Economic considerations top the agenda
By Akpo Ometan
Fresh facts are emerging as to why the North African Kingdom of Morocco is lavishly courting Nigeria’s President Mohammadu Buhari, who is visiting the Maghrebian nation on a state visit at the moment.
As the Nigerian President arrived Rabat Sunday, a sparkling motorcade was waiting to pick up and bring in the august visitor even as the red carpet was elaborately rolled out.
Policy watchers however say that the reception was not without a cause: the North African nation which borders Europe and has had the good fortune of attracting European and Asian businesses to ply their trade in the country over the years, has however been afflicted with a huge burden of unemployment and youth restiveness which has led to periodic outbreaks of protests and riots in the mould of the famous Arab Spring.
With youth unemployment figures running as high as 40 per cent in the North of the country, this sceptre is not far fetched. In the city of Jerada for example, intermittent protests have been on across the past six months, with security forces being heavily strained to maintain law and order.
To stave the possibility of the crisis deteriorating even further, the government has been searching everywhere it could for more and more trade and business relationships with other nations, including a vigorous push last year to enlist as a member of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS.
Incidentally, Nigeria’s opposition to that bid is one of the last cogs in its wheel.
An ammonia producing plant and a trans-Saharan gas pipeline deal are some of the agreements expected to be finalised by the two leaders.
The Moroccan King had made an earlier visit to Nigeria last year.
Nigeria’s President Buhari and the King of Morocco