In hot water

Morocco: Stagnation as the four-year wait for ECOWAS persists

By Nina Kozlowski

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Posted on February 9, 2022 08:46

West African leaders meet to decide on Guinea after the coup in Accra
Members of the Ecowas Commission pose for a group photograph before the opening session of the West African leaders’ extraordinary summit on the political situation in Guinea following a coup that ousted President Alpha Conde in Accra, Ghana, September 16, 2021. REUTERS/Kweku Obeng

“Morocco is not in a hurry,” officials often say. But four years after the country applied to join the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), it still has not had an answer.

“There is a real silence, no information is circulating on this project. Morocco has been scalded by the negative reactions of some stakeholders within ECOWAS. Nevertheless, bilateral discussions are still underway,” says economist Larabi Jaïdi, a senior fellow at the Policy Center for the New South.

The day after Morocco applied for membership, ECOWAS gave its “agreement in principle”, before discreetly freezing the process. Under pressure from the private sector in their countries, some ­policymakers have expressed concerns about Moroccan competition, and have launched debates about culture and identity.

Nigeria’s AfCFTA u-turn

This has been the case in Senegal, Ghana and especially Nigeria, which accounts for 40% of regional trade. Having the most to lose, Nigeria had shown reservations about Morocco’s membership and, indeed, about any opening of ECOWAS to another country. But its

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