HM the King Addresses Message to Participants at Fourth Africa Investment Forum (Full Text)

Marrakech - His Majesty King Mohammed VI, may God assist Him, addressed, on Wednesday, a Message to participants at the 4th edition of the Africa Investment Forum, being held from November 08 to 10 in Marrakech, under the theme "Unlocking Africa's Value Chains".

Here follows the full text of the Royal Message, read out by Omar Kabbaj, advisor to His Majesty the King.

"Praise be to God,

May peace and blessings be upon the Prophet, His Kith and Kin

Your Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to send you this message at the opening of the Fourth Africa Investment Forum - an event held for the first time in Morocco. I have granted my high patronage to this continental event to show my support for this platform for exchange and interaction, which gives us the opportunity to share African experiences and know-how in order to boost the investment dynamic on our continent.

I wish to welcome you to the Kingdom of Morocco, and more specifically to Marrakesh, the ochre city whose historical and cultural heritage epitomizes the values of sharing and solidarity. These are the values which have always been at the heart of my vision for effective, solidarity-based inter-African cooperation in all sectors.

Your Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

You have gathered for this Fourth Africa Investment Forum at a time when our continent is facing complex economic challenges exacerbated by geopolitical tensions generated beyond African borders.

Added to this are the challenges posed by climate change. Paradoxically, climate change is adversely impacting our continent's development despite the fact that African countries account for only 4% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the world.

Moreover, recourse to debt as the primary source for public policy financing to mitigate the repercussions of exogenous shocks, together with rising interest rates and a persistent inflationary spiral, are reducing African countries' room for manoeuver and considerably restricting their ability to strike a balance between economic and social development requirements and the imperative to preserve internal and external budgetary balances.

Given this unprecedented situation and the scale of development financing needs in Africa, the role of the private sector has been gaining greater importance in achieving African countries’ development objectives. State budgets alone cannot cover all the investment needed, especially in high-potential, job-intensive sectors.

Considering the great many investment opportunities it offers private operators, Africa needs, now more than ever, bold, innovative initiatives to encourage private entrepreneurship and unleash the full potential of our continent.

That is why initiatives such as the African Investment Forum, which is sponsored by the African Development Bank, are commendable because they help direct private investment towards the most promising economic sectors, thus reinforcing the integration of African economies into global value chains.

Your Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The current international context, coupled with the actual and potential impacts it has on our continent, mean that we need to strive doubly hard to increase our national productive capacities and build stronger, more resilient continental value chains.

In this respect, I commend the organizers’ choice of theme for this Fourth Investment Forum, namely Unlocking Africa's Value Chains. As the experience of some countries has shown, notably in East Asia, the development of integrated regional value chains makes it possible to boost productive investment in these regions and increase corporate competitiveness, thanks to better resource allocation.

Feedback from promoting regional value chains as a means for the achievement of economic and social development shows that the creation of a regional production-sharing system has a catalytic effect on the growth and rapid transformation of developing economies.

With that in mind, African countries are called upon to adopt an integrated approach to development in Africa in order to allow for the gradual creation of a common production system based on shared platforms.

In this regard, I commend the work done by our pan-African institutions concerning the setting up of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). It is fully in line with my vision for an integrated, prosperous Africa. As this African dream comes true, it will help us pave the way for the creation of regional value chains. The latter are needed to increase the continent's resilience to exogenous shocks and unlock its potential for production and for prosperity.

Your Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It goes without saying that the development of integrated infrastructure networks is a prerequisite for the creation of regional value chains. There is no escaping the fact, however, that the continent's infrastructure deficit is one of the main factors preventing Africa from realizing its economic growth potential in full and achieving its development goals.

The disparity in infrastructure between African countries and other parts of the world is particularly striking when we compare infrastructure development indicators.

Of note, in this regard, is the energy sector, which is one of the most telling examples of areas where Africa is lagging behind in terms of infrastructure development. Although the continent's energy potential - in both fossil fuels and renewable energy - is considerable, the electrification rate remains very low compared to other regions of the developing world.

It is essential to recognize the magnitude of this problem and to commit to resolving it in a decisive way. Indeed, quality infrastructure not only contributes to economic growth, but it also enhances human development as it increases access to health and education services and boosts the productivity of SMEs.

Your Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In keeping with its commitment to regional integration in Africa, Morocco has been consistently working with its African partners to implement transformative projects that can considerably improve the quality of life of millions of Africans.

It should be pointed out, in this regard, that Morocco has been regularly calling for inter-African coordination and cooperation mechanisms to be enhanced in various fields with a view to achieving regional economic integration.

The Morocco-Nigeria Gas Pipeline project is part of that endeavor. It reflects my resolve to lay the groundwork for genuine regional cooperation. The project will enable all countries along the pipeline route to have access to reliable energy supplies and to be more resilient to exogenous energy price shocks.

In this respect, I welcome the interest expressed by bilateral and multilateral partners in this project, and in particular regional and international financial institutions, to provide effective support for the implementation of this strategic project.

Your Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Over the past two decades, Morocco has made infrastructure development a priority in all economic sectors. As a result, my country has become a model in infrastructure investment.

As regards energy infrastructure, for instance, the Kingdom now has 4.1 GW of installed renewable capacity. It is continuing to roll out its strategy plan to increase the share of renewable energy to over 52% of its national electricity mix by 2030.

The motorway network is now 2,000 km long, connecting all cities with more than 400,000 inhabitants. This network is expected to span 3,000 km by 2030.

The high-speed rail line has made Morocco the first country in Africa to launch a train traveling 320km per hour.

With the Tanger Med port complex, the Kingdom has positioned itself, for several years now, among the world's top 20 hubs in logistics connectivity, forming the first industrial free zone in Africa.

There are many other examples attesting to Morocco's proactive policy in developing large-scale infrastructure projects that support the various sectoral strategies launched by the Kingdom.

Together with Morocco's major advances in infrastructure development, a series of structural reforms have been implemented over the past two decades. They are meant to reduce the risks of fiscal and external vulnerability, in addition to putting the Moroccan economy on a sustainable path to strong, inclusive growth.

This investment dynamic should be further consolidated by the new Investment Charter, which channels investment towards the country's strategic priorities and offers, at the same time, 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.

With that in mind, I cannot overemphasize the crucial role the private sector is expected to play in order to make a decisive contribution to the economic recovery dynamic in the Kingdom.

Your Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The infrastructure gap between Africa and other parts of the world we hear so much about is a matter of concern to us all. That gap must be quickly filled in order to promote regional value chains that can accelerate 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.

I am sure that this year's Forum will be even more enriching, and that it will send a strong signal to investors as to African countries’ commitment to transformative investment. The aim is to fulfil the aspirations of our continent, our populations and our youth.

Thank you.

Wassalamu alaikum warahmatullah wabarakatuh."

Source: Agency Morocaine De Presse