Covid-19: the return of Moroccan soft power to sub-Saharan Africa

Has African solidarity regained its meaning thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic? After Madagascar, which has offered boxes of its remedy, the Covid-Organics, to around twenty African countries to help them cope with coronavirus disease, Morocco has joined the same dynamic and is flying to the aid of fifteen sub-Saharan countries with massive medical aid: 8 million masks, 900,000 visors, 600,000 charlottes, 60,000 gowns, 30,000 liters of hydroalcoholic gel, 75,000 boxes of chloroquine and 15,000 boxes of azithromycin, all from factories Moroccan in accordance with the standards required by WHO. It is much more than China and its six million masks distributed to the 54 African states. “King Mohammed VI gave his high instructions for the delivery of medical aid to several brother African countries. This aid aims to provide preventive medical equipment, to support the brother African countries in their efforts to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, “said a press release from the Moroccan Ministry of Health.

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A strong signal for South-South cooperation

Concretely, the Cherifian kingdom quickly went from actions to words. Since Sunday June 14, the cargo of the Royal Air Maroc airline has been active again on the tarmacs of African airports. Nouakchott, Dakar and Niamey were the first capitals to receive these donations of medicines and equipment. “The sending of this aid, made up of medical material and equipment, comes at the right time for us in Mauritania, insofar as it will help support the government in this very difficult period to deal with the spread of the pandemic “Welcomed the head of diplomacy, Ismail Ould Cheikh, in a statement to the Moroccan press agency.

“The extremely important gift that HM the King has kindly made for Senegal in the response to the Covid-19 is the expression of great solidarity and fraternity, but above all of the friendship binding our two peoples ”, underlined the Minister of Health Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr who received on behalf of the Senegalese president Macky Sall this Moroccan medical aid.

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At the time of writing, the flights were continuing, the Congo, Burkina Faso and Guinea have already been delivered. King Mohammed VI had announced in April the launch of a “solidarity action” for African countries to allow “sharing of experiences” in the management of the pandemic. This country of 35 million inhabitants has been relatively spared from the new coronavirus, with 8,793 cases of contamination and 212 officially recorded deaths. But above all the Cherifian kingdom distinguished itself from the start of the crisis by transforming its textile factories into factories for manufacturing masks. Thus, at least 7 million single-use masks and one million cloth masks leave the production lines every day. At a time when the Moroccan authorities have decided to start a more frank deconfinement this week with the reopening of companies, the restart is not as obvious for other countries, especially in the South, and the main international partners are too absorbed in their own challenges.

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Benefit from the kingdom’s experience

It should be noted that this initiative comes at a time when uncertainties are hovering around the acceleration of the pandemic on the African continent, so far relatively spared. According to the World Health Organization, the epidemic is gaining ground. “It took 98 days to reach the 100,000 case mark, and only 18 to cross the 200,000 mark,” said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa, last week: “Even if these cases recorded in Africa represent less than 3% of the world total, it is clear that the pandemic is accelerating. The rapid and early action of African countries has helped keep these figures relatively low, but constant vigilance is needed to prevent the Covid-19 from overwhelming healthcare facilities, ”she added. Although a time submerged by the cases of coronavirus, the sheriff kingdom decided that all the future cases of Covid will be grouped in two health structures located in Benslimane and Benguerer.

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