Speaking at a joint press conference with Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama, Cape Verde Foreign Minister, Cooperation and Regional Integration Minister Rui Alberto De Figueiredo Soares and Foreign Minister Cooperation Francophonie, Regional Integration and Gabonese Abroad, Michaël Moussa-Adamo, at the end of it The 1st Ministerial Meeting of the Atlantic African States, crowned by the Rabat Declaration, indicated to Mr Bourita that Atlantic Africa, which has enormous potential to be exploited, is at the same time facing major challenges that need to be addressed. , and insist, in this regard, on a necessary restructuring of this geostrategic space.
Having noted that this ministerial meeting is being held in accordance with the high guidelines of HM King Mohammed VI, inscribed within the framework of the Royal Vision on South-South Cooperation and also within the framework of the interest which the Sovereign has given to this space conducive to cooperation between African countries, Mr Bourita said interest in the Atlantic dates back to the 1980s, when a conference of African Maritime Fisheries Ministers was held, in addition to the Moroccan initiative launched in 2009 in favor of the promotion of the Afro-Atlantic space, which has long benefited from a strong will, expressed by the sovereign and expelled by Moroccan diplomacy.
He also welcomed the “success” of this 1st Ministerial Meeting of the Atlantic African States in light of the number and level of representation of the participating countries represented by 15 ministers, ie. one third of the countries of Atlantic Africa, in addition to the results of concrete results, maintaining that the level of participation illustrates the relevance of this initiative driven by King Mohammed VI, and which is also the fruit of the interest that African countries attach to coordination and consultation within this important geostrategic space.
“It was therefore necessary for African countries to take the initiative to work together to restructure this space,” said Mr. Bourita, due to the fact that the North Atlantic is structured, while the South Atlantic is still not.
Referring to the objectives of this meeting, he said that it is mainly aimed at re-establishing cooperation between the Atlantic African states and also the development of a common vision as well as common and coordinated responses to the challenges posed by this space and taking into account its potentials.
In supportive figures, he stated that this area represents 46% of the African population, 55% of the African domestic product and 57% of the African trade, in addition to the fact that it is the scene of 90% of the maritime events that take place in world before pointing out that the Atlantic Ocean faces environmental challenges such as rising sea levels estimated at 3.6 millimeters per year, affecting tourism, urban planning and economic activities on the coast.
He announced in this context that it had been decided to set up three working groups on security and peace, the blue economy and the environment and its impact on the African states of the Atlantic, in addition to the reactivation of a permanent General Secretariat acting in a fluid manner. way, based in Rabat, and who will be responsible for coordinating the work of the ministerial meetings.
It was also decided to set up national liaison points with a view to making the Atlantic a space for action for all ministerial departments and national stakeholders, he said, before specifying that the next phase of action would be carried out within a single team due to the existence of a common identity and that “We are all Atlantic Africans”.
Nigeria’s Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama, for his part, stressed that this ministerial meeting is an opportunity to institutionalize efforts aimed at promoting this vital space and preserving its potential to serve the interests of the African African states and their prosperity that welcome the Moroccan initiative behind welcome the holding of this important conclave.
He also believed that “political dialogue and security” is fundamental to the prosperity of the African continent as a whole, indicating that “the African Atlantic is full of enormous resources, but unfortunately remains fragile in the face of the many security challenges stilles “.
The head of Nigerian diplomacy mentioned, among other things, the problems of terrorism, organized and cross-border crime, piracy, human trafficking, drugs and weapons, as well as disputes over maritime borders.
He pointed out in this regard that maritime security threats in the Atlantic African region hamper the development of investment and economic growth, while affecting the stability and security of the countries. Therefore, for him, the absolute need to design national approaches in line with the challenges posed at local level, and this, in the context of coordination between African states, also advocates capacity building, the promotion of education and the exchange and sharing of good practice.
With regard to Cape Verde’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Regional Integration, Rui Alberto De Figueiredo Soares, he mentioned the issue of the blue economy and connectivity and mentioned the challenges that threaten the diversity environment in this vital area, including pollution, excessive and inappropriate exploitation. of resources that call for the adoption of a balanced approach that guarantees both food security and sustainability.
In this regard, the leader of Cape Verdean diplomacy called on the African Atlantic States to attach paramount importance to maritime scientific research, while deploring the fragility of the island nations in this geographical area in the face of risks posed by climate change. close and complex coherence that exists between geostrategic issues in the world.
For his part, Michaël Moussa-Adamo, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Cooperation, Francophony, Regional Integration and Gabonese Abroad, reaffirmed that this first ministerial meeting between the Atlantic African states represents an opportunity to emphasize the urgency of consolidating South-South Africa. cooperation, and welcomes the commitment of HM King Mohammed VI in favor of reactivating this geostrategic space.
Referring to the issue of environment and energy, the leader of Gabon’s diplomacy called for the reactivation of African renewable energy mechanisms in the region, an essential precondition, in his view, for promoting energy self-sufficiency and diversification of energy sources, accommodating initiatives and efforts that have proven their effectiveness in relation to environmental conservation.
The opportunity for him to advocate for innovative solutions and joint actions in favor of consolidating initiatives dedicated to the energy transition in the light of the energy resources available to the Atlantic African states, while emphasizing the importance of developing solutions within for renewable energy from hydraulics.
The discussions of the first ministerial meeting of the Atlantic African states were sanctioned by the adoption of the “Rabat Declaration”.
In this declaration, the Ministers of the African African States welcomed King Mohammed VI’s vision to make the African Atlantic area a framework for pragmatic and timely inter-African cooperation, as well as the sovereign’s commitment to reactivate this geostrategic framework for consultations. Atlantic African countries.
They also decided to set up three thematic groups dealing with political dialogue and security dialogue, the blue economy, maritime relations and energy, as well as sustainable development and the environment, stressing the importance of optimizing the African Atlantic for more coordinated and coordinated governance. of migration management.
Held at the invitation of Morocco with the participation of 21 countries on the Atlantic coast, of which about fifteen are represented at ministerial level, the 1st Ministerial Meeting of the Atlantic African States was an opportunity to devise a common African vision of this vital space, to promote an African Atlantic identity and defend the continent’s strategic interests with one voice.