The Council of the Dakhla-Oued ed Dahab region, chaired by Khattat Yanja, approved the contract for the implementation of priority regional development projects for the period 2020-2022. The 14 projects to be implemented amount to 574 million Moroccan dirhams (MAD) - just over 50 million euros. The project's main objectives include improving the economic attractiveness of the region, strengthening the road infrastructure and promoting higher education. The session was attended by the governor of the province of Oued Eddahab, Lamine Benomar, and the governor of Aoussred, Abderrahmane El Jaouhari.
The 14 approved projects are part of the regional development programme, based on three fundamental pillars: "Competitiveness and attractiveness of the territory", "sustainability and development" and "social and territorial cohesion". The budget of 574 million MAD has been distributed among these three.
The first of these, related to the competitiveness and attractiveness of the territory, will have nine projects and a budget of 264 million dirhams - almost 25 million euros - nearly half of the total budget approved at the Council session. Efforts in this sector will focus on the rehabilitation of the liquid sanitation network in businesses outside the industrial region on Boulevard Mohammed V, the construction and equipping of the entrepreneurs' house in Dakhla, and the Bir Gandouz centre.
Almost the remainder of the budget (290 million MAD) will be absorbed by three projects related to the development of a logistics zone in the port of Dakhla in West Africa, the development of a coastal site in El Argoub and an investment earmarked for beach improvements. Several ministries will contribute 170 million dirhams to the programme. The Ministry of Equipment, Transport, Logistics and Water will make the largest contribution (100 million dirhams), followed by the Ministry of National Education, Vocational Training, Higher Education and Science (45 million dirhams). In addition, the Ministry of Industry, Trade, Green and Digital Economy and the Ministry of Health will also contribute MAD 25 million.
President Yanja said in an official statement that the holding of the ordinary session of the Council of Dakhla-Oued ed Dahab, held in Guerguerat, was "to mark the national epic that unfolded in this important area for the Kingdom". He also stressed that all these projects are aimed at consolidating the economy with a vision of turning the southern provinces into real economic poles.
On the other hand, one has to take into consideration the difficulties that the region of Guerguerat is facing due to its geographical location on the border crossing that connects Western Sahara with Mauritania. According to Military Agreement Number 1, signed by the United Nations (UN), Morocco and the Polisario Front, this region cannot have any military presence. However, the Front has repeatedly denounced Morocco's violation of the agreement. The Alawi kingdom argued that they were using the crossing for the transfer of goods to other African countries, although the Polisario considered this to be equally illegal.
The conflict, which had been far from the media spotlight for some time, was reopened a few months ago when the Polisario Front announced the end of the ceasefire, which had been in force since 1991. A consequence of this was the position of former US President Donald Trump, who recognised Moroccan sovereignty over the territory of Western Sahara. Although the new occupant of the White House, Joe Biden, has yet to make a statement on the matter, he has received the support of more than 250 political leaders to reaffirm what was one of Trump's last messages as president. A large part of the international community understands that the recognition of the Sahara as part of Morocco's sovereignty is postulated as the only viable long-term solution.