Morocco will cooperate with Nigeria to develop a chemical platform using the sub-Saharan country's gas reserves. The $1.3 billion facility will produce fertilisers and chemicals such as phosphorous acid and sulphuric acid. The agreement, signed in Casablanca, was announced by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari. "We are on our way to becoming a regional and global fertiliser powerhouse," he said on his Twitter account. He also thanked King Mohammed VI of Morocco for his help "during this difficult but exciting journey".
The new plant, to be developed through cooperation between the two countries, will complement Dangote & Indorama Chemicals' facilities in Nigeria, which produce urea, ammonia and other industrial feedstocks. With this project, African leaders hope to generate jobs and develop rural areas. "We must make a special effort to ensure that Nigeria's rural areas are not neglected. Investments and the creation of employment opportunities must strive to be inclusive," Buhari said. It will also enable Nigerian farmers to access good quality fertilisers at affordable prices to improve the agricultural industry.
Cooperation between Rabat and Abuja has been intense since 2017, when Morocco returned to the African Union and reactivated diplomatic relations. Since then, the two countries have developed a 'strategic partnership'. In 2018, the two states agreed to extend to Morocco a gas pipeline that already connects Nigeria with other countries such as Benin, Togo and Ghana. It was also in that year that the idea of collaborating to create a chemical plant was proposed.
This plan strengthens diplomatic and economic relations between the two African countries and reinforces South-South cooperation in Africa. It also gives a greater economic and industrial dimension to the African continent. "This mutually beneficial partnership between our two countries is a true example of how trade and partnership should work within Africa," Buhari wrote.
For Morocco, this project means industrial growth, both internally and on the continent. According to the Moroccan Industrial and Commercial Property Office, more than 84,000 new companies were created in 2020. Last March, Morocco inaugurated a nuclear technology training centre. Internationally, Rabat continues to boost its economy. In March, Morocco's Manager announced that it had partnered with a Chinese company to mine gold in Sudan. This cooperation with China strengthens relations between the two countries. The Asian giant has financed infrastructure in Morocco, as well as including it in the Silk Road Initiative. However, Mohammed VI also maintains cordial relations with the United States. He cooperates with the US mainly on security and defence issues. Recently, however, economic relations have also been boosted through virtual meetings, especially after the recent significant US support for the solution of autonomy under the sovereignty of the Moroccan kingdom in the Western Sahara conflict.