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Salaheddine Mezouar

ZAMBIA - Diplomacy

North to South

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Morocco

Bio

Salaheddine Mezouar is currently serving as the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation for Morocco. He has been a Minister of Economy and Finance since October 15, 2007. In 2004, he was appointed Minister of Industry, Trade, and Economic Development, while from 1986 to 1991 he served as the Division Head and Policy Officer for the Moroccan Ports and Harbors Authority (ODEP). Prior to this, he served as managing director of a private sector textiles company and as chairman of the Supervisory Board of Maroc Telecom S.A. (now known Itissalat Al-Maghrib (IAM) S.A.) since December 2007. He holds an executive management diploma from INSEAD, Fontainebleau (France), a higher diploma in business administration from Casablanca’s Institut Supérieur de Commerce et d’Administration des Entreprises (ISCAE), a postgraduate diploma (DEA) from Grenoble University of Social Sciences in France, and a master’s degree in economic science and development economics from the same institution.

“Regarding the issue of minerals, the African continent, and in particular Zambia, boasts significant resources.“

What is the significance of Morocco rejoining the African Union?

Returning to the African Union after more than 30 years away is like a return to our institutional family. Morocco has always been involved in Africa. After South Africa, Morocco is the second-largest African investor on the continent. In 2020, we have ambitions to become the first not only in terms of economic development, but also in terms of human development and culture. Morocco also fully supports the process of spreading peace across the continent. Many parts of Africa face challenges of fighting extremism and to do so it is crucial to boost cooperation among nations. His Majesty Mohammed VI has a vision for Africa. Africa is a continent with great potential, a continent of the future, but one grappling with many obstacles. Thus, the continent has two alternatives: become a problematic continent for the rest of the world in terms of democracy and political stability, or become a driving force—as one of the landmasses with a rapidly growing population—behind ensuring global peace and security. We must invest in this in order to make sure that African countries have their own means and can, with their own efforts, work together to protect the continent’s future. Morocco entered the African Union with this vision in mind. We want to share with our neighbors all that we have acquired in terms of experience, know-how, and capacity, to add value to the continent. There is a new generation of Africans, with potential, ideas, and innovation. The problem is organization, cooperation, and learning to work together. The visit to Zambia is part of Morocco’s commitment to strengthen our ties with all African countries. We are applying a new type of cooperation, with an emphasis on development, capacity building, and human investment. This visit marks a new chapter for us in our bilateral dealings with other African nations.

During the state visit to Zambia in question, 19 agreements were signed between the two countries. What were these agreements regarding?

There were six or seven agreements consolidating the legal relationship between the two countries, as well as agreements from private-to-private sectors and public-to-private. These were in a number of fields. For example, we know that the potential for agricultural development in Africa is tremendous. Morocco has a rich and successful history in agricultural development, and our neighbors acknowledge this and ask us to bring this experience to the table. We want to help structure the development of agriculture, contribute to the know-how, investment, and investment planning in agro-business. Regarding the issue of minerals, the African continent, and in particular Zambia, boasts significant resources. When we consider that currently 70% of the Zambian economy depends on the export of these, it is obvious that structuring the industry effectively can be key to creating wealth and employment. However, at the moment, there is extraction and export but no transformation, and if there is no transformation, no value-addition to raw products, then there is a minimum cap on the amount of wealth and in-country employment that can be created. This was the motivation behind the signing of the a memorandum of understanding between the Zambian Ministry of Mines and Morocco’s office for hydrocarbons and mining (ONHYM). In the logistics area, we know that today competition is global and being a global playing field, there are demands that a country’s logistics are of premium standard. We want to assist Zambia in realizing its potential as a logistics hub in the southern African region, contributing to capacity development in industry and transport. Training is also fundamental for Zambia’s growing youth population to be effective in their jobs, and, therefore, we signed agreements to boost education. We also contribute to Zambia’s drive to improve its tourism sector. Morocco has had great success in building itself as a tourist hub, tripling the number of tourists who flock to our shores from 4 million to 12 million in 10 years. Finally, agreements have been laid out between the two countries to continue working together to identify fields of possible development and investment. We will organize an economic forum, one in Zambia and one in Morocco, to cement this relationship and ensure we continuously seek out new opportunities for this fruitful relationship to flourish.

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