Wide Angle

Fertilizer diplomacy brings Nigeria and Morocco closer

OCP, a major economic player in the Moroccan economy, is also becoming a strategic pillar for the Kingdom's diplomacy. It is the case for the rapprochement with Nigeria and the praising messages of President Muhammadu Buhari.

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In a series of tweets, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has welcomed Morocco’s support for the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI), launched following King Mohammed VI's visit to Abuja in December 2016. «This mutually beneficial partnership between our two countries is a true example of how intra-Africa trade and partnership should work», he said.

His praise comes three weeks after the conclusion in Casablanca of an agreement between Rabat and Abuja on the development of a platform of fertilizer products for an investment of 1.3 billion dollars. The deal was signed during the visit of a Nigerian delegation led by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timpire Marlin Sylva.

Fertilizers while waiting for the pipeline...

«Let me also use this opportunity, on behalf of Nigerians, to thank my brother and friend, His Majesty, the King of Morocco for being with us during this difficult but exciting journey», Buhari wrote. It is worth mentioning that at the beginning of February, the president thanked Morocco for supporting the production of fertilizers in Nigeria.

«We are still grateful to Morocco for the support they gave us in producing fertilizer in the country. We have 42 companies producing fertiliser in six geopolitical zones».

Muhammadu Buhari

This fertilizer diplomacy dates back to July 2015. Indeed, it was during a trip by Nasser Bourita, then Minister Delegate for Foreign Affairs in the Benkirane II government, and the head of the Directorate-General for Documentation and studies (DGED), Yassine Mansouri, that the Kingdom proposed to Buhari, then newly elected president, to build an OCP fertilizers plant.

A gift to help the president lay the foundations for a true modern agriculture in his country, in accordance with his promises to revive the economy, made during the presidential campaign of March 2015.

Since then, this diplomacy has enabled Morocco to steer Nigeria away from the Algiers-Pretoria axis. While it continues to recognize the so-called «Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic», Abuja's positions on the question of Western Sahara have evolved towards neutrality, befitting the interests of Morocco on the African scene.

The gas pipeline project and the summits between the two countries, of 2016 in Abuja and 2018 in Rabat, as well as the last phone call of January 31 between the two heads of state, attest to the level of Moroccan-Nigerian partnership.

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