Bourita: Morocco Ready to Contribute to ‘Substantial’ Partnership with Korea, as Part of African Agenda

"Morocco is willing, able and ready to contribute to a substantial and pragmatic partnership with Korea, in line with Africa's ambitious Agenda, while adapting it to meet the specific needs and challenges of African countries," Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates, Nasser Bourita, said on Sunday in Seoul.

Speaking at the ministerial meeting organized as part of the 1st Korea-Africa Summit, Bourita said that Morocco, which has made South-South cooperation and solidarity a strategic pillar of its foreign policy, had launched several initiatives in key priority areas for the continent, including climate change, food security, health and connectivity infrastructures.

In this regard, he mentioned the Royal Initiative to facilitate access of Sahel countries to the Atlantic Ocean, which aims to make the Kingdom's roads, ports and rail networks available to landlocked Sahelian states; and the "African Atlantic States Initiative", which aims to structure a geostrategic space and unite its countries around common objectives and actions as well as the Morocco-Nigeria Atlantic gas pipeline project, which represents a real lever for regional integration.

Regarding food security, Morocco is contributing to ensuring access to stable, regular harvests in Africa, through the development of numerous fertilizer production units, added Bourita, noting that in terms of technical cooperation, the Kingdom has awarded over 12,000 scholarships to African students and technical staff, enabling them to pursue studies in Moroccan universities and specialized institutions. 

In addition, the Minister affirmed that African countries are "open and eager to establish a mutually beneficial partnership with the Republic of Korea,” a partnership that develops the economy, but is also people-centered, notably through the strengthening of public health and education, as well as the training of high-quality human resources.

It is "a partnership that promotes trade and investment and fosters infrastructure, while investing in emerging areas such as innovation, technology, digital transformation, as well as green and blue economies," he added.

In this context, and in order to maximize the benefits of Korea-Africa partnership, triangular cooperation should receive a special attention, with greater involvement of the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOIKA), noted Bourita, adding that this is another useful channel where all partners contribute their knowledge and expertise, encouraging innovation and leading to mutual benefits.

"Much remains to be done to unlock the full potential of the Africa-Korea partnership," he said, stressing that although Korea's development aid has increased, Korea's foreign direct investment in Africa represents 1.5% of the country's total international investment.

In addition, Korea's trade with Africa remains relatively low in absolute terms, even though it has increased by more than 150% since 2015, a trend that needs to be harnessed if it is to be sustainable, he said, recalling that by 2030, Africa is expected to account for more than $6.7 billion in combined consumer and business spending.

Considering that African economic output is expected to reach $29 billion by 2050, the African and Korean private sectors should seize the significant opportunities that exist to develop or expand their activities in Africa, he added.

The Minister also welcomed the organization of the first Korea-Africa Summit, calling it "a historic moment and an important step towards closer coordination with a friendly country, the Republic of Korea, which has proved to be a credible partner for African countries, shown a sincere interest in collaborating respectfully with Africans, and demonstrated its ability to contribute to establishing an innovative process of co-development in Africa, to which the Kingdom of Morocco and His Majesty King Mohammed VI give great importance.”

The Minister also noted that the first summit theme intitled "The Future We Make Together, Shared Growth, Sustainability and Solidarity," reflects a set of strong, shared aspirations, aimed particularly at achieving sustainable development, considering human needs and nature limits, establishing inclusive growth that leaves no one behind, and promoting pragmatic cooperation based not only on solidarity, but also on shared responsibility and mutual benefits.

Despite enormous challenges, such as Covid pandemic effects, economic constraints, climate change and geopolitical tensions, Africa continues to thrive as an engine of global growth, thanks to its youth, said Bourita, adding that Africa is in continuous change and can benefit from innovative partnerships in the benefit of shared prosperity.

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