The Head of the Moroccan government Saad Eddine El Othmani and his Portuguese counterpart Antonio Costa vowed to join efforts in order to tap into development as well as investment and business opportunities in Africa through the setting up of a mutually beneficial tripartite partnership.
Speaking at the Moroccan-Portuguese economic forum Tuesday, held on the sidelines of the high-level meeting, Portuguese Prime Minister set the tone of promising prospects in ever-increasing economic ties between his country and Morocco, which, he said, braces for joining the Economic Community of West African states.
He said that the development efforts led by Morocco in favor of Africa offer opportunities for Portuguese enterprises that are willing to partner with Moroccan counterparts in setting up joint projects in “the continent of the future”.
“Morocco is playing a leading role in Africa…We are capable of developing triangular cooperation in Africa,” said Costa at the forum, held under the theme “Synergies for industrial co-investment”.
He also pointed to the undersea power link project that will be ready in 2020, saying it is a large-scale project that also serves as a reminder of how close the two countries are. Rabat is closer geographically to Lisbon than Madrid, he noted.
The Portuguese Premier also recalled the long standing ties between the two countries citing the signature of the Treaty of Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation in 1994, which offers a “solid basis” for strengthening bilateral ties at all levels.
For his part, Morocco’s government chief said that economic ties between the two countries have witnessed steady growth in the last couple of years, underscoring the Kingdom’s position as a hub for enterprises willing to expand in Africa.
In this respect, El Othmani said that promoting development in Africa is a Moroccan foreign policy priority, adding that much needs to be done in terms of setting up adequate infrastructure in Africa. In this context, he invited Moroccan and Portuguese entrepreneurs to cooperate in order to seize the investment opportunities in the continent.
He also expressed satisfaction with Morocco becoming the second economic partner for Portugal in Africa and the first in North Africa.
The high-level meeting was crowned by the signing of 12 agreements in the fields of economy, energy, culture, civil service and health, as well as triangular cooperation with third countries.
Some 300 Portuguese companies operate in Morocco with bilateral trade reaching an annual average of €1 billion.
Between 2010 and 2014, Morocco imports from Portugal grew 82% while its exports rose by 131%. Morocco was ranked the tenth destination of Portuguese exports.