Marrakesh, May 5, 2012 (MAP) Moroccan Foreign Minister Saad Dine El Otmani affirmed, on Saturday, that South-South cooperation is a crucial lever that backs up efforts by the international community in favor of development in Africa. Morocco, a fertile ground for the pan-African collective consciousness to blossom, is considerably contributing to the economic development of the African continent bilaterally and at the tripartite level, with the support of other parties notably Japan, El Otmani said at the fourth Ministerial Follow-up Meeting of Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV), scheduled Saturday and Sunday in Marrakesh. El Otmani said that the Moroccan private sector is a party to the active cooperation between Morocco and African countries, notably in the fields of human development, air transportation, banking services, mining exploitation, vocational training and fisheries. He added that the Kingdom ranks first in terms of investments in West Africa which shows its effective commitment to upgrading and developing the economic fabric of the continent’s countries. Referring to human development and training, the minister said that Morocco hosts 5,700 scholarship holders from 42 African states. On security, El Otmani underlined Morocco’s active participation in peacekeeping and re-construction operations in some African countries. As for development in Africa, he urged African states and their development partners to act immediately in order to lay the bases for a comprehensive vision that would enable Africa to catch up with development and achieve an inclusive and equitable economic growth. Japanese Foreign minister Koichiro Gemba said that the fourth follow-up meeting is a prelude to the TICAD V slated in June 2013 in Yokohama, voicing his country’s irreversible commitment to this process. He recalled that Tokyo mobilized a financial assistance of around 260 million dollars over the past ten years to weather the adverse impact of drought in Africa. Japan also granted Africa 1.3 billion dollars to address the challenges of climate change, in addition to 340 million dollars for fighting serious illnesses, he noted.
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