The Case for Morocco: For or Against joining Ecowas

King Mohammed the VI has since the inception of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015, pursued re-integration into the African Union, Economic Community of West African States, East African Development Council. In October of 2017, The King of Morocco signed 19 fresh agreements with Rwanda & Ethiopia in a $3.7bn deal that covers foreign relations, finance and private sector development, along with 7 bilateral conventions and agreements. However, key stakeholders like dissenting voices in new AU Chair Moussa Faki Mahamat of Chad, Amina Mohammed (The former Nigerian Minister who was appointed a few months ago as Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations) are raising issues about the possible candidature of Morocco in the ECOWAS as they are very much pro SADR (Sahwari Arab Democratic Republic)

The SADR people have fought for self determination and control of the Western Sahara (A territory Moroccan Government has controlled since Spain relinquished their authority over the region in 1975) but without any successes. These people have lived as refugees for more than 40 years along the borders of Tunisia and Algeria in a bitter tussle with Morocco that has drawn enemies on both sides of the battle line. The Outgoing AU Chair, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma of South Africa has applied steady pressure on the United Nations Security Council to start the peace process for the purpose of self determination through a referendum. Joachim Chissano, A former President of Mozambique who is the first special envoy to the Western Sahara has urged the Security Council to set a date for a referendum vote and compel the Moroccan exploitation of Fish, Oil & Phosphate reserves in the area.

The Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (MAN) during its 45th Annual General Meeting in September of 2017, urged the Federal Government of Nigeria to resist the acceptance of Morocco into the Ecowas,

“We are aware that Morocco and European Union (EU) have trade agreement, which means if they become part of ECOWAS, products that come into Morocco from EU will end up in Nigeria, after all Nigeria is the biggest market among all these countries in the ECOWAS. So we are vehemently opposed to Morocco being admitted into ECOWAS, it will really affect us badly. So we are telling our government not to allow them become part of ECOWAS because it will badly affect the productive sector of our economy.”

The case remains on what outweighs each other in the scheme of things on a long term basis and if these regional blocs can successfully understand the real motives for the turn around of interest in joining the Ecowas, exploit that interest for mutually beneficial multilateral trade agreements. The Ecowas early on in 2017 voted to allow Morocco join in on its meeting in December at Monrovia Liberia, however, the presence of Benjamin Netanyahu, who has in recent times moved to strengthen ties with Kenya, Tanzania, in a continent he calls, the future of trade and commerce, will deny the Moroccan delegation audience at that meeting as they do not have any existing diplomatic relationship with Israel.

Kelvin Emmanuel

About Kelvin Emmanuel

The Oil producing Angola in the Southern part of Africa faces what Nigeria faced 12months ago; a distortion in its exchange rate with a difference between the official markets and the parallel black markets. One dollar through the official window buys you 166 kwanza, while one dollar through the black market buys you 400 kwanza. Nigeria faced the same challenge 12months ago, when the distortion between the official and black markets was as much as the official markets trading at 306 with the parallel market ranging from 450 through to 510. The Central Bank Governor of Angola, Jose de Massano Junior announced in Luanda “We will stop having a fixed foreign exchange, we will adopt a floating regime of foreign exchange”. Angola faces exactly the same challenges and has been applying the exact same responses to an exchange rate crisis like using its foreign reserves that was sitting at $26bn to defend the currency kwanza, with no success so far, even though the external reserves has dropped to $14bn. Angola relies on Oil receipts for 80% of its government revenue, 90% of its inflow and 50% of its GDP. Angola is a $194bn economy that has been growing at an average of 10% on the back of rising oil prices since 2002 when its 27 year old civil war that started in 1975 ended. The state national oil company Sonangol reports that it produces up to 1.8m barrels of crude oil daily, however the government that until now has being led by the family dynasty Jose Eduardo dos Santos until recently when succession saw power transferred to Joao Lourenco, reports that the oil price rout in 2015/2016 that saw prices drop to as low as $28 per barrel caused ripples across the economic structures of the government, upsetting government revenues, its ability to fund its budget, capital project funding, foreign direct investments into the economy as a result of a currency crisis that was driven by the widening of gap between the official and street window of the kwanza, that until now has been pegged in a fixed exchange rate regime to the US Dollar.