The Kingdom of Morocco’s decision to join the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) reflects the vision of King Mohammed VI to build a strong south-south partnership and bring efforts together that will resolve the challenges confronting the region, spokesman Mustapha El Khalfi, has said.
“So it is a project that is still going on and the vision behind it is to develop a strong platform for south-south partnership to enhance our capacities to deal with the economic and social challenges of the 21st Century,” said Khalfi.
He was addressing news directors of various press agencies across Africa at a media forum in the Moroccan capital, Rabat, following an official press briefing where he deliberated on a wide range of national issues.
As a general idea, although with details yet to be established, ECOWAS approved Morocco’s membership application mid last year, despite the country being in the north of the continent.
Morocco had applied to rejoin the African Union (AU) in January 2017. It left the continental group in 1984 after the AU recognized the independence of Western Sahara, a disputed territory Morocco is claiming.
It can be recalled that during the ECOWAS Summit held in Monrovia last year, sub-regional leaders said that the implications of Morocco’s membership still needed to be considered before the North African nation could join formally.
Meanwhile, on the question from the Liberia News Agency staff as to what policies the Moroccan government was employing to transform the lives of the extremely poor population, during the encounter in Rabat, Mr. Khalfi said the Kingdom has taken concrete steps to improve the sectors of education and health as well job creation for the youths.
“We focused on specific issues, for example, the decision related to scholarships, how we are going to help families bring their kids to school and develop a system of financial aid to students,” he said.
The government, Khalfi explained, has tripled the education budget from 700 million dirahms to 2.1 billion dirahms (US$571,708,620).
The government has approved one hundred thousand new scholarships and created new jobs in the health sector, thus increasing the allotment of the Ministry of Health to employ 4,000 doctors and nurses to beef up the human resources in the sector, said Khalfi.
He continued: “In education, for example, we have 15,000 teachers, so there are many measures that have an impact on the ground… concrete measures that we can evaluate and this is very important because the budget, sometimes when we present it, the people on the ground are wishing to see the impact, how the budget is going to change their lives.”
Additionally, Khalfi said his government provided 4,000 jobs in the space of five years, but with the new strategic measures being put in place they are now making available said number of jobs just in a year’s time.
According to World Bank figures, Morocco had a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of US$109.1 billion in 2017.