Morocco: Launch of Multi-Billion Dollar Development Projects in Moroccan Sahara

Morocco: Launch of Multi-Billion Dollar Development Projects in Moroccan Sahara


WASHINGTON, DC (MACP)- Last week, Morocco’s King Mohammed VI concluded a week-long trip to southern Morocco during which he presided over the launch of numerous infrastructure projects in Laâyoune and Dakhla. There, officials released details of an $8 billion development plan designed to “make the Moroccan Sahara a hub for communication and exchange with sub-Saharan African countries,” as promised by the King in November.

In Laâyoune on February 5, the King launched the construction of a new Phosboucraa fertilizer plant; a new port to facilitate shipments; and the Foum El Oued technology park, or Technopole, which will serve as a platform for research and development and will be the site of the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University. Altogether, the investment, made in part by OCP Group subsidiary Phosboucraa and the Phosboucraa Foundation, amounts to nearly $2 billion and will support a community of thousands.

In Dakhla on February 8 and 9, the King presided over the opening of a new fish market; the “Oued Massa” seawater desalination vessel, which can supply 20 liters of drinking water per day per person to 75,000 inhabitants; and the Azura Aquaculture farm, which boasts state-of-the-art facilities for water filtration, phytoplankton production, and spawning and fertilization, as well as a laboratory, a micro-nursery area and a nursery. Regional representatives announced public-private investments to the tune of $3 billion for projects including Dakhla’s Atlantic port, the development of aquaculture, a new water desalination plant, expansion of the seafood industry, educational and cultural initiatives, road infrastructure improvements, dam and other water management projects, the healthcare sector, and environmental conservation efforts.

Announced by the King in a November speech from Laâyoune marking the 40th anniversary of the Green March, the investment is the next step in Morocco’s regionalization plan — which aims to devolve power to local and regional governments. It is also designed to make the Southern Provinces a hub for business in Africa. And, as King Mohammed VI said in November, “by starting to implement advanced regionalization and adopting a development model, Morocco wishes to increase the chances of finding a lasting solution to the artificial dispute over our territorial integrity.”

“This massive investment is a clear and concrete demonstration of King Mohammed VI’s and Morocco’s commitment to prosperity and growth for the people of the Moroccan Sahara,” said former US Ambassador to Morocco Edward M. Gabriel. “But it’s also a key element in Morocco’s ongoing efforts to democratize by empowering local populations.”

The Moroccan American Center for Policy.