President Edgar Lungu says Zambia is glad about the return of Morocco to its African family.
President Lungu said Zambia has missed Morocco on the African table and that the country is happy that the North African nation has re-joined the continental body.
“We have missed Morocco for a long time and we are glad to find him again within its African family,” said President Lungu after holding closed door meeting with visiting King Mohammed VI of Morocco at State House on Monday.
“We are very satisfied with the talks with have had with the King,” he said, adding that the meeting touched on the relations between Morocco, Zambia and the rest of the world.
King Mohammed VI arrived in Lusaka on Sunday for a three-day official visit.
This is his first visit to Zambia, which is among the African countries that have diplomatic ties with the self-proclaimed Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, which enjoys the diplomatic and financial backing of Algeria and South Africa.
Though Zambia was among the first African countries to recognize Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic and establish diplomatic relations with it since 1979, its position on the Western Sahara conflict has witnessed a sharp shift since President Lungu took over power.
Zambia was among the countries that signed a motion addressed to the AU during the 27th summit of the AU last July in Kigali, which called for the suspension of Western Sahara’s membership.
Days before that, Zambia’s foreign minister Harry Kalaba had announced in Rabat, Morocco that the country had decided to cut its ties with Western Sahara.
Despite these moves, Zambia’s position on the conflict remains ambiguous.
Evidence to that is that President Lungu last month received the President of Western Sahara Brahim Ghali and reiterated the need that the Saharawi be allowed to exercise their right to self-determination, a position defended and cherished by Algeria and South Africa.
During the meeting at State House, King Mohammed VI’s and President Lungu signed 19 governmental and economic partnership agreements between the two countries at State House.
This was after the two Heads of State held private talks.
Eight of the agreements were government-to-government, while 11 were between the private sectors of the two countries.
The agreements cover the fields of political consultations, air services, investment protection, finance, insurance, education, training, tourism, agriculture, technology, industry, mining and renewable energy.
The following is a list of the Agreements signed, broken down into three main areas:
- A general economic, scientific, technical and cultural cooperation agreement
- A memorandum of understanding on the establishment of a mechanism for political consultations.
- A memorandum of understanding between the Zambia Development Agency and Casablanca Finance City Authority (CFCA).
- A memorandum of understanding for the setting up of a Morocco-Zambia Business Council.
- A cooperation agreement in the fields of education, training and apprenticeship.
- An agreement on investment promotion and reciprocal protection.
- A memorandum of understanding on industrial cooperation.
- A memorandum of understanding on the agricultural sector.
- A memorandum of understanding between Morocco’s Groupe du Crédit Agricole and Development Bank of Zambia.
- A memorandum of understanding between Attijariwafa Bank and Zambia National Commercial Bank.
- A memorandum of understanding between Morocco’s Banque Centrale Populaire and Zambia National Commercial Bank.
- A technical cooperation agreement between the Moroccan federation of insurance and re-insurance companies and Zambia’s insurers association.
- A cooperation agreement for the development of harvest insurance in Zambia between Morocco’s Mutuelle Agricole Marocaine d’Assurances (MAMDA) and Zambia State Insurance Corporation.
- A memorandum of understanding between the MAMDA-Re and the Zambian limited liability company.
- An agreement on air services.
- A memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Mines and Morocco’s office for hydrocarbons and mining (ONHYM).
- A cooperation agreement in the field of the development of renewable energy projects.
- A memorandum of understanding in the field of tourism between the Moroccan Tourism Office (ONMT) and Zambia Tourism Agency.
- A memorandum of understanding between the Zambia Development Agency and Morocco’s Tangiers Med special agency (TMSA).