Moroccan Ambassador to Mexico Abderrahman Leibek hosted an evening diplomatic reception and North African buffet at his Lomas de Chapultepec residence on Saturday, July 30, to commemorate the anniversary of King Mohammed VI Ben al-Hassan’s accession to the throne.
“On this solemn day, Morocco commemorates the 17th anniversary of the coronation of His Majesty King Mohammed VI and the birth of a new historic era in the conciliation of democracy and economic surge in our country,” Leibek told his guests at the start of the event.
“The observance of Throne Day constitutes and will always constitute a unique occasion to renew the profound links of constant adhesion, solid loyalty and faithful unity that unites the Moroccan people with the throne.”
Leibek said that, in keeping with those commitments, Morocco continues to hone social cohesion through the reaffirmation of the individual components of the Moroccan people, the broadening of open forums and human rights and the elevation of the status of women within the framework of the Family Code, “which preserves their dignity and allows them to participate in public affairs.”
He added that Morocco’s new June 2011 constitution clearly recognized women as equal to men, with the same legal rights and obligations.
Leibek said that, starting in the 1990s, his country has also made significant political structural reforms to ensure the protection of human rights at the same time that it implemented major economic programs to consolidate infrastructure projects, ease bureaucracy, modernize agriculture and promote investment.
“That reform process began to accelerate in the first decade of the 21st century, under the wise leadership of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, who pushed us toward an ambitious political opening with a strong desire to give birth to a new era of social progress,” the envoy said.
During that same period, Leibek said, Morocco underwent major economic reforms to consolidate its infrastructure, streamline productivity, foster rural development, fuel startups, provide adequate services and create an environment that is friendly to investment.
Leibek specifically spoke about Morocco’s new Tanger Med Port, a massive transshipment terminal in Tangier which will have an annual capacity of eight million containers and which is due to become operational in 2019.
That port will constitute the first automated terminal in Africa.
Leibek likewise noted that Morocco now has 15 international airports and a network of more than 1,800 kilometers of modern, highly engineered highways, as well as a high-speed train system linking its major cities.
He spoke about clean energy, saying that his country, which is not a major oil producer, is now developing renewable energy options such as wind, solar and hydraulic systems.
Leibek said that by the year 2030, 52 percent of Morocco’s energy will come from non-carbon-based sources.
The ambassador said that the automotive production sector is currently one of Morocco’s largest industry, thanks in large part to the country’s open investment climate.
He said that, now, many international corporations are taking advantage of Morocco’s well-trained and affordable workforce and easy access to both the European and African markets, as well as its generous investment incentives.
Another industry that is now taking off and attracting investors to Morocco is the aerospace sector, Leibek said.
“As for our international relations, Moroccan diplomacy has remained faithful to it solid traditional values, including respect for international law and a unflinching compliment to all that contributes to the consolidation of global peace and security, while defending just causes and strengthening all aspects of global cooperation,” he said.
Leibek said it is in the context of this global policy that Morocco’s diplomatic relationship with Mexico — which dates back to Oct. 31, 1962 — is defined.
“In these 54 years of bilateral ties, our relationship in the political, economic and scientific fields has flourished, as demonstrated by institutional relations in all these areas,” he said.
“Morocco is Mexico’s fifth-largest trade partner in Africa. However, despite the ongoing efforts by both sides to broaden commercial cooperation, it is clear that there is a need for a new impetus to promote binational trade which will reflect a better understanding between our two nations and the real potential of each of our economies.”
Combined bilateral trade currently amounts to more than $280 million annually.
Mexico’s main exports to Morocco include sugar, tobacco, beer, building materials and airplane parts.
Morocco’s main exports to Mexico include electrical circuits, textiles and cotton.
Although there are still not many Mexican-Moroccan joint-venture investment projects, Mexico’s multinational cement giant Cementos Mexicanos (Cemex) operates in Morocco.
Leibek said that he was confident that the political will to broaden binational ties exists in both Morocco and Mexico, adding that through bilateral agreements there is ample room for increased trade and investment projects.
After World War II, a strong independence movement took root in Morocco and the Istiqlal Party sent a formal memorandum to the sultan and French authorities demanding national sovereignty and a democratic constitution.
The French responded to this request by arresting several major Istiqlal leaders, and the sultan refused to sign any more decrees concerning his people.
In August of 1953, the royal family was deported to Corsica and Madagascar, and a puppet monarch was designated by the French to assume the throne.
But when the Moroccan public’s indignation grew violent, the French decided to grant full independence to Morocco and reinstate Sultan Mohammed V.
In 1961, the king was succeeded by his son Hassan II, who drafted a new constitution and promoted the first parliamentary elections.
Morocco’s current king took the Alaouite dynasty’s throne on July 23, 1999, after the death of his father Hassan II.