Morocco's alliances are expanding and it seems that China is becoming a good ally for the Alawi country. The two nations are closing economic deals that mean a strengthening of relations. The National Development and Reform Commission, one of the Asian delegations and under the leadership of Ning Jizhe, has met with Nasser Bourita, the Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Expatriates, through a videoconference in which they signed several economic agreements.
According to EFE news agency, the two regions signed an agreement in the framework of the implementation of China's new Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The signing of these agreements will have positive consequences for both countries, and their main objective is to strengthen economic cooperation and trade exchanges between the two countries and will give priority to the construction of ports, railways and airports that are self-sustainable.
"I take this opportunity to extend my congratulations to the Chinese Communist Party on the occasion of its centenary celebration. The signing of the "Joint Implementation Plan for the New Belt and Road Iniciative" is no coincidence. Between the Kingdom of Morocco and the People's Republic of China they intervene as one of the first, if not the first, diplomatic activity of 2022," Bourita said at the beginning of the call.
The agreement has the mission to promote access to Chinese funding envisaged by the new project, which will facilitate Morocco's trade and, in addition, will carry out great ideas and plans within the borders of the Maghreb country itself. Morocco will thus have access to the funds that China has earmarked for the financing of the plan and the Kingdom will be able to use it. The Moroccan government has also agreed to support large Chinese companies that will set up and invest in Morocco. These firms are mainly in the automotive, aeronautics, technology, e-commerce, agricultural and textile industries.
Also, the agreement obliges the two parties to strengthen their cooperation in conducting research to attract the best in the sectors of technology, energy, agriculture and in matters deriving from vocational training in jobs.
During the speech, the two delegates representing the nations further reinforced the situation of trust between the countries, in addition to dedicating good words to each other. The Moroccan minister stressed that consolidation with China is one of the government's priorities. In addition, he congratulated the good relations that have allowed trade exchanges to grow by 50% in the last five years, since in 2016 they moved between 4 billion dollars, and in 2021 the sum grew to 6 billion. Bourita also pointed out that Chinese tourism in the Kingdom had grown over time, with more than 200,000 Chinese tourists being exempted from visas in 2016.
On the part of the Asian delegation, Jizhe recalled that the economic relationship between the two countries is very good, stressing that Chinese direct investments to the Kingdom have reached the figure of 380 million dollars, which initially have been destined to cover infrastructure projects, telecommunications, and the fisheries sector and activities of this. He also insisted on the need to strengthen communication and to activate the plan now to prioritise sectors such as infrastructure, trade, industry, investment, agriculture, energy, education, culture, among others.
"First of all, we will deepen and refine our communication mechanism. We need to communicate more closely and make full use of existing communication platforms. We could establish a regular consultation routine to communicate the difficulties, obstacles and bottlenecks we face in implementing this plan. We must ensure that the plan is implemented effectively and efficiently," said Jizhe.
The "Belt and Road Iniciative" project was launched in 2013, and today has around 140 countries participating, pushing for connection and cooperation on a transcontinental scale. Morocco joined the idea in 2017 and with the new agreements reiterates its commitment.
The relationship between the two nations is better than ever, and, over the last year, there has been news about this, in addition to the increase of Chinese companies within Moroccan territory and the signing of several projects.