Morocco becomes an economic centre between Africa and the United States

Prosper Africa, the USAID programme that will enable Africa to play a key role in the international economy

AFP/FADEL SENNA  -   A factory employee works on a car assembly line at Kenitra PSA's car assembly plant

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is preparing for Morocco to become an economic centre as part of the new Trade and Investment Programme under its Prosper Africa initiative.

In order to increase two-way trade between the United States and Africa, the US Government is developing an initiative called Prosper Africa. With such a programme, the US Administration recognizes that Africa will play a critical role in the future global economy.

The objective is to bring services such as business development and investment facilitation; in turn, it is intended to provide support to improve legal and regulatory frameworks. North and sub-Saharan Africa will receive up to $500 million in funding over five years under this project.

USAID aims to create thousands of new jobs using Morocco as a centralised economic hub. It also seeks to manage billions of dollars in exports and investments. According to the United States government, the overall goal is to strengthen strategic partnerships as well as expand trade between Morocco and other North African countries with the American giant.

On 17 November 2020, USAID's acting deputy administrator, John Barsa, announced the Trade and Investment Program for prior application. Prosper Africa's interests lie in the need to facilitate access to trade and investment opportunities. This is because Africa seeks to change its economy, as well as to play a more assertive role in global trade.

Connecting the two markets is expected to produce beneficial results for both economies. On the one hand, Africa has six of the fastest growing economies with over one billion consumers. And on the other hand, the United States, which has access to more than $13 trillion in purchasing power.

This is not just a new agenda, it is a new way of doing business that will expand U.S. investment in Africa's growth by leveraging its resources and private sector innovation.

"With Prosper Africa, the U.S.-Africa relationship is evolving from an aid-based approach to a true partnership in trade and investment, based on dignity, equality, mutual respect and profitability," says USAID's Office of Press Relations.

USAID intends to open and staff an office for the Executive Secretariat for Prosper Africa in Morocco. It will open 17 U.S. government departments and agencies, adding resources and staff.

The initial objective for USAID is to further consolidate the relationship between Morocco and the United States, which has become even closer in the last two months. Following the agreement that the United States managed to form between Israel and Morocco. In addition to the recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over the territory of Western Sahara by the US government.

Agreements have also been made to purchase US weapons, drones and precision-guided ammunition to the value of $1 billion, as the Trump Administration itself has informed Congress.

USAID furthermore published two reports in the first half of 2020 describing the support to COVID-19 that the organisation was providing in Morocco. This provided various forms of social assistance, including food security programmes, distance learning support for deaf and hard of hearing students, and psychosocial services.

David Fischer, US Ambassador to Morocco, added that the North African country had been the largest recipient of Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) funds to date.

All this shows Morocco's growing importance in the international arena as local industry tries to recover from the crisis caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic.