Emirati President Mohamed Bin Zayed (right) and King Mohammed VI of Morocco on Monday in Abu Dhabi.DRISS BENMALEK / MAP (MAP / EFE)
Mohammed VI made his first official trip in five years on Monday, apart from holidays abroad, to seal in the United Arab Emirates the financing of infrastructure projects that will mark the future of Morocco. Accompanied by eight ministers and numerous senior officials, the monarch of the Alawi dynasty has signed a dozen memorandums of understanding together with the head of the Emirati state, Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed, to finance works such as the extension to Marrakesh of his country's high-speed network, the first and only operational on the African continent. or the construction of superports, (along the lines of Tangier Med) in Dakhla (former Spanish Villa Cisneros) in Western Sahara, and Nador, near Melilla.
Morocco's water sector has also been highlighted in the principles of financing agreements concluded with the Emirates. In November, the Spanish group Acciona was commissioned to build and operate, together with two Moroccan companies, the new mega-desalination plant in Casablanca, budgeted at 800 million euros, destined to supply between 550,000 and 820,000 cubic metres of water per day to the seven million inhabitants of the largest metropolitan area of the Maghreb country. The local partner companies are Afriquía Gaz and Green of Africa, both controlled by the family of Moroccan Prime Minister Aziz Ajanuch.
The Emirati investment programme in Morocco between 2024 and 2029 also includes the modernisation of the airports of Casablanca, Marrakesh, Nador and Dakhla. It also includes collaborative projects in the energy sectors, such as green hydrogen, and agriculture, in particular the construction of reservoirs for irrigation. In the field of tourist real estate developments, he specifically mentions the Mediterranean coast of the Rif, the Atlantic coast of Tarfaya, opposite the Canary Islands, and Dakhla, in the former Spanish colony of the Sahara that Morocco has administered since 1975. Rabat finally offers a "strategic cooperation" for the joint exploitation of fertilizer projects, hand in hand with the state-owned company OCP, the world's leading exporter of phosphates, and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, regarding the planned gas pipeline between Nigeria and Morocco.
Since attending the commemoration of the centenary of the end of the First World War in Paris in November 2018, Mohammed VI had not made official visits, except for a formal greeting, last February in Bangui, to the president of Gabon Ali Bongo, who was deposed by a military coup six months later. The Moroccan king was on holiday in the same African country from the end of 2022 until last March. At the beginning of September, he had to interrupt his stay in Paris (where he spent about four months in 2022), a few days after arriving, to urgently return to Rabat after the strong earthquake that shook the Atlas region south of Marrakesh.
With around 12,000 million euros, the United Arab Emirates is the second largest investor in Morocco, behind France. Along with the United Kingdom, Qatar and Spain, it was one of four countries authorized, because of their close relations, to send rescue teams to assist victims of the recent Atlas earthquake, which claimed the lives of nearly three thousand people in rural areas.
Follow all the information from Economía y Negocios on Facebook and X, or in our weekly newsletter
Subscribe to continue reading
Read without limits
I'm already a subscriber