The agreements reached at the RussiaAfrica Summit and Economic Forum continue to develop in practical ways at the regional level. In December, a delegation from the Moscow Government and the Russian capitals business community visited Morocco, one of Russias main trade and economic partners in Africa. CEO of the ANO Center for the Development of Business Competencies Oleg Gurov took part in the trip and talks about its results:
During the visit, Minister of the Moscow City Government and Head of Department for Foreign Economic Activity and International Relations Sergei Cheryomin and Mayor of Rabat Mohamed Sadiki signed a declaration of intent on cooperation between the cities aimed at establishing an exchange of experience in digital technologies and their application in urban management and planning, environmental protection, and increasing the efficiency of transport infrastructure. The document focuses particular attention on expanding cultural ties and tourism.
A round table for representatives of the Coordinating Council of Russian Compatriots was significant, in my opinion. In particular, the meeting moderator, Coordinating Council Moscow Director Pyotr Gladkov, proposed discussing support measures on the part of the Moscow Government for Russians permanently residing in Morocco.
The «Bilateral Cooperation between Moscow and the Kingdom of Morocco» plenary session took place in Casablanca, with Russian Consul General in Casablanca Andrey Tsybenko, the Deputy Mayors of Rabat and Casablanca, representatives of the Department for Foreign Economic and International Relations, the Moscow Export Center, and Moroccan business circles speaking. Meeting participants spoke about how to make the lives of citizens safer and more comfortable with the help of advanced technologies while continuing to preserve the identity, cultural diversity, and historical heritage of cities.
Indeed, Morocco can boast when it comes to digitalization, as its government is actively implementing the ambitious national Morocco Digital 2020 strategy and according to UNESCO is one of three leaders in Africa and the Middle East in digital services provided. «Digital Transformation and the Creation of a Global Digital Space. Priorities, Prospects, Key Projects» was included in the programme of the visit of the Moscow delegation and had Russian and African colleagues share their experiences with digital platforms and digital data in urban management and analyse current technological threats such as the digital divide. The event was attended by Deputy Head of the Department for External Economic and International Relations of Moscow Alexey Bondaruk, the Deputy Mayors of Rabat and Casablanca, VIP Person.ru Project Manager Olga Podberezkina, and Russian and Moroccan public figures.
Throughout the trip, the parties kept coming back to the 300-year history of relations between the two countries, noting the positive role played by Russia in Moroccos development. Morocco was the first Arab country to enter into diplomatic relations with Russia. In Soviet times, Russia actively helped in the construction of large industrial facilities in the country and in the training of personnel. For example, to this day, two-thirds of pharmaceutical industry specialists in Morocco possess diplomas from Soviet universities. Incidentally, the Moscow Government has agreed to work closely with the Pan-African USSR Alumni Association.
The visitors from Moscow brought more than just business offers with them to Morocco: they also brought a diverse cultural programme. A photo exhibition and a tasting session for Russian cuisine took place as part of the visit. The highlight of the visit was the performance of the Moscow Cossack Choir.