21 Ministers and delegates on June 08, 2022, met in Rabat for the first Ministerial meeting of African Atlantic States.
This Moroccan initiative born in 2009 confirms the Kingdom's commitment to optimizing the strategic value of the Atlantic, and its desire to see all the riparian countries come together on both sides of the Atlantic around common principles and converging interests.
Leaders of these African Atlantic States are hoping to drive a common African vision and defend with one voice the strategic interests of the continent. Deliberations of participants during the pioneer gathering revolved around three key aspects which include, "Political Dialogue, Security and Safety", "Blue Economy and Connectivity" and "Environment and Energy".
Speaking during the opening ceremony, Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates, Nasser Bourita highlighted that the African Atlantic States has the potential to be an area of peace, stability and prosperity, considering its strategic importance.
He added that the 23 African Atlantic countries constitute 46% of the African population and contribute 55% of the continent's GDP. The riparian countries also constitute 57 percent of African Trade and are a passage route for continental trade.
"It is not enough to share the Atlantic. It is also to share a perspective and a vision. We must be a geopolitical space, our membership is not intended to be only geographically, it is also Politics. We must have a strategic identity that we feel of the Atlantic as we can feel African or Mediterranean" Mr Bourita highlighted.
The African Atlantic States face unprecedented security challenges,
with the rise of threats asymmetric, transnational crime, maritime insecurity, piracy, terrorism, and organized crime.
Mr Bourita regretted that nearly 90% of maritime incidents, including
piracy, have been recorded along the African Atlantic seaboard. A phenomenon blamed on a weak mesh of
security, border porosity, political and institutional instability, etc.
Added to this are human development challenges, and economic and sustainable development especially since the Atlantic African countries receive only 4% of foreign direct investment (FDI) flows to destinations of the Atlantic area compared to 74% for the countries on the northern shore, despite the potential economic growth of Atlantic Africa.
Ministers and delegates who attended the first ministerial meeting have thus, challenged themselves to act collectively to meet security requirements, sustainable development and prosperity of the African Atlantic space.
They also particularly commended the Vision of His Majesty King Mohammed VI towards making the African Atlantic area a pragmatic and relevant inter-African framework for cooperation.