Socio-economic development of Moroccan Sahara highlighted in Geneva
The socio-economic development of Morocco’s southern provinces was highlighted by experts during a virtual side-event organized Tuesday by the support Group for the Kingdom’s territorial integrity in Geneva, which musters the permanent missions of 32 countries.
Placed under the theme “Deserts: transforming challenges into opportunities for sustainable territorial development”, this conference, moderated by Morocco’s Permanent Representative in Geneva Omar Zniber, focused on the challenges and issues related to the development of desert and arid areas around the world.
Initiated on the sidelines of the ongoing 47th session of the Human Rights Council, this event, which was attended by several heads of missions in Geneva, diplomatic staff, NGOs, experts and academics, was an opportunity to discuss the various projects launched in the Saharan provinces, how to meet the various challenges and create modern infrastructure, and achieve a territorial development ensuring stability and dignified life to the population of this part of the Kingdom.
The event shed light on the remarkable development of infrastructure and basic social services in the southern provinces, thanks to the huge investments injected in the region.
In this regard, Henri Louis Vedie, economist and professor at l’Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales (HEC) in Paris, highlighted the remarkable growth witnessed in the Sahara provinces, substantiating his statement with figures. He cited among other things, “the construction of nearly 10,000 km of roads, including dual carriageways, while there were only some 300 km, at the time of the recovery by Morocco of its southern provinces, the development of the educational system, vocational training, universities, and the enhancement of local resources”.
For her part, president of the International Alliance for Sustainable Development Goals, Pascale Fressoz, welcomed the achievements made in Morocco under the leadership of King Mohammed VI in the fulfilment of the sustainable development goals. In her presentation, she laid focus on the Moroccan model in the field of renewable and alternative energy.
Nour-Eddine Obbad, international consultant and author of books on sustainable development, emphasized the correlation between development in arid and desert regions, and the involvement of local communities through decentralization and devolution of powers to territorial administrations. He hailed in this vein the implementation of advanced regionalization with the direct involvement of the population in the southern provinces in the accomplishments already achieved.
Elouali Aailal, professor at the National School of Commerce and Management (ENCG) of Dakhla, highlighted the important projects developed by the ENCG of Dakhla as a platform for research on development in desert and arid areas, in cooperation with many institutions and research academies around the world, especially in Africa, but also in other similar areas, including Australia and Latin America.