Celebration by the Kingdom of Morocco, in the 30th of July 2020, of the 21th anniversary of the accession to the Throne of His Majesty King Mohammed VI


On July 30th, your country celebrates the Throne Day, please tell us about the history of this holiday and its particularities of celebrating this year?

The Throne Day has a strong symbolic meaning for the whole Nation. It reflects the renewal of the act of allegiance between the Throne and the Moroccan people, their attachment to the national constants and the particular place of the Monarchy in the collective memory and in the heart of all Moroccans. It is also the perfect opportunity to highlight the achievements of the Kingdom under the leadership of His Majesty, as well as the challenges ahead.

This annual celebration commemorates the enthronement of the reigning sovereign. Currently, this event takes place every July 30, the date on which the current king, Mohammed VI, acceded to the Kingdom. The first Throne Day was celebrates on 18th November 1933, honoring sultan Mohammed ben Youssef, the great-great-grandfather of the current king. A year later, this celebration has become a symbol of the emotional ties that unite the monarchy and its people.

On the event of the Moroccan Throne Day, several nationwide events are covered on public television, including official activities. In addition to the events, decorative lights are put up in Morocco’s main avenues.

This year and because of the situation generated by the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, with significant outbreaks that have forced the authorities to confine important cities once again, the Ministry of the Royal House, Protocol and Foreign Affairs has announced that it has decided to postpone all activities, festivities and ceremonies planned on the occasion of the celebration of the 21st anniversary of the accession of His Majesty King Mohammed VI. This is the first time in the reign of Mohamed VI that the Festival of the Throne has been suspended.

Celebration by the Kingdom of Morocco, in the 30th of July 2020, of the 21th anniversary of the accession to the Throne of His Majesty King Mohammed VI

On the economic state of development of the Kingdom of Morocco on the African continent and bilateral cooperation between Morocco and Ukraine, today we are talking with the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Morocco to Ukraine H.E. Mrs. Faouz El Achchabi.

Mrs. Ambassador, how do you evaluate the bilateral cooperation between our States?

The Kingdom of Morocco was among the first states in the Arab world to recognize the independence of Ukraine, in December 30th, 1991. The Protocol on the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Kingdom of Morocco and Ukraine was signed in New York, on June 22nd, 1992. The Moroccan Embassy in Kyiv opened in July 2000 and the Ukrainian Embassy in Rabat started its activities in October of the same year.

Since the establishment of the diplomatic relations, solid friendly relations based on respect, trust and mutual understanding, were forged between the Kingdom of Morocco and Ukraine. In the year 2017, we have commemorated the 25th anniversary of the establishment of Diplomatic Relations between our two countries.

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To enhance our beneficial cooperation and further develop it for the betterment of our two friendly peoples, high-ranking officials of both sides had many meetings and high level visits where exchanged by both sides.

It is gratifying that our interstate cooperation is built on a solid foundation that has been steadily expanding, encompassing a wide variety of areas of common interest.

We have witnessed more than a quarter century of substantial bilateral relations and multi-faced cooperation between the two countries, with a highlevel political dialogue, close interaction in International Organizations and common vision shared on various regional and international issues.

In that context, steps were taken towards strengthening the economic cooperation, expanding the legal framework and increasing the people-to-people contacts between Morocco and Ukraine.

To give a strong impetus to their bilateral cooperation, the two countries have encouraged at the political level the creation of parliamentary friendship groups in their respective Parliaments.

In 2019, Morocco and Ukraine signed, in Marrakech, international agreements that will create legal grounds for cooperation between the two states and enhance mutual cooperation in the field of justice. These agreements concerned the legal assistance in criminal proceedings and extradition, on transfer of convicts and on legal aid in civil and commercial.

A Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine and the Ministry of Justice of the Kingdom of Morocco was signed. The memorandum will provide an opportunity for the exchange of knowledge and experience between officials of the two ministries in legal, legislative, organizational and functional spheres.

Celebration by the Kingdom of Morocco, in the 30th of July 2020, of the 21th anniversary of the accession to the Throne of His Majesty King Mohammed VI

Your country plays a key role as economic power in Africa. How can you describe the efforts of the Kingdom in this area?

Africa is home to seven of the world’s ten fastest-growing economies. By 2050, the continent’s population is expected to overtake India’s and China’s, doubling to two billion people. Moreover, those two billion Africans will be younger than their counterparts in every other region of the world. Africa’s rich endowment of natural resources, including about 30 % of the world’s known reserves of minerals and 60 % of the planet’s uncultivated arable land, is already well known to investors.

Morocco provides a potential solution. A bastion of stability on the doorstep of continent, it is also a rising economic power, whose increasing economic and commercial links, across the continent and beyond, and its expanding contributions to regional political stability and security make it an especially attractive portal for investment in Africa.

At the level of cooperatives measures for development, the Kingdom of Morocco has initiated with many African countries a rich and diverse bilateral cooperation, based on a true partnership and effective cohesion, in addition to various programs of trilateral cooperation.

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Deeply rooted in Africa, and considering Africa as its natural home, Morocco has expanded its economic ties and developed strong bilateral relations with many African countries, mainly through trade and investments.

With the important involvement of Moroccan economic operators and their strong engagement, Morocco became a more prominent investor in the African Continent in the areas of banking, insurance, air transport, telecommunications and housing.

The Kingdom which is now the number one investor in West Africa and the second largest investor on the whole continent has signed, since 2000, nearly thousand agreements with African countries, in various fields of cooperation, involving the public as well as the private sector.

2020 is marked by the global health crisis of the Coronavirus, what measures has your country taken to limit the spread of the Virus?

Under the leadership of King Mohammed VI, to manage the COVID-19 health crisis and limit the spread of the pandemic, Morocco was among the first countries to have implemented strict and precautionary measures to curb the spread of the pandemic. This has made of Morocco a model for neighboring countries in terms of managing this health crisis.

Morocco’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, guided by a Royal Vision, is based on the pillars of anticipation, proactivity and the primacy of the health of citizens. This Royal Vision is implemented through an approach associating all officials of Moroccan administrations and public establishments, as well as security forces, to coordinate the implementation of the state of health emergency and make citizens aware of the importance of the measures adopted.

The King Mohammed VI has had to take aggressive, even draconian actions in order to keep the health care system from getting overwhelmed. Action began with early border closures. Authorities shut down air and sea links with Spain and France on March 13th. On the same day, schools, cafes, restaurants, bars, cinemas, sports facilities and other public spaces were closed.

The Supreme Council of Ulemas, Morocco’s highest religious institution, issued a fatwa (religious edict), to close all mosques. On March 15th, the government announced the suspension of all international flights into and out of Morocco.

On March 20th, the State of emergency was officially enacted when the country only had 77 cases, with a nationwide lockdown, along with a nightly curfew from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. during the lockdown all Public events were suspended, movement within cities were firmly controlled, and between cities was banned.

On April 7th, the Moroccans authorities began requiring to all their citizens to wear masks outside their homes. At the time, most other countries were just recommending their use. In response to the new demand, the Ministry of Industry revved up production of masks, with Moroccan factories producing 7 million per day as of early May, some of which are being shipped overseas to countries like France and Spain. Moroccan companies also began producing ventilators in early April and are now exporting them, too.

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On the economic front, His Majesty the King Mohamed VI established a Special Fund for the Management and Response to COVID-19 in March, worth more than $1 billion. It subsequently grew, through contributions from the Kingdom’s leading companies, parliamentarians and Moroccan citizens, to more than $3 billion. Early on, some of this money was used to purchase needed medical equipment, but it also has helped mitigate some of the economic consequences of the pandemic, including through payments of roughly $200 per month to workers who have lost their jobs.

Morocco’s solidarity with African countries in their efforts for curbing the pandemic outbreak were commended worldwide. What are the Kingdom’s contributions to the African continent in this regard?

On June 15th, the King Mohamed VI of Morocco has given the order to send medical aid to 15 African countries to combat COVID-19: 8 million masks, 900,000 protective screens, 600,000 surgical caps, 60,000 gowns, 30,000 liters of hydro alcoholic gel, 75,000 boxes of the drug Chloroquine and 75,000 boxes of the drug azithromycin will be distributed.

This solidarity action is part of the implementation of the Initiative launched by His Majesty the King on 13 April 2020, as a pragmatic and action-oriented approach aimed at sisterly African countries, which allows for an exchange of experiences and good practices and seeks to establish an operational framework to support their efforts in the different phases of the management of the pandemic.

The products and protective equipment that make up the medical aid sent to the African sister countries are manufactured in Morocco by Moroccan companies and comply with the standards of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Today, over four months into the crisis, Morocco has one of the lowest fatality rates (deaths in proportion to total infections) in the world (less than 2.6%) and 90% of the cases have already recovered by imposing strict lockdown rules, Morocco managed to contain a wider spread of the epidemic, sparing the health system and its 9,200 public sector doctors from severe stress.

As lockdown measures are gradually being eased across the territory, Morocco’s social interactions and economic activities are progressively returning to a semi-normal status. The virus threat remains ever-present, requiring close attention from public authorities to avoid a second epidemic wave.