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African Brothers: Morocco’s Stance on the Republic of Mali

A woman voting at a polling station in Gao, north of Mali, during the run-off presidential elections elections between outgoing President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and opposition leader Soumaila Cissé. 12 August 2018. MINUSMA/Marco Dormino

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Unexpected Violent and drastic outbreaks that the Republic of Mali has seen for several decades, but the current unrest of the economic crisis and social constraints brought the state of affairs into a setting of confusion due to the lack of a political vision that would pull Bamako out of instability, which created a space for an internal coup d’état, which was officially realized a few days ago after a rebellion led it Military launched from the capital.

Yet, After the results of the legislative elections in Mali were announced, opposition voices manifested calling for the return of national elections in some regions and rejecting the decisions of the Constitutional Court, particularly the electoral district of the President of the Malian National Assembly. though, the Parliament, which proofed major violations, according to the opposition.

Although these events that followed by the international community have forged a comprehensive concern in the region, the military coup was met with global condemnations that called mainly for the return of military soldiers to their bases and rejecting regime change outside the legal framework. It is a position that the Kingdom of Morocco shares through its adherence to responsible dialogue and respect for the constitutional order, according to what was declared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Accordingly, the current assertion of Moroccan diplomacy indicates the intense efforts that Rabat has led over the past years to enhance the economic and social standard of life in Mali. For sure, it is necessary to point out the great virtue of two African -states Morocco and Mali -under the strategic friendship of which both states relations of comprehensive coordination and strategic partnership have known regionally and continentally. This is characterized by the highest degree of mutual trust by frequent royal visits, on one hand, the highest level of interaction and intimacy consensus on the second.

In light of the regional reality where the Kingdom of Moroccan upholds national stability in Mali reflects the kingdom’s stance since there have existed strong Islamic,  cultural, and historical traditions of friendship and solidarity in support of the African neighbors for peace, freedom and interstate security.

In this regard, Scholars and Experts on African studies as Mohamed Benhamou, a researcher in international relations, noted, “the Kingdom of Morocco has always – and still is – collaborated positively with African issues that would ensure the unity of the African sovereignty particularly Malian soil, given the state of instability for many years ago. He also added, that “what is going on in Mali is unconstitutional move and cannot be accepted, especially since the power took over by the military and resorting to illegal framework is not recognized by African Union states or even international organizations, notably within the African continent.”

Due to this, Morocco’s stance on the resignation of former Malian’s President Ibrahim Keita is rationally unexpected as a good confidant of Mali, Morocco appreciates the efforts of different parties in Mali to accurately undertake the current issue towards dialogue and compromise within the legitimate approach with a view to the long-term and component interests of the nation. The kingdom of Morocco regards the Malian people are suited for maintaining political peace stability and national security development. Behind this soft support is that Kingdom of Morocco denying to any superpowers’ intervention with the interstate affairs of Mali. For instance, Morocco points out that only the Malian people who will govern their political situation and other states will not be set aside to govern the future of Malian’s politics.

Though, the Kingdom of Morocco and the Republic of Mali have maintained friendly relations for a long time. Both states have stood the proving of time and ever-changing international landscape. In current years, the strategic cooperation in several domains between the two sides have frequently pushed on and brought substantial outcomes to each other. Rabat highly values its interrelations with West African Mali and stands ready to cooperate with all parties of the Republic of Mali to enhance Morocco-Mali friendship and across-the-board partnership. For example, In the Economic and market trading perspective, the total volume between the two states has reached 850.5 million dirhams in 2016, making Mali the 19th largest African supplier to the Kingdom of Morocco (39.3 million dirhams) and its 10th largest customer (811.2 million dirhams). Moreover, the Moroccans are aware that the stability and development of the Republic of Mali would serve the local people’s benefits and are the shared aspiration of the African and global communities.

As we all know, the kingdom of Morocco has indeed appreciated personal friendship with Ibrahim Keita. Even though it is reported that the Moroccan parties’ leaders and African Studies experts are a little bit displeased about Keita’s misleading of Mali’s economic policy which led to rampant corruption, the Kingdom of Morocco hopes the Republic of Mali to maintain stability and security without any anarchy. After all, Ibrahim Keita stays seen as making a significant contribution to Mali’s national Assembly and Party Rally for Mali (RPM). He is also an active advocate and promoter of the Pan-African movement.

Given this, the Kingdom of Morocco has surely kept his promise to Mali during this crisis and as well as to the African society. Despite its economics looks not solid as expected. Morocco’s policy through Africa is of a long-term strategic approach. Thus, Morocco has maintained on three aspects in terms of crisis management in West Africa mostly and in the Republic of Mali this time. First of all, Rabat calls to all parties of Mali that they should put aside the group’s interest to seek a peaceful and suitable settlement of the proper issue under the legal perspective and in light of Mali’s national stability and social order. Indeed, this is the consent among the social elites and the regular citizens as well throughout the state. Secondly, the Kingdom of Morocco has a large number of investments in the Republic of Mali which has the potentials to be one of the most promising economies and growing countries in Africa. By 2015, Morocco had invested nearly 100 MAD million, more or less than many other FDI sources, into the Republic of Mali. Recently, Moroccan enterprises and financial banking firms in Mali are the most dominant one among Arab or North African firms. Third, The Kingdom of Morocco has normally taken a favorable policy through Mali, and their partnership is mutual and profitable to both countries. Because of this, Morocco quests forwards to unifying the further strategic cooperation with the Republic of Mail in line with the principle of social equality, win-win situation, and shared outcomes no matter who takes power in Mali.

Yes, president Ibrahim Keita is displaced finally. But West Africa‘s growing showing to Morocco has led to big exports to the Kingdom and have enhanced promote economic growth on the continent. The doctrine of the new strategic cooperation has advanced secured Morocco-Mali relations and centralized Morocco’s responsibility to mutual economic incentive policy through the Republic of Mali. It is generally noted that just one week ago before Keita was advised to step-down, by the commander of the Forces Armées Maliennes.

In sum, African diplomacy is a component process based on dialogue, friendship, and compromise. Morocco and the Republic of Mali have shaped their strategic relations in a positive sense due to their long-term perspectives. Thus, their cooperation in West Africa would be more motivated and pragmatic. Yet, Let’s see how the leadership and legacy in Morocco react to their African brother’s needs in Mali taking a new chapter into the national reform and international openness transparency.

Dr. Jamal Ait Laadam, Specialist in North African and Western Sahara Issue, at Jilin University School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA).

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Africa

SADC Summit Ends With Promises of More Meetings

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The Southern African Development Community (SADC) held an Extraordinary Double Troika meeting on 8th April in Maputo to deliberate on measures on addressing terrorism and its related impact on the current development specifically in the Mozambique and generally in southern Africa. The Cabo Delgado crisis started in 2017 with insurgents taking control of parts of northern Mozambique.

One of the two troikas consists of the current, incoming and outgoing chairs of SADC (namely Mozambique, Malawi and Tanzania), while the second is formed by the current, incoming and outgoing chairs of the SADC organ for politics, defence and security cooperation (Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe).

South African president Cyril Ramaphosa and the ministers of international relations, defence and state security attended the meeting. It was also attended by Mozambique, Botswana, Malawi Zimbabwe and Tanzania.

The summit was called in the wake of the terrorist attack of 24 March against the town of Palma in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado, but the leaders did not pledge any immediate practical support for Mozambique.

SADC Troika heads however said the acts of terrorism perpetrated against innocent civilians in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique, could not be allowed to continue without a proportionate regional response and reported that 12 decapitated bodies have been found behind a hotel in the region.

Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi has called for cooperation in cross-border surveillance as essential to stem the flow of foreign fighters fomenting terrorism in Cabo Delgado, warning of the spread of violence throughout Southern Africa.

Among the measures that the SADC countries should implement to combat terrorism is strengthening border control between Southern African countries, he said, and further added that Southern African police and judicial systems must consistently work to combat trafficking and money laundering that funds terrorism.

Nyusi stressed that the organization should implement practical acts to combat this scourge of terrorism to prevent its expansion and destabilization of the region, and warned of the risk that the actions of armed groups with a jihadist connotation could hinder regional integration.

According official reports, SADC fends off United States / European Union anti-terror intervention in Cabo Delgado. It further said no to another Mali / Somalia / Libya / Syria disaster on the African continent, adding that the global Anti-Terror lobbies are frustrated.

Deeply concerned about the continued terrorist attacks in Cabo Delgado, especially for the lives and welfare of the residents who continue to suffer from the atrocious, brutal and indiscriminate assaults, the leaders decided at their meeting to deploy a technical mission to Mozambique. It’s not clear what action the region will take but the deployed technical mission will report back to heads of state by 29 April.

The final communiqué from the summit condemned the terrorist attacks “in the strongest terms” and declared that “such heinous attacks cannot be allowed to continue without a proportionate regional response” but it did not suggest what such a regional response might consist of.

The Summit expressed “SADC’s full solidarity with the government and people of Mozambique” and reaffirmed “SADC’s continued commitment to contribute towards the efforts to bring about lasting peace and security, as well as reconciliation and development in the Republic of Mozambique.”

The summit ordered “an immediate technical deployment” to Mozambique, and the convening of an Extraordinary Meeting of the Ministerial Committee of the Organ by 28 April 2021 that will report to the Extraordinary Organ Troika summit on 29 April 2021.

The extremely brief communiqué mentioned no other specific measures.

The violence unleashed more than three years ago in Cabo Delgado province took a new escalation about a fortnight ago when armed groups attacked the town of Palma, which is about six kilometres from the multi-million dollar natural gas, according to United Nations data.

The attacks caused dozens of deaths and forced thousands of Palma residents to flee, worsening a humanitarian crisis that has affected some 700,000 people in the province since the conflicts data. Several countries have offered Maputo military support on the ground to combat these insurgents, but so far there has been no openness, although reports and testimonies are pointing to security companies and mercenaries in the area.

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African agriculture is ready for a digital revolution

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Authors: Akinwumi Adesina and Patrick Verkooijen*

After a dark 2020, a new year has brought new hope. In Africa, where up to 40 million more people were driven into extreme poverty and the continent experienced its first recession in 25 years, a brighter future beckons as the economy is forecast to return to growth this year.

Africa now has an opportunity to reset its economic compass. To build back not just better, but greener. Particularly as the next crisis—climate change—is already upon us.

Africa’s food systems must be made more resilient to future shocks such as floods, droughts, and disease. Urgent and sustainable increases in food production are needed to reduce reliance on food imports and reduce poverty, and this is where digital services come into play.

With mobile phone ownership in Sub-Saharan Africa alone expected to reach half a billion this year, digital services offered via text messaging can reach even the most remote village. And at least one-fifth of these phones also have smart features, meaning they can connect to the internet.

We can already see how digital services drive prosperity locally and nationally. In Uganda, SMS services that promote market price awareness have lifted the price farmers receive for bananas by 36 percent, beans by 16.5 percent, maize by 17 percent, and coffee by 19 percent. In Ghana, services that cut out the middleman have lifted the price for maize by 10 percent and groundnuts by 7 percent.

But digital services don’t just raise farmgate prices, they are the gateway to farm loans, crop insurance, and greater economic security, which in turn enables farmers to increase their resilience to climate change—by experimenting with new, drought-resistant crops, for example, or innovative farming methods.

Text messages with weather reports help farmers make better decisions about when and what to plant, and when to harvest.

In Niger, a phone-based education program has improved crop diversity, with more farmers likely to grow the cash crop okra, while an advisory service in Ethiopia helped increase wheat production from one ton to three tons per hectare.

The data footprints phone users create can also be analyzed to help assess risk when it comes to offering loans, making credit cheaper and more accessible.

Phones and digital services also speed up the spread of information through social networks, helping farmers learn about new drought-resistant crops or services that can increase productivity. Free-to-use mobile phone-based app WeFarm, for example, has already helped more than 2.4 million farmers find certified suppliers of quality seeds at fair prices. They can also connect farmers to internet-based services.

Examples of digital innovation abound, sometimes across borders. In Ghana, Kenya, and Nigeria, equipment-sharing platform Hello Tractor is helping farmers rent machinery by the day or even hour, while in Ethiopia, AfriScout, run by the non-government organization Project Concern International with the World Food Programme and the Ministry for Agriculture, provides satellite images of water supplies and crops every 10 days so problems can be spotted quickly to aid remedial action.

Transforming food systems digitally has demonstrably excellent results: the African Development Bank, which has allocated over half of its climate financing to adaptation since 2019, has already helped 19 million farmers in 27 countries to lift yields by an average 60 percent through applying digital technology, for example.

This is why the Global Center on Adaptation and the African Development Bank have launched the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAAP) to mobilize $25 billion to scale up and accelerate innovative climate-change adaptation across Africa.

Once developed, the digital nature of these services often makes such projects easy to replicate elsewhere and scale, even across large rural areas with little existing infrastructure.

Further, adaptation projects are proven to be highly cost-effective, often delivering value many times the original investment and so helping African economies grow faster and create many more much-needed jobs.

This makes it imperative that the global resolve to rebuild economies in the wake of Covid-19 is harnessed in the most effective way. We must not simply replicate the mistakes of the past. We must build back stronger, with a more resilient and climate-smart focus.

Funding and promoting disruptive business models in which digital technologies are embedded to increase productivity without using more land or more water will create a triple win: increased production, a more resilient climate and more empowered farmers.

We have the means and the technical capability to put Africa well on the way to achieving food self-sufficiency and greater climate resilience. In doing so, we can help millions move out of food poverty. We must not squander this opportunity to create truly historic and lasting change.

AfDB

*Patrick Verkooijen is CEO of the Global Center on Adaptation.

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Towards the Second Russia-Africa Summit

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Following the instruction of Russian President on the preparation of the second Russia-Africa Summit in 2022, a working meeting between Adviser to the President of the Russian Federation and the Association of Economic Cooperation with African States (AECAS), the Secretariat of the Russia-Africa Partnership Forum and the Roscongress Foundation was held in Moscow.

Among the participants of the meeting were Adviser to the President of the Russian Federation Anton Kobyakov, Ambassador-at-Large of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Head of the Secretariat of the Russia-Africa Partnership Forum Oleg Ozerov, Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer of the Roscongress Foundation, Head of the Coordination Council for Russia-Africa Partnership Forum Alexander Stuglev and Head of AECAS Alexander Saltanov.

They discussed the prospects for further development of relationships with African countries in accordance with the decisions of the first Russia-Africa Summit that was held in Sochi in October 2019, as well as the key aspects of preparation for the next top-level Russian-African meeting in 2022, including the need to establish efficient information cooperation with African countries.

Adviser to the President was presented with the interim results of the work done by the Secretariat that was created in 2020 for coordination and preparation of events within the Russia-Africa format, as well as advances made by AECAS, the establishment of which is an important achievement on the way to efficient and fruitful preparation for subsequent events of the Russian-African track.

The day before Russian President Vladimir Putin informed the participants of the International Inter-Party Conference Russia-Africa: Reviving Traditions about the preparation for the second Russia-Africa Summit in a telegram and noted that the first Summit «gave a strong momentum to the development of friendly relationships between our country and countries of the African continent.»

Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov, who took part in the Inter-Party Conference, said that the Summit is already being prepared and filled with meaningful content, and roadmaps of Russian-African economic, scientific and humanitarian cooperation are to be drafted in the near future. Minister also noted that African issues are supposed to be included in the programme of the upcoming St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. These topics will be further discussed at the next meeting of foreign ministers of Russia and the African Union trio that is scheduled for 2021.

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