Arusha – HM King Mohammed VI sent a message to the annual meetings of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, which opened on Thursday under the theme: “Africa and the emerging global landscape: challenges and opportunities”.
Here follows the full text of the royal message, which was read out by Omar Kabbaj, adviser to HM the King.
Praise be to God May peace and blessings be upon the Prophet, His Kith and Kin
Distinguished Heads of State and Government,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to send this message to the Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank Group which, this year, are being held in the sister nation, the United Republic of Tanzania. I should like to express the Kingdom of Morocco’s gratitude to President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete as well as to the Tanzanian people and Government for hosting this major African event, which will address challenges and discuss opportunities for our Continent as well as the role Africa should play in a changing world.
I should like to congratulate the Governors, the Board of Directors and the President of the Bank on the quality of their work and on their efforts to ensure the success of these Meetings.
I commend their management of the Bank, which has made it possible for the AfDB, despite a rather unfavorable global economic environment, to consolidate its role as the Continent’s foremost development bank. As it continues to enhance its skills and competence, I am confident the Bank will build on its achievements, look to the future with greater optimism and exert more influence at continental and international levels.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This year’s Meetings are being held at a time when the international economic environment is still affected by the impact of the global crisis and the ensuing uncertainties and risks, with only vague prospects for growth and economic recovery.
Nevertheless, our economies are showing remarkable resilience, placing Africa in second position after Asia in terms of growth. Our continent, however, is not totally immune to the effects of the global crisis.
Whereas certain African economies have achieved very high levels of growth, many countries will not, unfortunately, meet the Millennium Development Goals. Worse still, their poverty rates are set to increase further.
And yet, our continent, which is rich in natural and human resources, is undergoing profound changes. Africa today is asserting itself and looking to the future with confidence, relying increasingly on vibrant sectors such as infrastructure, new technology, renewable energy and tourism.
Africa again stands at a crossroads. Despite being a continent with tremendous economic potential and significant prospects for growth, it needs fresh momentum in terms of development measures, greater mobilization of human and natural resources and, hopefully, stronger support from the international community. Now, more than ever, African countries are called upon to upgrade their human resources, pursue structural reforms and implement well-adapted economic and social policies that are conducive to investment, employment and inclusive growth.
As regards Morocco, it has, by and large, managed to weather the impact of the global crisis. My country has determinedly opted for integrated development and good economic governance, and taken the necessary steps in the institutional, economic, social, cultural and environmental sectors.
Building on the National Initiative for Human Development – which I launched in 2005 – on several major infrastructure projects and sector-specific strategies, on the reform of the education system as well as on the expansion of medical coverage schemes, Morocco has laid the groundwork for an inclusive, balanced system of development. It has thus achieved significant progress in boosting the economy and fighting poverty, precariousness and social exclusion.
The Kingdom’s institutional reforms, which have been stepped up with the adoption of a new Constitution, have confirmed the path we charted for ourselves, offering our country an advanced, full-fledged system of economic governance.
Thus, the principles of social market economy, property rights, free enterprise and free competition have been reasserted and confirmed. The same goes for the principles of balanced public finances and the independence of the Central Bank, of regulatory authorities and of the institutions in charge of good governance and participatory democracy.
The Kingdom has also enhanced its legislation in the area of transparency and the fight against corruption, and adopted an advanced charter of economic, social and environmental rights.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As a country that belongs to Africa, the Kingdom of Morocco has placed the continent at the heart of its regional and international policy. It is strongly committed to implementing cooperation and solidarity-based programs within its African environment, and more generally in the framework of south-south partnerships. It has always endeavored to make African unity and solidarity a tangible reality, taking concrete initiatives and steps to this effect, advocating human and sustainable development for Africa, and working for the emergence of a full-fledged African citizen.
Morocco takes pride in the fact that as soon as it recovered its independence, it stood by all genuine liberation movements. Today it spares no effort to share its experience and know-how with sister African countries in all development-related fields.
Morocco has developed this approach and applied it with many African countries, in the field of basic social services as well as in the traditional areas of training and technical cooperation. It is now seeking to extend its input to the sectors of productive investment, air and sea transport, as well as finance and banking services. Man is the focal point of our reforms and development strategies. He is at the heart of the partnerships the Kingdom of Morocco has built with other African nations, whether on the bilateral level, or as part of triangular cooperation schemes.
This type of relationship is, in our view, a true example of south–south cooperation. It is so valuable for our peoples that it deserves to be developed further. It should be built on to explore new possibilities and more promising forms of joint action devoted to the well-being of African populations. Therefore, there is a pressing need for Governments, institutional players, African civil society and the business community to bolster this type of cooperation, ensure its sustainability and make it better targeted and more efficient.
Closer intra-African cooperation and south-south partnership are not only a moral necessity, given the values we share, they are needed for the sake of efficiency. There is no other alternative but to strive to mobilize all African energies to achieve harmonious and sustainable development in Africa.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are delighted that the African Development Bank Group decided to seize the opportunity of these Annual Meetings to try to feed additional input into the process of shaping its new long-term strategy for 2013-2022.
The Kingdom of Morocco firmly believes that such a strategy will provide a reference framework which is very useful for the AfDB Group’s action as well as for financial and lending institutions on the continent. The AfDB is therefore faced with a double challenge: to enhance its excellence as the top development financing institution in Africa while working to identify relevant priority areas for development actions and for the mobilization of funding resources.
We have confidence in the AfDB’s future action. We believe the quality of its work and the trust placed in it by its shareholders are major assets which should be reinforced in order to support and enhance the efficiency and competitiveness of the projects designed for African member countries.
The AfDB should, in its future activities, back up projects aimed at reshaping the continent’s economies and upgrading its position in the world value chain. There are plenty of projects that boast such scope and decisive impact.
Moreover, further steps should be taken to carry on with the projects relating to infrastructure, transport, energy and communication, as well as the programs for basic facilities and social services, such as the fight against poverty and access to education, health and drinking water.
In this respect, the Bank will also be called upon to back up the development of African agriculture and support structural reforms as well as the strategies to enhance competitiveness and the capacity to attract foreign investment.
Furthermore, the AfDB should support growth sectors and new African growth centers which innovate, take full advantage of the opportunities offered by globalization and bolster the positive image of a continent on the move. The green economy, renewable energies, sustainable agriculture and financial sectors constitute new growth and employment pools to draw on for generations of African populations longing for better human development.
The AfDB, together with the entire African community, should tackle the challenge of good governance, as there can be no development, investment or growth without good governance. Africa is less dependent upon international aid. It should, therefore, count on its natural and human assets, and mobilize resources of its own, in a transparent, responsible manner that allows for accountability.
Similarly, it is in the Bank’s interest to preserve its global competitiveness. It is therefore necessary for it to mobilize financing schemes at reasonable, attractive costs for its clients, especially intermediate-income countries.
Convinced that the political and economic fragmentation of the continent is an ill-advised of course, Morocco has constantly strived for the achievement of regional economic integration in Africa. This is all the more pressing as there is a world-wide trend marked by the emergence of regional groupings and the development of large zones for trade and other activities. In this regard, the Kingdom of Morocco stands ready to support any initiative the AfDB might take to give substance and impetus to the process of regional economic integration.
We are convinced that the economic potential of our countries will grow in size and scope if intra-African relations gain more depth and substance in the fields of trade, communications and joint investment, mainly within genuine, dynamic sub-regional groupings.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
These are but a few aspects that seem to be essential for the future action of the AfDB and, more generally, for the development process in Africa.
I hope these Annual Meetings will be instrumental in enhancing the Bank’s action, highlighting the true priorities for the continent and indentifying the ways and means of addressing them.
We reiterate our thanks and appreciation to the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania, and to the President of the AfDB, its administration and management.