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.