Morocco, China Take Action to Step up Strategic Partnership

Morocco and China convened to bolster their strategic partnership through lending support to the “Belt and Road Initiative”.

The announcement was made in Beijing during a meeting between visiting Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita and State Councilor Yang Jiechi.

During their talks, Yang, a member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), said the 19th CPC National Congress has set the country on a “new journey” toward a modern socialist country.

China is committed to building a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind, he said.

He called on both sides to implement the consensus reached by Chinese President Xi Jinping and King Mohammed VI and upgrade bilateral cooperation through joint construction of the Belt and Road.

On the occasion of the Moroccan Foreign Minister’s visit to China a MoU was signed to speed up efforts aiming at achieving the “Belt and Road Initiative,” which Morocco was the first African country to join in 2013.

The agreement, signed by Chinese Foreign minister, Wang Yi, and Bourita, provides for Morocco’s active contribution to the initiative to enable it to establish multi-stakeholder partnerships in promising sectors, such as infrastructure, advanced industries and technology, in addition to strengthening the country’s role in achieving growth in Africa, given its geographical position and the importance of its infrastructure (airports, roads, ports).

In a speech addressed to the Summit of the Forum on Sino-African Cooperation, held in December 2015, King Mohammed VI welcomed the Chinese President’s launch of the “Belt and Road initiative”, which constitutes a “genuine strategic vision” in bilateral and multilateral relations and aims to connect Asian, European and African countries more closely.

Chinese investments in Morocco have increased following King Mohammed VI’s visit to China in 2016, rising from 2 million dirhams in 2011 to 393 millions dirhams in 2015.

Last October, Morocco and the China Association for Industrial Cooperation (CAIC) have agreed to set up an economic zone in Fez offering a platform for various industries, a deal that reflects China’s increasing interest in Morocco notably after the Kingdom signed with Chinese Haite Group an agreement to set up a $10 billion industry and technology hub in Tangier, which will create 100,000 jobs in the long run.

The growing interest of Chinese firms in Morocco is also mirrored, inter alia, in the setting up of an office of the Bank of China in Casablanca in March 2016 as part of Morocco’s Casablanca Finance City initiative, as well as the announcement of Yangtse Automobile of a $100 million investment in Tangier to produce electric cars and buses for export to Europe. The project is expected to create 2,000 jobs.

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