Morocco’s accession to ECOWAS ‘will do more harm than good’

One of the most important topics for discussion in West Africa at the moment is Morocco’s application to become a full member of the Economic Commission of West African States (ECOWAS), the continent’s most active regional economic community. At a high-level policy dialogue held in Abuja, Nigeria on 24 August, stakeholders convened to unpack the implications of Morocco’s inclusion.

The North African country already has observer status with ECOWAS since 2005 and has actively participated in the commission’s activities. Following its readmission to the African Union in January this year, Morocco formally requested to join ECOWAS. Since then, the country has relentlessly pursued this agenda, even designating an Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador to ECOWAS, HE Moha Ou Ali Tagma, who presented his credentials to the commission in March.

The name ‘the Economic Community of West African States’ defines membership along contiguous states in the west of Africa. Morocco’s request therefore does not satisfy a geographical criterion for membership. According to the revised ECOWAS treaty, “region” means the geographical zone known as West Africa as defined by Resolution CM / RES.464 (XXVI) of the OAU Council of Ministers.

Morocco is a member of the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) and hosts its headquarters in Rabat. This raises the question of whether the country intends to belong to more than one bloc, like Tanzania – a member of the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC),  and Burundi – a member of both the EAC and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS). However, the case of Burundi and Tanzania is different as they border the two regional economic communities (RECs). Morocco does not share a border with any of the 15 state parties who have ratified the ECOWAS treaty.

On the economic front, Morocco already has bilateral agreements with most, if not all, of the 15 ECOWAS state parties. In fact, since King Mohammed VI ascended to the throne, he is said to have visited the region 26 times, making the most number of trips (around eight) to Senegal. There is ongoing collaboration between Morocco and the Nigerian government, notably on the Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline project, fertilizer deals and agro business among others.

Recent figures from the 2017 African Economic Outlook place Côte d’Ivoire as the largest West African recipient of foreign direct investment from Morocco. Despite its contributions, there are fears that Morocco’s accession will be hugely damaging to the economies of member states, particularly Nigeria. ECOWAS membership would provide tariff-free access for Moroccan goods to permeate the huge market, which is dominated by Nigeria. And given Morocco’s standing as a manufacturing hub of European Union countries, EU goods would also flow freely into the region.

“There is ongoing collaboration between Morocco and the Nigerian government, notably on the Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline project, fertilizer deals and agro business among others.”

On the security front, Morocco has contributed to the maintenance and restoration of peace in the region. For instance, the country supported the French-led Operation Serval in Mali to oust Islamic militants and offered The Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh asylum in return for accepting electoral defeat (although he rejected it).

In response to Islamic extremism in the region, Morocco has taken measures to combat terrorist threats, including establishing a training centre to guide clerics on promoting moderate Islam. Despite these positives, there are reports that ISIS is recruiting in large numbers in Morocco. ECOWAS’s free movement protocol would make it easy for recruits to travel within West Africa, posing a huge security risk to a region that is already battling Islamic militancy and Boko Haram.

ECOWAS recognises the rights of people in Western Sahara to independence and self-determination; Morocco does not. While the territorial dispute over Western Sahara is one argument against Morocco’s accession, a more significant point is the divisive role Morocco plays in the several blocs it belongs to. For instance, Morocco led several Arab countries in withdrawing from the Arab-African summit in 2016 due to participation from Western Sahara. King Mohammed VI also did not attend this year’s ECOWAS summit because Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was invited.

Divided opinions

The body language, as we love to say in Nigeria, of several state parties suggests they are in favour of Morocco joining ECOWAS. Morocco is already heavily involved with the West African Economic and Monetary Union and claims that its greatest investment is in West Africa. Government officials in Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal have all made favourable pronouncements, describing the accession as one that will herald an economic boom for West Africa.

In Nigeria, however, most believe that the accession of Morocco to ECOWAS is damaging to the country’s national and regional interests. At the recent policy dialogue organised by the Centre for Democracy and Development, the forum’s position was that Morocco’s accession will do more harm than good. It will diminish Nigeria’s “mother goose” role in ECOWAS, and could potentially affect the bloc’s growth, especially given Morocco’s own economic challenges and its hard-line stance on Western Sahara. Year in and year out, Nigeria has given financial, diplomatic and political support to ECOWAS. Forty-two years of investment shouldn’t be put at risk.

“Morocco is a monarchical system while all 15 member states of ECOWAS are democracies.”

Importantly, and in addition to the political and economic considerations mentioned above, Morocco is a monarchical system while all 15 member states of ECOWAS are democracies. In fact, one of the greatest achievements of ECOWAS is the promotion of democracy, term limits and constitutionalism. Morocco’s system of government is thus at odds with ECOWAS principles.

There are critical challenges to surmount before Morocco can join ECOWAS. This possible enlargement logically raises the issue of adapting the name of the organisation to the new configuration, and some amendments on the legal instruments of ECOWAS will be necessary.

While the heads of state remain the highest decision-making body in ECOWAS, it is important that they engage with citizens, civil societies and other stakeholders on this crucial issue – especially as the bloc aims to transition from an ECOWAS of states to an ECOWAS of people.

 

 

 

Hassan Idayat is the Director Centre for Democracy and Development

 

 

COMMENT (54)
Buy Essay Online / February 25, 2018

essays george orwell scholarship essays persuasive essays application essays

Reply
Jomymnb / February 24, 2018

generic cialis
where to buy generic cialis
http://cialisredp.com
price cialis 20mg nurofen plus
buy generic cialis online

Reply
Usabireb / February 24, 2018

generic cialis online
voucher cialis generic drugs buy
http://cialisredp.com
voucher cialis generic drugs
cialis online

Reply
gyproni / February 24, 2018

levaquin inhaler cialis pills cialis
generic cialis
cost cialis generic drugs cialis
cialis
generic cialis canada

Reply
achietab / February 24, 2018

buy generic cialis
how can i get cialis pharmacy
http://cialiskntrc.com
suprax 100 mg cialis pills cialis
cheap cialis

Reply
Usabireb / February 24, 2018

cheap cialis
buy cheap generic cialis online
http://cialisredp.com
cialis india generic
buy generic cialis online

Reply
Viancyb / February 24, 2018

generic cialis online
cut cialis pills
http://cialisredp.com
cialis 5mg tablets cialis
buy generic cialis online

Reply
Pseumnb / February 24, 2018

generic cialis online
cialis professional generic
http://cialisredp.com
buy cialis online in california
buy generic cialis online

Reply
Whitleb / February 24, 2018

generic cialis online
metformin expiration cialis generic pills
http://cialisredp.com
cialis offer
buy cialis online

Reply
lalflorab / February 23, 2018

buy cialis online
canada generic cialis prices buy
http://cialisredp.com
my experience with cialis pills cialis
cheap cialis

Reply
unlotteb / February 23, 2018

buy cialis online
cheapest generic cialis online
http://cialisredp.com
buy tadalafil india pills
buy cialis online

Reply
My Homework Now / February 19, 2018

essays essays write essays for me essay writing formula

Reply
Homework Help Online / February 18, 2018

critical essays essays george orwell essays law essay writers

Reply
Rosmernb / February 18, 2018

buy cheap cialis online
order cheap cialis online cialis
http://cialisredp.com
viagra half dose cialis pills
buy cialis online

Reply
gypronib / February 18, 2018

generic cialis
cialis online canada no prescription
http://cialisredp.com
and cialis pharmacy paxil
buy cialis

Reply
entibiab / February 17, 2018

buy cialis
canada cialis generic difficulty breathing
http://cialisredp.com
serevent complications cialis pills
buy cialis online

Reply
enjoypeb / February 17, 2018

buy generic cialis online
cialis for order generic
http://cialisredp.com
shelf life cialis online pharmacy
buy cheap cialis online

Reply
lalflorab / February 17, 2018

buy generic cialis
order generic cialis online
http://cialisredp.com
cheap cialis generic
buy generic cialis online

Reply
glolirumb / February 17, 2018

buy generic cialis online
cialis professional online
http://cialisredp.com
male enhancement cialis generic generic
buy cialis online

Reply
Jomymnb / February 17, 2018

buy cheap cialis online
ciali
http://cialisredp.com
generic cialis 20mg best buy cancun
buy generic cialis online

Reply
sellKemeb / February 17, 2018

buy generic cialis online
generic 10 mg cialis 20mg
http://cialisredp.com
cialis cheap
buy generic cialis online

Reply
Annelfb / February 17, 2018

generic cialis
cheap brand cialis
http://cialisredp.com
buy cialis online toronto
generic cialis

Reply
Jomymnb / February 16, 2018

generic viagra online
viagra quick delivery
http://viagraabdmr.com
healthy man viagra reviews
generic viagra

Reply
SeemsFenb / February 16, 2018

buy generic viagra
robin williams viagra
http://viagraabdmr.com
viagra substitute
generic viagra online

Reply
Atroreb / February 15, 2018

buy viagra online
viagra ukraine
http://viagraabdmr.com
get viagra prescribed online
online viagra

Reply
Buy Custom Essays / February 15, 2018

critical essays scholarship essays persuasive essays best ways to write an essay

Reply
Greattyb / February 15, 2018

buy viagra online
viagra mechanism of action
http://viagraabdmr.com
viagra over the counter walgreens
generic viagra online

Reply
zerfumeb / February 15, 2018

how to buy viagra
viagra prices walmart
http://viagraabdmr.com
how much viagra to take first time
where to buy viagra

Reply
outwagsb / February 15, 2018

generic viagra
difference between viagra and cialis
http://viagraabdmr.com
viagra y similares
online viagra

Reply
Acrowsb / February 15, 2018

cheap viagra online
free viagra samples
http://viagraabdmr.com
does viagra make you horny
generic viagra online

Reply
broonnam / February 15, 2018

http://badcreditloansnynjllausa.com
america cash loans
bad credit loans
1500 dollar loan
bad credit loans

Reply
Dalcrarlb / February 15, 2018

where to buy viagra
best online pharmacy for viagra
http://viagraabdmr.com
viagra cialis
buy viagra online

Reply
Dalcrarlb / February 15, 2018

buy viagra online
what happens when a girl takes viagra
http://viagraabdmr.com
viagra 4 hours warning
generic viagra online

Reply
Greattyb / February 14, 2018

generic cialis online
buy cialis online without a health
http://cialisampsl.com
next day brand cialis only online
buy generic cialis online

Reply
idosseb / February 14, 2018

buy generic cialis online
generic cialis buy online cialis
http://cialisampsl.com
cialis discount generic
buy cialis online

Reply
BokWrake / February 14, 2018

http://badcreditloansnynjllausa.com
loans quick
loans
fair credit loans
loans

Reply
prayedeb / February 14, 2018

buy cialis cheap
does generic cialis work
http://cialisampsl.com
generic cialis 20mg best buy cancun cialis
generic cialis online

Reply
Ameplideb / February 14, 2018

generic cialis
buy cialis online without a rx cialis
http://cialisampsl.com
nortriptyline with food cialis 20mg
buy cialis online cheap

Reply
Dydriptb / February 14, 2018

buy generic cialis
buy cialis uk
http://cialisampsl.com
generic cialis online
generic cialis

Reply
Earnevab / February 14, 2018

cialis generic
viagra phoenix cialis pills
http://cialisampsl.com
amazon cheap generic cialis
buy cialis generic

Reply
horivoli / February 14, 2018

http://badcreditloansnynjllausa.com
small cap funds
bad loans
loan search
bad credit loans

Reply
Roosteb / February 14, 2018

cialis cost
cialis online canada no prescription
http://cialisampsl.com
cialis online
generic cialis

Reply
Togecoxy / February 14, 2018

http://badcreditloansnynjllausa.com
sell your
bad credit loans
how do personal loans work
bad credit loans

Reply
BokWrake / February 14, 2018

http://badcreditloansnynjllausa.com
short term borrowing
bad credit loans
cash now advance
bad credit loans

Reply
Acrowsb / February 14, 2018

cialis coupon
what are cialis tablets lilly icos
http://cialisampsl.com
generic cialis overnight shipping cost
buy cialis cheap

Reply
Raigiodab / February 13, 2018

cialis generic
best prices cialis
http://cialisampsl.com
cialis pills online buy
buy generic cialis online

Reply
Pseumn / February 13, 2018

order cialis online no prescription
cialis cheap
order cialis online without a otc
buy cialis online
buy cialis without a prescription

Reply
taubsen / February 13, 2018

generic professional cialis cialis
cheap cialis
order usa cialis online
buy cialis online
mail order cialis

Reply
payday / February 13, 2018

canada cialis generic maintain an erection cialis
cialis cheap
what make cialis pills look like
buy generic cialis
cialis order

Reply
Acrows / February 13, 2018

cheap online female cialis ciali s
buy cialis online
buy cialis online without a rx
cialis cheap
price 20mg buy cialis online

Reply
Buying Essay / February 13, 2018

essays essays george orwell creative writing personal essays write essays for me

Reply
Briesty / February 13, 2018

low blood pressure canada buy generic cialis
cheap cialis online
par internet cialis 20mg
buy cheap cialis
buy real cialis online cialis

Reply

Leave A Comment