Niger’s Prime Minister Receives Warm Welcome in Rabat from Aziz Akhannouch

Soukaina Sghir
Soukaina Sghir
2 Min Read
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The Prime Minister of Niger, Ali Mahamane Lamine Zeine, is presently on a diplomatic mission to Morocco for what has been termed a “working and friendship” visit. Since the recent regime change, Niger has been seeking to revitalize its strategic partnerships, and Morocco aims to position itself as a credible ally for Niamey. This marks a new phase of the “Atlantic Alliance” initiated last December in Marrakech between Morocco and several Sahelian countries.

In late December 2023, Morocco convened a meeting of the Foreign Ministers from Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger in Marrakech. The focus: opening up to the Atlantic Ocean and thereby alleviating the landlocked status of these Sahelian countries.

The outcome was an economic and geopolitical alliance. It is in continuation of this summit that Lamine Zeine’s visit to Rabat is being conducted. He met yesterday, Wednesday, with his counterpart Aziz Akhannouch, accompanied by the Ministers of Defense and Foreign Affairs.

Demonstrating the importance Morocco places on its ties with Niger, Lamine Zeine is expected, according to his office, to be received by King Mohammed VI during his stay.

For Morocco, the shifts in power dynamics in the Sahel present an opportunity to establish a foothold in the region, with numerous objectives in mind. In the short term, this allows the kingdom to position itself as an indispensable intermediary for Western powers struggling to engage with the new regimes. Furthermore, it ensures recognition of its national cause—the Western Sahara—by both traditional allies and neighboring countries.

Engagement in a Regional Leadership Battle with Algeria

Looking ahead, Morocco aims to secure the Nigeria-Europe gas pipeline project, where it competes with Algeria. Rabat envisions a route passing through the Atlantic coast and coastal countries, while Algiers advocates for a route through Niger and its territory. This sets the stage for a regional leadership battle between the two North African powers.

Soukaina Sghir

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