An alliance between Morocco and South Africa can drive the Africa Agenda to prosperity

Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Dr Naledi Pandor. Picture: Jacques Naude Independent Newspapers

Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Dr Naledi Pandor. Picture: Jacques Naude Independent Newspapers

Published Feb 27, 2024


Build One South Africa’s (Bosa) head of international relations, Stevens Mokgalapa, believes that both South Africa and Morocco can play a constructive and progressive role in shaping the Africa Agenda by collectively advancing the Africa Agenda 2063.

Mokgalapa said there was an urgent need for engagement between the two countries on their shared interests, including economic, cultural and sport-related diplomacy.

“Economic diplomacy could assist in enhancing trade between the two countries regarding the importance of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which opens doors for intra-African trade.

“Additionally, cultural diplomacy can facilitate people-to-people interaction and promote tourism between the two countries, which would unlock potential and foster a deeper understanding of the two nations.

“Sport diplomacy is also one of the diplomatic tools that could be used to promote people’s relations. For example, the Moroccan premier league and the South African premier league are two of the best professional football leagues in Africa, hence collaboration can improve the quality of football in Africa,” he added.

He said there were many ways both countries can work and communicate, citing public diplomacy as one of the tools both countries could utilise to communicate with each other’s foreign policy, which would offer a deeper understanding and clarity of their respective foreign policy positions.

Mokgalapa said Morocco’s leadership of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) marked a pivotal role as a stamp of approval for the country.

“Therefore, both countries could collaborate and champion Africa’s human rights issues by highlighting issues like migration, food security, conflict, displacements, and climate change.

“Bosa calls on the South African government to show leadership as a credible international actor and positively engage with Morocco to increase co-operation for economic and trade relations and prosperity.

“There is potential for both countries who are the most industrialised in Africa to work together for the good of AfCFTA. South Africa should support the round tables process led by the UN to reach a political solution regarding the Western Sahara issue in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions.

“We call for realistic and pragmatic solutions that will guarantee closer co-operation, security and stability in the Maghreb region,” he explained.

Mokgalapa’s proposal follows a heavy blow to relations between the two countries when South Africa championed the independence of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), while Rabat claims it as its province.

In salvaging both countries’ relation, Mokgalapa said the realm of international relations was a guiding principle which stood as a beacon for decision-making: nations that were bound not by unchanging alliances or enmities but by enduring interests.

“Foreign policy is not cast in stone! This principle dictates that a country’s strategic objectives should invariably steer its interactions with others, evaluating each nation based on its inherent merits.

“It is in this context that the South African government should be approaching its relationship with Morocco. Mutual trust and understanding between the two countries must be the foundation to restore and develop the bilateral relations in order to eventually contribute to building continental economic integration.

“They could also reap huge benefits from a stronger concertation on political regional issues, as both serve on the AU’s Peace and Security Council and could learn from exchanging notes on their respective rich experiences in this regard,” he concluded.

The Star