King Mohammed VI said Morocco is willing to put its road, port and rail infrastructure at the disposal of Sahel countries, as he urged the creation of an international initiative to provide neighbouring Sub-Saharan counties access to the Atlantic Ocean.
“We believe that such an initiative will bring about a fundamental transformation not only in the economies of these countries, but also in the entire region,” the King said in a speech commemorating the the 48th anniversary of the Green March.
The Sahel region is one of the world’s richest regions in mineral resources such as oil, gold and uranium, but rampant corruption and militant threats have plunged the region into prolonged conflicts and poverty.
The problem of the Sahel “will not be solved by security and military measures alone, but rather by an approach based on cooperation and shared development,” the King said, involving the region in a broader strategy to create a maritime economy across the southern Atlantic coast.
“My goal is to transform the Atlantic region into a space for human interaction and economic integration, and to make sure it plays a key role at continental and international levels.”
The King said this drive follows the “economic progress and urban expansion witnessed in Moroccan Saharan cities,” creating the need “to pursue our efforts to develop a maritime economy that contributes to prosperity in the region and serves its inhabitants.”
“It should be an integrated economy based on the development of exploration for offshore natural resources and the promotion of investment in marine fishing, in addition to seawater desalination to encourage agricultural activities, promote the blue economy and support the renewable energy agenda.”
The King alsosaught to introduce a strategy for the promotion of tourism in the Atlantic region, “making good use of the many assets available there to turn it into a prime destination for beach and Saharan tourism.”