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King Mohammed VI flies to Juba to Strengthen Bilateral And Economic Ties between Morocco And South Sudan
By Said Temsamani
Morocco’s determination to expand its collaboration with African countries has been strengthened even more by King Mohammed VI previous visits to many African countries. Today’s Royal visit to South Sudan proves once again that strengthened economic and political ties will yield significant benefits for both countries.
King Mohammed VI two-day visit is the first since Morocco was readmitted to the African Union. The talks between King Mohammed VI and President Salva Kiir are expected to center on investment opportunities, especially in mining and agriculture.
Last month Morocco announced to establish a multi-specialty field hospital in Juba, the capital of the conflict-ridden east-central African nation, South Sudan.
Moroccan King Mohammed VI, who is currently on a state visit to the Republic of South Sudan, gave his instruction as part of a humanitarian mission for the people, an official statement said.
“This field hospital has a capacity of 30 beds that can be extended to 60. It comprises 20 specialist doctors, 18 nurses and will provide medical services in various specialties including pediatrics, internal medicine, surgery, cardiology, traumatology, dentistry, ophthalmology and ENT medicine,” said an official statement.”
According to a United Nations report, South Sudan is facing Africa’s largest displacement crisis as conflict between government and opposition forces entered fourth year in 2017. The report adds that South Sudan is one of the most logistically challenging countries in the world.
The Moroccan ministry statement added that the hospital will also have a medical laboratory and a pharmacy.
“This action is part of the pan-African humanitarian tradition of the Kingdom. It is also part of the active solidarity of Morocco with the brotherly people of the Republic of South Sudan,” a statement said.
According to UN refugee agency over 6.1 million South Sudanese need urgent humanitarian assistance as disease and escalation of violence among other reasons have triggered food insecurity.
Today King Mohammed VI and President of the Republic of South Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit, presided over the signing ceremony of nine bilateral agreements in different areas of cooperation between the two countries.
The Moroccan Press Agency MAP reported that the Moroccan Minister of Interior Mohamed Hassad, delivered a speech, in which he underlined that in accordance with the vision of King Mohammed VI concerning South-south cooperation and as part of the fraternal relations between Morocco and South Sudan “Morocco is committed to sharing its experience in terms of urbanization, and urban development, in order to support the building of a new capital city” of South Sudan.
“The achievement of this great project will require, firstly, the completion of technical and financial feasibility studies, which the Kingdom of Morocco has accepted to finance up to the amount of 5.1 million US dollars,” the minister said.
He added that the preliminary studies will focus on urbanization as well as on social, economic, and environmental aspects, noting that these studies will lead to a draft master plan and a technical and financial set up and an achievement calendar.
“Secondly, the Kingdom of Morocco will provide assistance to the Republic of South Sudan in the different phases of the project’s implementation, including the call for financial and technical partnerships, and the development of South Sudanese expertise and know-how,” Hassad noted.
He added that “as for governance, the Delegated Project Management will be given to the Company Al Omrane, on the Moroccan side, under the supervision of an Executive Committee, appointed by HM the King, the Committee will offer the required competencies for the success of the project.”
The signed agreements are meant to strengthen cooperation relations with countries of the continent and mirror the commitment of HM King Mohammed VI to consolidating South-South cooperation. They are:
-An agreement on the building of the new city of Ramciel, signed by Interior minister, Mohamed Hassad, Housing and Urban Policy minister, Nabil Benabdallah chairman of the management Board of Al Omrane Group, Badre Kanouni, and South Sudanese minister for the Presidency, Mayiik Ayii Deng.
-A general cooperation agreement, signed by Foreign minister, Salaheddine Mezouar, and minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of South Sudan, Deng Alor Kuol.
-An agreement on investment promotion and protection, signed by Economy and Finance minister, Mohamed Boussaid, and South Sudanese minister of Finance and Planning, Stephen Dhieu Dau.
-An agreement on avoidance of double taxation and the fight against tax evasion in respect of income tax, signed by Economy and Finance minister, Mohamed Boussaid, and South Sudanese minister of Finance and Planning, Stephen Dhieu Dau.
-A Memorandum of Understanding in the field of agriculture, signed by Agriculture and Fisheries minister, Aziz Akhannouch, and South Sudanese acting minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Kornelio Kon Ngu.
-A Memorandum of Understanding on industrial cooperation, signed by Industry, Trade, Investment and Digital Economy minister, Moulay Hafid El Alamy, and South Sudanese minister of Trade and Industry, Moses Hassan Ayet.
-A Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in mines, signed by director general of the National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines, Amina Benkhadra, and director general of South Sudan’s Mineral Development Directorate, Thongjang Awak Thongjang.
– A cooperation agreement in the field of vocational training, signed by director general of the Office of professional training and labor promotion, Larbi Bencheikh, director general of the Moroccan agency for international cooperation, Mohamed Methqal, and Juac Agok Anyar, an official at the ministry of General Education of South Sudan.
-A Memorandum of Understanding between the Moroccan employers’ association (CGEM) and South Sudan’s Business and Employers Federation (SSBEF), signed by CGEM chairwoman, Miriem Bensalah-Chaqroun, and SSBEF chairman, Ayii Duang Ayii.
The royal current visit to South Sudan reflects clearly King Mohammed VI’ vision for his country to continue to be present in Africa and reinforce south-south cooperation to contribute to the development of the continent. It is worth reminding that this vision for Africa is well illustrated in a statement he made during his visionary speech he delivered at the 28th summit of the African Union held in Addis Ababa on January 31th.
The King said : “It is time for Africa to benefit from Africa’s wealth. We must work to enable our land, after decades of looting, to enter an era of prosperity. Admittedly, colonialism is not the sole cause of Africa’s problems. However, its negative impact persists. For a long time, we have looked elsewhere to seek help in making a decision, a commitment. Is it not time for this tropism to be stopped? Is it not time to look towards our continent? To consider its cultural wealth, its human potential? Africa should be proud of its resources, its cultural heritage, its spiritual values, and the future should strongly support this natural pride.”