Morocco readmitted to African Union after 33 years

31 Jan 17

Morocco has rejoined the African Union after more than three decades out in the cold over a territorial dispute, it was announced yesterday.


The North African nation became the only one on the continent not to belong to the AU after withdrawing its membership from the AU’s predecessor 33 years ago when the body recognised the independence of the Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara.

Morocco applied to rejoin last year, amid speculation that it hoped to use diplomatic channels within the AU to oppose the Western Sahara’s independence movement.

But member states have reportedly set the disagreement over the disputed territory to one side, with plans to resolve it later once Morocco is back in the fold.

According to Al Jazeera, some member states opposed bringing Morocco back into the AU because of the status of the Western Sahara.

But Lamine Baali, ambassador of Western Sahara to Ethiopia and the AU, said the country has been readmitted based on the “understanding that Western Sahara will remain a member of the AU in its own right.

AU members might have been swayed to let Morocco back in despite what they see as unsavoury territorial ambitions because of the country’s relative wealth.

With many concerned that the AU is too reliant on funding from sources outside of Africa, Morocco’s financial support for the project will be welcome.

The International Monetary Fund has highlighted that Morocco’s economy is worse off than it has been historically, despite being in a better position than many of its African neighbours.  

Last year saw the country’s growth slow sharply and a high unemployment rate, particularly among the country’s youth (21.8%).

While conditions have improved in the past four or five years, the IMF said the economy is still sluggish and that risks remain high.

The fund’s board called for the reduction of public debt and accelerated tax reforms. Also, well-implemented fiscal decentralisation and civil service reform would help to contain the wage bill, it added.  

Did you enjoy this article?

Related articles

Have your say


CIPFA latest

Most popular

Most commented

Events & webinars