Morocco re-admitted to the African Union after 33 years

Morocco re-admitted to the African Union after 33 years

Addis Ababa, Jan 31 :Morocco has been finally re-admitted as the member of the African Union, almost 33 years after it left the bloc over the Western Sahara that the African country regards as its own territory.

The decision to have the country as the 55th member of the African Union is aimed at giving boost to the regional economy as Morocco is an emerging economic and political power in the continent.

The West African kingdom, which was the only country in Africa that was not a member of the continental bloc, was reintergrated during the 28th Summit of the African Union at Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa in a ceremony on Monday.

“An overwhelming majority of African countries supported Morocco’s return to the African Union (AU)… Thirty-nine countries voted in favor of Morocco’s return to the AU,” an official statement said.

Morocco in 1984 withdrew from the union because the bloc included Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic — a partially recognised state that lays claim over disputed Western Sahara — the northern African territory bordering Morocco is claimed by the kingdom.

India in August 2016 welcomed the kingdom’s initiative to re-join the African Union. India also seeks investments in the Moroccan market and to reach rest of Africa through the kingdom, a huge market tapped by China.

The Indian policy shift towards Morocco was initiated by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in early 2000s and was carried forward by the current government.

In 1985, the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi recognised Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, freezing India’s relation with the western African country.

Morocco is Africa’s third fastest growing reinsurance market and a seat for Rabat on the continental bloc could pave the way and clear the hurdles for its ambitious 4,000-km trans-African gas-pipeline project that starts from Nigeria to Europe.

The kingdom last year formally announced to join the African Union, that holds key to the economic opportunities across the continent. Its decision to rejoin created rift among the rival nations, including Algeria and South Africa.

–IANS

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