Cameroon Tribune (Yaoundé)

24 February 2014

Cote d'Ivoire: Mohammed VI Pursues Continental Tour

King Mohammed VI on Sunday, February 23, 2014, arrived in Côte d'Ivoire on the second lap of a tour of Sub-Saharan Africa that began in Mali and will also take him to Guinea Conakry and Gabon. He was received by Prime Minister Kablan Duncan and Speaker of Parliament, Guillaume Soro. President Alassane Ouattara is receiving treatment in France.

The King yesterday, February 24, 2014, took part in the opening of a Moroccan-Côte d'Ivoire trade forum as part of his four-day friendly and working visit, Radio France Internationale, RFI, reported. While in Mali, the King signed 17 agreements in health, transport and finance. As the first African investor in Mali, Morocco is also helping with the training of the country's Presidential Guards, the construction of military barracks and low-cost housing estates for the army.

Similarly, Morocco has offered to serve as mediator between the Malian government and northern rebels. In appreciation, Malian authorities have named an avenue in the capital, Bamako, after King Mohammed VI and ended their recognition of the Polisario independence movement in Western Sahara. Since his accession to the throne in 1999, the Monarch has perpetuated the long-standing relations with Mali, Guinea Conakry, Côte d'Ivoire and Gabon.

In February 2006, King Mohammed VI visited Gambia, Congo Brazzaville, Gabon and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The tour was preceded in February 2005 by a trip to Gabon, Senegal, Burkina Faso and Mauritania; and in June 2004 to Benin, Gabon, Cameroon, Niger and Senegal. In September 2013, King Mohammed was in Mali for the inauguration of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

Morocco prioritises South-South cooperation, having recently cancelled the debts of very poor African countries. To reinforce its economic leverage on the continent, Morocco is executing several human and social development projects. Moroccan public and private companies have invested in Sub-Saharan Africa in sectors that could foster growth like banking, finance, telecommunications, agro-industry, food security and energy.

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