Dakhla, poised to serve as gateway to west Africa, Sahel

Dakhla, poised to serve as gateway to west Africa, Sahel

Morocco is matching words with actions as far as making the Sahara territory a bridge to the rest of Africa through win-win partnerships.

The Atlantic initiative, spurred by King Mohammed VI, aims to benefit landlocked Sahel countries from the future 1bln Dakhla port and other logistics and infrastructure to help them access global trade and help achieve their sustainable development goals.

The initiative, as expressed in the King’s speech in November, is permeated by a shared development goal that looks at Sahel countries as partners and breaks away with the all-security approaches that relegated human, economic and social development to a lower status.

Morocco believes that the development of neighboring Sahel countries is pre-condition for fostering peace and stability in a region beset by terrorism, climate change, and underdevelopment.

The massive investment push in Morocco’s southern provinces, the Sahara, is thus meant to also benefit neighboring Sahel countries, by offering Morocco’s infrastructure in the territory and beyond to fostering regional trade and, hence, economic integration.

Foreign ministers of Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad have all subscribed- during a summit last month in Marrakech- to the initiative which offers them prospects for overcoming the challenges of being landlocked countries.

Following the example of Tanger med port, now the largest in the Mediterranean, Dakhla port will include industrial free zones to attract export-oriented manufacturers.

The port will span over an area of 1650 hectares and would serve as a maritime transport hub for southern Morocco and West Africa. It will also have a fishing and import-export port 40 kilometers away from Dakhla.

The project was launched under instructions by King Mohammed VI in 2016 in view of its role in unlocking the economic potential of the southern provinces and bolstering ties with Sub-Saharan Africa.

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