Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Patrick Pruaitch, has signed a bilateral “Roadmap of Cooperation Program” with the Kingdom of Morocco with both countries seeking to further enhance “South-South” cooperation.
The signing took place at the 3rd Morocco-Pacific Island States Forum which was also attended by Vanuatu, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Samoa, Nauru and the Republic of Palau.
On his return from the meeting in the Laayoune Region, Morocco, Mr. Pruaitch said the Morocco forum could help PNG further develop its international trading linkages and diplomatic ties with African nations that shared similar development aspirations.
Under the “Roadmap of Cooperation Program (2020-2022)”, Morocco and the Pacific Island nations have pledged to cooperate on multilateral initiatives that will assist Small Island Developing States to tackle challenges posed by climate change and sustainable development.
The South-South Cooperation Program, backed personally by Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, will see Morocco and especially its Southern Provinces become “a bridge linking diverse regions of the Global South”.
The Moroccan Government has offered diplomatic training for PNG diplomats in addition to scholarships for higher education, technical and vocational training and in agriculture.
Mr. Pruaitch said the elevation of PNG’s diplomatic ties with Morocco, with which formal diplomatic relations were established in September 2018, would offer Papua New Guineans the opportunity to gain expertise and insights into the French-speaking world and the Arabic speaking nations of the Middle East.
Following four days of discussion, from February 26 to 29, Mr. Pruaitch signed a letter of intent with Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates, His Excellency Nasser Bourita.
The Memorandum of Understanding seeks to implement visa exemption for diplomatic, official, service and special passports; establish regular policy consultations between the two governments and to promote cooperation in the field of environment and sustainable development.
Morocco, Africa’s 5th largest economy, is the world’s biggest exporter of phosphate fertilizers, along with other mineral commodities. It is the recipient of large flows of Foreign Direct Investment every year and its manufacturing sector includes the production of Renault motor vehicles.
Mr. Pruaitch said the Morocco-Pacific Islands Forum could facilitate increased regional cooperation in agriculture, fisheries, tourism, climate change, trade, education and energy, and water.
“Many of PNG’s key exports, including LNG, gold, copper, and nickel as well as coffee, cocoa, vanilla, and palm oil, involve globally traded commodities that provide scope for trade with many more countries than at present,” he said.