The Instituto Coordenadas para la Gobernanza y la Economía Aplicada in its working group on North Africa, concludes in its latest study
- Morocco places the Sahara at the heart of its social and economic development strategy.
- Since 2015, Rabat has invested $8 billion to turn the Sahara region into a major economic hub as a bridge between sub-Saharan Africa and Europe.
MADRID, Oct. 24, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Contrary to the much-abused cliché, Morocco has demonstrated its strategic commitment to the Sahara’s development. For Rabat, the promotion of the region’s well-being and economic progress are major objectives that cut across the country’s own development plans. With the aim of accelerating the Sahara’s development and socio-economic integration, Morocco launched an ambitious $8 billion project in 2015.
The New Development Model for the Southern Provinces, as the project has been dubbed, revolves around infrastructures aimed at structuring the territory of the Sahara region which includes the Tiznit-Elaayoune-Dajla motorway and the Lamhiriz fishing and the Dakhla Atlantique ports. The programme includes creating a maritime freight line between Casablanca and Dakhla, establishing nautical connections between the Canary Islands and Tarfaya and Laayoune. Additionally, the program also features the construction of a University Hospital Centre in El Ayoun and a Technopolis in Fum El-Ued, demonstrating Morocco’s strong commitment to the region and its inhabitants.
Morocco’s objective is to make this region the logistical and economic bridge between Europe and sub-Saharan Africa.
By the end of 2018, 48% of the objectives had already been achieved, giving a strong perceived boost to socio-economic momentum, increasing the creation of companies, jobs and attracting investment. The region’s renewable energy potential, both solar and wind, is driving much of the investment. This reality, which aims to contribute to the four large solar power plants and up to eleven wind farms, will make Morocco a leader in renewable energy on the continent. Morocco will not only achieve energy self-sufficiency but also be able to export a significant percentage of the EU’s energy needs.
Some international actors such as the African Union and the European Union, faced with the Western Sahara issue, are significantly holding back the region’s development potential, both in social and economic terms. Because of this, the actions of the United States and Spain in defense of the resolution of the conflict through the political route provided by autonomy within the framework of the Alawi kingdom are so important and provide the impetus for progress, stability and improvement in this area. It is not just economic development; it is the people living in the Sahara that are at stake.