Ambassador Mohammed Methqal, Director General of Morocco International Cooperation Agency, has attributed the present cooperation between Nigeria and Morocco to strategic thinking by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Methqal disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sidelines of a two-day international symposium themed: ‘Youth Integration: A Priority for Sustainable Development in Africa,’ in Rabat, Morocco.
Methqal said the resurgence of Nigeria-Morocco strategic cooperation must be attributed to President Buhari, whose engagement with the Kingdom of Morocco had been very dynamic.
“The cooperation is largely due to the positive ways things are evolving in that country. Nigeria, being the most populated country on the continent, has a very important role to play.
“We have had strategic meetings between President Buhari and King Mohammed VI and things have started to be implemented.
“It is a new cooperative effort by the two nations in our joint desire to improving the lots of the African continent.
“It is our hope that this cooperation will expand and would be enlarged to integrate energy and also improve on initiatives for the private sector,” he said.
According to him, last year’s Nigeria-Morocco Business Forum for Women is a good indicator of the good relationship between the two countries.
“There is a lot of opportunities available to both countries.
“Lots of achievements have been made, for example, in the area of fertiliser and building of fertiliser plant in Nigeria. This is one of the most strategic projects today on the continent,” he said.
The ambassador added that Morocco’s partnership with Nigeria was strategic, and that the two countries were moving together steadily in joint developmental programmes, beneficial to both and the African continent at large.
He disclosed that at present, the Moroccan airline, Air Maroc, is connected to more than 30 capitals in Africa.
He added that in the coming months, there would be direct flights from Casablanca, Morocco, to Abuja, in addition to Lagos.
NAN reports that these projects are in addition to the gas pipeline project, which was launched by both President Buhari and King Mohammed VI in December 2016.
According to Methqal, this is a very important project to connect Africa, and to provide globally competitive energy.
“This gas pipeline, connecting 13 countries, will be good opportunity to develop industrial basis of those countries connected to the project.
“This will, of course, cut cost of production and improve efficiency,” he said.
Methqal said Morocco’s relationship with Nigeria and other sub-Saharan African countries was that of long fruitful history.
“Don’t forget that Morocco was also a very active player in the liberation struggle, under late King Hassan II.
“The present King Mohammed VI has placed Africa topmost of Morocco’s diplomatic agenda since 1999.
“We have seen the monarch’s effort in various fields of development in Africa. His take is that Africa must be developed by Africans.
“That is why Morocco believes that what the country has been able to achieve, modestly, can be shared with other African countries, in order to contribute to development of the continent,” he said.