Morocco’s monarch, King Mohammed VI, on Tuesday said African countries would benefit from the Morocco-Nigeria joint Trans-Sahara pipeline project.
Mohammed, who stated in his address to the 28th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, also pledged to avail his country’s vast mineral resources to the benefit of the continent.
He announced that Rabat was set to sign bilateral agreements with Ethiopia and Nigeria for the building of a fertilizer plant to boost agriculture production in Morocco.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the monarch’s attendance at the summit followed Monday’s re-admission of Morocco into AU after months of intensive lobbying.
Morocco pulled out of the union in 1984 in protest against the then Organisation of African Union’s (OAU) recognition of Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), which it claimed was under its territory.
Mohammed announced that Rabat would immediately embark on signing bilateral agreements with members of the African Union (AU) to improve investments and trade.
He said his country would benefit Africa through investments and commercialization of its minerals and gas.
He disclosed that Morocco and Nigeria had developed a new regional gas pipeline connecting both countries, taking gas resources of Nigeria to Morocco, its neighbours and Europe.
The Trans-African Pipeline project will be supported through a new collaboration between Ithmar Capital, the Moroccan sovereign wealth fund, and the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).
“We will sign bilateral and multilateral agreements with African countries,” Mohammed said.
“It is time Africa’s wealth benefited Africans. Africa has potential, given its young leaders who are committed to democracy,” the king said, adding that Morocco, though not in AU, but never disconnected from its commission.
On the country’s return to AU, he said “this is a great day for people and government of Morocco as we come back to the Union after many years’’, adding that the country had a link that bound it to the rest of Africa.
“Africa is indispensable to Morocco and so Morocco is indispensable to Africa. We are here in great happiness. I miss you all,” the king said while receiving a standing ovation from the leaders.
He said that the country’s re-entry into the AU was with a new capacity to create strong bilateral cooperation with member countries in the field of energy and fertilizer development.
For 33 years since Morocco quit the AU in protest over its recognition of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), Morocco’s King has been sending written goodwill messages to African leaders.