Morocco poised to outperform Spain as western Mediterranean maritime hub- Austrian Think Tank

Morocco’s investments in its ports and rail infrastructure will help the country become a dominant maritime hub in the region and create a corridor between Europe and West Africa, said the Austrian Institute for European and Security Studies (AIES).

In a detailed analysis signed by senior fellow Michaël Tanchum, the AIES sheds lights on Morocco’s achievements under the ledaership of a “visionary monarch” and points to the North African Kingdom’s attractiveness to investments.

“By massively expanding the port capacity on its Mediterranean coast, Morocco has surpassed Spain and is poised to become the dominant maritime hub in the western Mediterranean,” Tanchum said.

Morocco’s Tangier Med port is the busiest in Africa and the largest in terms of container capacity in the Mediterranean. The country is also planning a $1 billion port in the southern province of Dakhla and another large port in Nador, in addition to industrial ports dedicated to liquefied natural gas and phosphates.

Ports in addition to high-speed rail, the fastest in Africa, have offered global car manufacturers a logistics hub to export their products across the globe.

“Having constructed Africa’s first high-speed rail line, Morocco’s extension of the line to the Mauritanian border, will transform Morocco into the preeminent connectivity node in the nexus of commercial routes that connect West Africa to Europe and the Middle East,” Tanchum said.

Thanks to this asset, Morocco has become a hotspot for global competition between French, Chinese, Russian and Gulf companies, which rush to grab investment opportunities in the country.

Morocco has also made sure to diversify its trading and strategic partners, attracting investments in the automotive sector from French leading carmakers and part suppliers from China and the US. Cars have been topping Morocco’s exports in recent years.

The author notes that while the French have dominated investments in the rail sector, the Russians look to build a refinery in northern Morocco while Chinese companies built Morocco’s impressive suspended bridge, the longest in Africa, and plan to build Tangier Tech city, an industrial high tech hub in northern Morocco.

Morocco has “combined the soft power resources of Morocco’s ‘triple heritage’ -Arab, African, and Mediterranean- with an ambitious modernization of its transportation and industrial infrastructure to remake Morocco into the hub of a new trans-regional commercial architecture connecting Africa to Europe and the Middle East,” he said.

As a leader in Africa, Morocco stood out in the financial sector offering the continent a hub in its Casablanca Finance City, which has been recognized as Africa’s most important financial center, he noted.

Morocco has also stood out globally thanks to its forward-looking energy transition plan with Noor Ouarzazate project, the largest concentrated solar power plant in the globe, the paper recalls.

“Morocco’s West-Africa-to-Western-Europe commercial transportation corridor is redefining the geopolitical parameters of the global scramble for Africa and, with it, the strategic architecture of the Mediterranean basin,” he said.

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