HM King Mohammed VI Addresses Message to Participants in 4th Edition of Africa Investment Forum

His Majesty King Mohammed VI addressed on November 8 a message to the participants in the 4th edition of the Africa Investment Forum (AIF), underway in Marrakech until November 10 under the theme “Unlocking Africa’s Value Chains”.

Here follows a translation of His Majesty’s message, delivered by His Majesty’s Advisor, Omar Kabbaj.

“Praise be to Allah, may peace and blessings be upon the Prophet, his Kith, and Kin,

Your Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are pleased to send you this message on the occasion of the opening of the 4th edition of the Africa Investment Forum, held for the first time in Morocco.

By granting Our High Patronage to this continental event, We wish to show Our support for this forum for exchange and dialogue, which aims to share African expertise and know-how to strengthen the investment dynamic in our continent.

We welcome you on this occasion to the Kingdom of Morocco, to the ochre city of Marrakech, a city of rich historical and cultural heritage that symbolizes the values of communion and solidarity that We have always upheld through Our vision of active, mutually supportive African cooperation in all fields.

Your Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This 4th edition of the Africa Investment Forum coincides with challenging economic times for Africa, exacerbated by geopolitical tensions, exacerbated by geopolitical tensions that extend beyond our borders.

Added to this are the challenges posed by climate change, which paradoxically negatively impacts the continent’s development, although it accounts for only 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Also, recourse to debt as the main source of financing for national policies aimed at addressing the effects of exogenous shocks, combined with rising interest rates and a persistent inflationary spiral, are weakening African countries’ scope for maneuver and considerably reducing the ability to balance the needs of economic and social development with the requirements of fiscal and external balances.

Given this unprecedented situation and the scale of development financing needs in Africa, the role of the private sector is becoming increasingly important in achieving the development objectives of African countries.

Indeed, government action cannot singlehandedly provide all the necessary investment, including in high-potential, job-intensive sectors.

Africa, with its wealth of investment opportunities for private operators, is more than ever in need of bold, innovative initiatives to encourage private initiative and unleash the continent’s untapped potential.

Initiatives such as the African Investment Forum, supported by the African Development Bank, provide a platform for channeling private investment into the most promising economic sectors, thereby strengthening the integration of African economies into global value chains. 

Your Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The current international context, with its real and potential impacts on our continent, calls on all of us to redouble our efforts to strengthen our national productive capacities in order to build stronger, more resilient continental value chains.

In this regard, We commend the organizers for their choice of theme for this 4th edition of the Forum, “Unlocking Africa’s Value Chain”.

As the experience of some countries, notably in East Asia, has shown, the development of integrated regional value chains allows the strengthening of productive investment in these regions and enables companies to become more competitive thanks to a better allocation of resources.

Feedback on the promotion of regional value chains as a means of achieving economic and social development proves that the establishment of a regional production-sharing system is a catalyst for the rapid growth and transformation of developing economies.

Our African countries are therefore called upon to adopt an integrated approach to development in our continental space, enabling the gradual establishment of a common production system based on platform sharing.

In this regard, We congratulate Our Pan-African organizations on their work to implement the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which fits in perfectly with Our vision for an integrated and prosperous Africa.

Your Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

There’s no doubt that the establishment of integrated infrastructure networks is a prerequisite for boosting the development of regional value chains.

Yet it is clear that the continent’s infrastructure deficit is one of the main factors preventing Africa from unlocking its full potential for economic growth and achieving its development goals.

The infrastructure gap in African countries is particularly evident when infrastructure development indicators in Africa are compared with those in other regions of the world.

The energy sector, especially, is one the most striking examples of Africa’s lagging infrastructure development. 

Despite the continent’s promising energy potential, both in terms of fossil fuels and renewable energies, access to electricity remains low compared to other regions of the developing world. 

It is essential to recognize the magnitude of this challenge and commit to a decisive solution, as quality infrastructure leads to both economic growth and human development, by promoting access to health and education services and boosting the productivity of small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs). 

Your Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In keeping with its commitment to regional integration in Africa, Morocco has always worked with its African partners to launch transformative projects designed to significantly improve the quality of life of millions of Africans.

Morocco has never ceased to call for the strengthening of coordination and cooperation between African countries in different fields, in order to achieve regional economic integration.

Within this framework, the Morocco-Nigeria Gas Pipeline project is an emblematic example of Our commitment to establishing the basis for genuine regional cooperation. It will enable all the countries along the pipeline route to benefit from a reliable energy supply and greater resilience against external shocks to energy prices.

We welcome the interest shown by bilateral and multilateral partners in this project, particularly by regional and international financial institutions, to support the implementation of this strategic project.

Your Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Over the past two decades, Morocco has prioritized infrastructure development in all sectors of its economy as part of its development strategy. As a result, Morocco has become a model for other countries in terms of infrastructure investment.

In terms of energy infrastructure, the Kingdom now has 4.1 GW of installed renewable power capacity and is pursuing its strategy to increase the share of renewable energies to over 52% of the national electricity mix by 2030. The freeway network has now reached 2,000 km, connecting all cities with over 400,000 inhabitants.

By 2030, the network should reach 3,000 km. The high-speed rail line has enabled Morocco to become the first country in Africa to launch a 320 km/h train. The Tanger Med port complex has enabled the Kingdom to join the world’s top 20 in logistics connectivity for several years, forming the first industrial free zone in Africa.

Morocco’s proactive policy of developing large-scale infrastructure projects to support the various sectoral strategies launched by the Kingdom can be illustrated by numerous examples.

Morocco’s major achievements in infrastructure development are in line with the series of structural reforms implemented over the last two decades, which aim to reduce the risks of fiscal and external vulnerability and place the Moroccan economy firmly on the path to strong, inclusive growth.

This investment dynamic should be further strengthened by the new Investment Charter, which channels investment towards the country’s strategic priorities and offers an attractive incentive framework. 

Our ultimate goal is to make sure private investment accounts for two-thirds of total investment in the country by 2035.

We therefore strongly emphasize the vital role that the private sector must play to contribute effectively to the Kingdom’s dynamic economic recovery. 

Your Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Africa’s highly publicized lag in infrastructure development is a matter of concern to all of us and should be quickly addressed in order to promote regional value chains able to speed up the productive transformation of African countries.

By bringing together investors, particularly from the private sector, and project leaders, who can count on the technical support of development partners, the Africa Investment Forum constitutes an African response to the issue of investment financing.

We are convinced that this year’s edition of the Forum will be more rewarding than ever, and will convey a strong message to investors about the commitment of African countries to the development of transformative investments in support of the aspirations of our continent, our people, and our youth.

Thank you for your attention. 

Wassalamu alaikoum warahmatoullahi wabarakatouh.”

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