HM the King Addresses Message to Participants in Launching Conference of Africa Sovereign Investors Forum

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His Majesty King Mohammed VI addressed a message to the participants in the launching conference of the Africa Sovereign Investors Forum "ASIF", held in Rabat.

Here follows the full text of the Royal message which was read out on Monday by Minister Delegate to the Minister of Economy and Finance, in charge of the Budget, Mr. Faouzi Lekjaa.

"Praise be to God

May peace and blessings be upon the Prophet, His Kith and Kin

Your Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am delighted to address this message to the participants in the launching conference of the Africa Sovereign Investors Forum - ASIF. I would like to congratulate the organizers of the African sovereign and strategic funds, gathered in Rabat today, on taking this commendable initiative. It will surely promote the development and implementation of structuring projects with a strong integration impact in our continent. I therefore welcome and support this initiative.

I am particularly pleased to take this opportunity to welcome our honourable guests, the leaders of the Sovereign Wealth Funds, members of this Forum, as well as all the speakers and participants in this important event.

Your initiative is another indication of the determination of Africa's driving forces to be the actors of the continent's progress and development. In this, we see an illustration of the Africa we yearn for: an enterprising and daring Africa; an Africa that rises to challenges, turning them into opportunities.

Indeed, it is up to all of us, African countries, to take our destiny into our own hands and to seek, individually and collectively, to turn our resources and potential into promising achievements for our citizens and our future generations.

Africa today has unparalleled opportunities, particularly in the green economy, the blue economy and the digital sector. Our continent must, therefore, keep up its efforts to rise to the myriad challenges relating to its food and health sovereignty, its infrastructure needs and the development of its natural resources and wealth.

I am convinced the challenges faced in many areas are, in fact, opportunities which can help us make quantum leaps in development. These opportunities have been made possible by many advances, particularly in agricultural productivity, access to information, digital banking, healthcare and distance learning.

Your Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our continent needs the contribution of a genuine African investment industry that can guarantee massive, sustainable mobilisation of capital and ensure effective integration into financial markets.

Sovereign wealth and strategic investment funds are powerful indicators of opportunities and are a stimulus for a better allocation of capital to sectors that create economic value and have a high social impact.

However, it is quite clear that, to date, despite the efforts made on the continent in terms of the reforms that several countries have introduced, access to capital remains limited and mainly dominated by financing from development agencies and banks.

It is high time for Africa to assert itself, take its destiny into its own hands and hold its rightful place on the global stage. The perception of Africa by the rest of the world must change irreversibly. Is Africa not the continent of the 21st century? Is it not the continent that will be home to a quarter of the world's population by 2050 which, what is more, will be young and creative? Africa will constitute a market of more than 1.2 billion people, with a combined GDP of more than 3,400 billion dollars when the African Continental Free Trade Area becomes operational.

The fulfilment of such an ambition requires, in particular, the acceleration and optimisation of public investment to leverage private capital for the benefit of strategic and productive sectors.

To do this, the sovereign and strategic funds you represent have a mission to act as wise and patient investors, ensuring the link between long-term national priorities and private investors, within the framework of a partnership-based, sustainable development-oriented approach.

This is all the more crucial when it comes to ensuring Africa's integration into the international private financial system, notably by enhancing and strengthening skills to bring them up to the best international standards. This would make Africa an attractive destination for investors and investments.

In this regard, I welcome the support given to your Forum by some sovereign funds in Gulf sister nations through the Rabat Declaration. The latter shows the Kingdom's efforts to strengthen dialogue and cooperation between Africa and other parts of the world.

Your Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

For a long time now, Morocco has been working tirelessly to promote the interests of our continent as well as its economic development.

Thus, we have always sought to consolidate the bonds of brotherhood and solidarity between our peoples and made economic cooperation one of Morocco's priorities, as evidenced by the numerous visits I have paid to several African sister nations.

Opting for Africa is a choice that flows from the heart and the mind. It is a clear, proactive choice confirmed by my engagement in numerous initiatives that boost and promote inter-African cooperation and economic development. Our choice is to make investment a driving force for economic and social development, as well as for regional and continental integration in Africa.

Suffice it to mention, in this regard, the inclusive, partnership-based approaches in which Morocco has engaged in order to rise to numerous current and future challenges. We can mention the projects for the establishment of vaccine production units and the construction of fertilizer production plants, which are aimed at ensuring the continent's health and food sovereignty, respectively. There is also the work undertaken to accelerate the continent's financial inclusion, as well as the projects aimed at reinforcing Africa's energy sovereignty, such as the mega gas pipeline project between Nigeria and Morocco.

Given the multiplicity of major issues and challenges we are facing today, we are called upon to do everything we can to accelerate proactive and concerted approaches to investment, in order to meet the legitimate aspirations of our peoples in a sustainable way.

What we want, in short, is an Africa shaped by Africans, for Africans.

Once again, welcome to Morocco. I wish your conference every success.

Thank you.

Wassalamu alaikum warahmatullah wabarakatuh ».

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