King Mohammed VI of Morocco ended an 18-day tour of West and Central Africa in Gabon on Saturday.

The royal trip was seen as a prime opportunity to boost Moroccan economic and political influence in the region.

Yet, there is lesser-known side to the king's connections across Africa, according to Ismaïl Regragui, a researcher at the Paris Centre for International Studies and Research and author of a book on Morocco's religious diplomacy.

He told RFI's Thomas Hubert that Mohammed VI's status as the spiritual leader of Maliki Islam, a moderate school of Sunni Islam, helped him strengthen international business and diplomatic ties.

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