Morocco in Africa
Morocco’s role as a state that bridges Africa and Europe has been mentioned frequently, and it is aware of its unique geostrategic location. While King Hassan II placed the emphasis on links with the European Union, his son Mohammed VI has placed a firmer emphasis on securing a leading economic and political position in Africa. This is apparent in important economic and diplomatic investments and in a benevolent policy towards immigrants from Sub-Saharan Africa. At the same time, Morocco has also taken on the role of leading state in the fight against Islamic terrorism in the Sahara and Sahel.
These political developments have a history that reaches back to the Middle Ages, when Berber dynasties conquered West Africa. After Morocco gained independence, nationalists developed an ideal of Greater Morocco, which gave modest expression to claims to the Western Sahara. In this Africa policy, the government also uses Islam as a force that binds, for instance in the intensive contact with Sufi orders and scholars from Senegal and in the establishment of an institute to train Imams in Africa.