Majority of ECOWAS Members Back Moroccos Membership

Rabat – A survey has shown three-quarters of ECOWAS members support Morocco’s admission to the regional economic union. The French Institute for European Perspective and Security (IPSE) conducted the survey on attitudes towards several countries inclusion in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The survey shows that the majority—75 percent—of MPs in the ECOWAS parliament back Morocco’s accession.The remaining 25 percent said the question of Morocco’s membership requires more consultation. ECOWAS, which aims to promote economic integration among states, is made up of 15 members: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo. The survey also revealed positive attitudes towards Mauritania’s potential return to ECOWAS. Mauritania announced its withdrawal from ECOWAS in 2000, justifying its exit by saying it wanted to focus more on Maghreb issues.Seventy-three percent of MPs also support Tunisia’s potential membership, while Algeria’s accession was only viewed positively by 31 percent.Following Morocco’s readmission into the African Union in January 2017, King Mohammed VI informed Liberia’s Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former chairperson of ECOWAS, that Morocco desired to join the regional economic community as a full member.On July 31, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari was elected the new chairman of (ECOWAS).Buhari’s election took place at the end of the 53rd Ordinary Summit of ECOWAS Heads of State which ended on Monday evening.Will Buhari’s election open the door for Morocco’s membership? Nigeria and Morocco maintain strong diplomatic ties.Buhari visited Morocco in June at the request of King Mohammed VI. During the meeting, both countries pointed out significant developments in other areas of bilateral cooperation.During the visit, the Nigerian president said he backed Morocco’s return to the African Union and congratulated the King for his agenda to address migration issues in Africa.Morocco’s application to join the union was endorsed by several members of the ECOWAS parliament, including its speaker.In March, Moustapha Cissé Lo of Senegal reaffirmed his support for Morocco’s application.Cissé Lo said during a conference in Rabat that Morocco’s accession to ECOWAS would undoubtedly add value to the community, adding that his parliament will “fully play its role in the process of Morocco’s admission to ECOWAS.”

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