By Jean-Baptiste CALO
The President of the Republic of Vanuatu, Fr Baldwin Lonsdale was awarded yesterday with the prestigious Crans Montana Foundation 2017 Award or Prix de Fondation 2017 for his achievements and role played in his capacity of Vanuatu Head of State in helping to restore hope and ensuring peace and unity among the people and communities of Vanuatu during perilous times such as after the devastation caused by the passage of the category 5 tropical cyclone Pam in March 2015.
The founder of the Crans Montana Forum, Mr. Jean-Paul Carteron who is also the Solomon Islands Ambassador to Unesco explained that the Crans Montana Foundation Award and the Gold Award are awarded to few distinguished recipients who are identified each year for their achievements and contribution towards the betterment of the livelihood of their people. The two awards have been created since the creation of the annual Crans Montana Forum in 2015.
After receiving his Award, the Vanuatu Head of State thanked the Moroccan authorities and the Crans Montana Foundation for choosing and finding him worthy to get that award..
“I am humbled and honored that the Crans Montana Forum and the King of Morocco Mohammed Hussein VI have selected me to be a recipient of this prestigious award”, President Lonsdale said a the official handing over ceremony and closing of the first part of the Crans Montana Leaders Forum in Dakhla South Morocco yesterday.
In the third edition of the Crans Montana Forum 2017, there were only two recipients of the Crans Montana Foundation Award. The first one was awarded to the Vanuatu President Baldwin Lonsdale and the second one to the President of the Nigerian Senate, His Excellency Abubakar Bukola Saraki for his contribution to the improvement of the livelihood of the people in his province. Mr Saraki has introduced reforms in the agriculture sector and has initiated energy project that have contributed to boost the economic returns of farmers and alleviate poverty increase the comfort in the lives of 90 % of the people in his province of Kwara region in Nigeria.
Apart from that, few Crans Montana Forum Gold Awards 2017 were awarded to distinguished recipients from various African countries including two Ministers from the Solomon Islands who were rewarded yesterday for their respective contributions in enhancing health services and gender equality in their home country.
2nd Part of Crans Montana Forum 2017 takes place on Rapsody Cruise Ship
The second part of the Crans Montana Forum 2017 is currently taking place on the GMV Rapsody Italian luxury cruise ship during two days and two nights as the 1000 delegates are travelling aboard of the vessel towards the Moroccan tourism capital of Casablanca in the next couple of days.
The Vanuatu Government has established diplomatic ties with Morocco in 1997 when Rialuth Serge Vohor was then the Minister for Foreign affairs.
Few Vanuatu students are currently benefiting from a Moroccan scholarship and are currently studying in Rabat, the capital city of the Kingdom of Morocco.
But there are still plenty of room for negotiations to ensure that Vanuatu good get the best out of the existing diplomatic relationship between Port-Vila and Rabat and particularly at this point in time where the Moroccan Authorities through the Crans Montana Foundation are calling upon the SIDS to come forward and engage serious talks with the government line agencies in Rabat to materialize their specific and detailed assistance package with the kingdom of Morocco.
Morocco is Proposing more Assistance to the SIDS
For the last decade Moroccan has started to play a major role in the African Union and in reaching out to provide assistance to Sub-Saharan African countries and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in various sectors.
The Kingdom of Morocco is now offering scholarships and training in various development sectors such as medicine, education, Information Technology, engineering to students from African countries and from the SIDS who are undergoing training and studies in Moroccan prestigious universities mostly in the Capital city, Rabat and in Casablanca.
During the SIDS conference this week, the Moroccan authorities have reiterated to the SIDS representatives who were present at the Forum that the Government of Rabat is keen to assist Small Island Developing States. While speaking at the SIDS conference yesterday, the representative of the Moroccan Government has invited government representatives from the SIDS in the conference to open this week, bilateral meetings with the authorities in Rabat to conclude potential agreements.
Since its independence from France in 1957, the Kingdom of Morocco has prospered and is well known today in the world for its service sector and particularly for its booming tourism industry, its rich culinary culture and for its textile industry.
Morocco’s economy is considered a relatively liberal economy governed by the law of supply and demand. Since 1993, the country has followed a policy of privatization of certain economic sectors which used to be in the hands of the government.
Morocco has become a major player in the African economic affairs and is the 5th African Economy by GDP. Morocco was ranked the 1st African country by the Economist Intelligence Unity quality-of-life index, ahead of South Africa. However, Morocco has since then slipped into fourth place behind Egypt but ahead of Angola.
The services sector accounts for just over half of GDP and industry, made up of mining, construction and manufacturing, is an additional quarter. The industries that recorded the highest growth are tourism, telecoms, information technology, and textile.
The Kingdom of Morocco which became independent from France in 1957 is a sovereign country located in the Maghreb region of North Africa. Geographically, Morocco is characterized by a rugged mountainous interior, large tracts of desert, and a lengthy coastline along the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.
It has a population of almost 34 million inhabitants and an area of 446,550 km2. Its capital is Rabat and the largest city is Casablanca. Other major cities are Marrakesh (a renown tourism destination), Tangier, Tetouan, Sal, Fes, Agadir, Meknes, Oujda, Kenitra and Nador.