Interview: Ties between China, Morocco consolidate basis of cooperation: ambassador
Last December, the Chinese Culture Center was inaugurated in the Moroccan capital Rabat. A Chinese-themed bookseller and a Chinese medicine center are expected to be launched in Rabat and Casablanca respectively this year.
Since 1975, a total of 1,784 Chinese medical personnel have provided service to Moroccan people across the country. Now, a medical team of 78 members are helping Moroccans in different regions.
The Chinese Culture Center, set up as part of the Belt and Road Initiative, has held a series of events to let the Moroccans know and understand better about Chinese culture, serving as an important bridge linking peoples of both countries, said Li.
Tourism serves as an important way to cast away stereotypes of a country, said Li, elaborating that previously, the perception of Moroccans about China is deeply influenced by the Western media, while as more Chinese have travelled here, the Moroccans get to know a real and modern China through communication with Chinese people.
Since 1009, Morocco has established three Confucius Institutes in Rabat, Casablanca and Tangier respectively, with thousands of registered students.
Since Morocco has announced the visa waiver for Chinese citizens in June 2016, the number of Chinese tourists to Morocco has increased from less than 20,000 per year to some 1100,000 in 2018, according to the Moroccan Ministry of Tourism.
In addition, cultural communication between China and Morocco is flourishing during past years.
Also, the large number of Chinese tourists has generated remarkable revenues for Morocco's tourism-dependent economy, boosting the development of the North African country and promoting trade between the two countries, said Li.
The growing number of Chinese tourists has encouraged many Moroccans to learn Mandarin and know about Chinese culture, and the authorities of both countries have vowed to support Mandarin teaching in Morocco to meet the increasing demand.
China and Morocco have witnessed in recent years increasing exchanges in sectors including tourism, culture and healthcare, said Li.
The Chinese ambassador hailed tourism as a new form of economic cooperation between China and Africa. "As cooperation based on infrastructure projects or natural resource exploitation is traditionally dominated by large enterprises, tourism usually involves participation of Chinese citizens, adding new insight and vitality to the conventional cooperation."
Morocco enjoys a unique geographical advantage, which allows it become an important hub in China-Africa cooperation, China-Arab cooperation and China-EU cooperation, concluded Li.
The ambassador proudly told Xinhua that the Moroccans are grateful to the help of the Chinese doctors over the past 100 years. "Chefchaouen's health director told me that half of the city's population were born in deliveries that were aided by Chinese doctors."
RABAT, March 26 (Xinhua) -- The growing ties between Chinese and Moroccan peoples have consolidated the basis for cooperation between the two countries, said Li Li, Chinese ambassador to Morocco, in a recent interview with Xinhua.