigate the competition between China and the US during the pandemic adeptly. The country succeeded in embracing the vast Asian market, even as international solidarity faced challenges during the critical period when many Western countries struggled with high fatality rates and oxygen shortages.
The study emphasizes that Morocco’s policy included focusing on southern partnerships and promoting local vaccine production by attracting Chinese companies specializing in the field, aiming to target the African markets. Despite some setbacks, Morocco aims to develop a domestic pharmaceutical industry, leveraging Chinese expertise to meet the healthcare needs of the African continent.
However, despite seeking to diversify international partners for a pharmaceutical industry, Morocco remains reliant on European countries, primarily Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and Germany, for its medicine supply.
The study highlights that the COVID-19 crisis provided Morocco with an important opportunity to engage in a candid discussion about the future of health sovereignty. The study raises questions about the potential benefits of leveraging the healthcare competition between the US and China to capitalize on significant Chinese investments in medical infrastructure.
This consideration comes in the context of Morocco’s participation in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which could position Moroccot favorably among global powers in the healthcare sector, ultimately serving the nation’s evolving health sovereignty needs.