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    Spanish Investors Share Plans for Infrastructure Projects in Dakhla

    The surge in Spanish interest in investing in Western Sahara reflects Spain’s continued support for Moroccan sovereignty over the region.

    23 Jun 2022

    Rabat - Spanish investors on Wednesday announced their plans to construct an international clinic and two hotel units in Dakhla during the Morocco-Spain Investment Forum.

    The health facility is set to be developed through joint efforts between Moroccan and Spanish investors. Meanwhile, Iberian businesses would carry out the launch of the two hotels, reported Moroccan news outlet Le360.

    The investors argued that the projected facilities are expected to both help advance the development of the Dakhla-Oued Eddahab region and consolidate diplomatic and economic relations between Rabat and Madrid amid rising pressure from Algeria.

    Initiated by the regional council of Dakhla-Oued Eddahab in partnership with the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the forum brought together 250 investors in the key sectors of renewable energy, agrifood, finance, tourism, construction, and technology.

    As part of the forum, the Spanish investors held meetings on June 21-22 with Moroccan investors and decision-makers in the private and public sectors, including the president of the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises (CGEM) Chakib Alj.

    Morocco’s Minister of Industry and Commerce Ryad Mezzour addressed the attendees on Tuesday.

    During his speech, Mezzour highlighted Morocco’s leading position in sectors such as automotive and renewable energies, urging Spanish investors to consider these industries for future cooperation.

    The Minister further noted that the Dakhla-Oued Eddahab region provides qualified human capital and investment opportunities in the industries of agrifood, electronics, green hydrogen, and chemicals. He added that Dakhla Atlantic port is set to become a regional hub for naval industries with the support of the new Tiznit-Dakhla highway.

    Dakhla notably provides mutually advantageous opportunities for Spanish investors and local communities, said the President of the regional council, Yanja El Khattat.

    Echoing El Khattat’s comment, the head of the Spanish delegation, Maria Tato, noted that the southern region provides investment opportunities for the Spanish businesses, adding that the region has seen an “exponential and impressive” growth in terms of infrastructure development

    As the Morocco-Spain investment forum in Dakhla concludes today, it opens doors for more Spanish investments in the southern provinces of Morocco and reiterates Spanish endorsement of the Moroccan Autonomy Plan for Western Sahara. The forum also supports the advancement of the “new era” of understanding and cooperation that Rabat and Madrid agreed to initiate in March.

    This new chapter in Moroccan-Spanish relations has increasingly faced criticism from Algeria’s regime, which cut diplomatic ties with Morocco in August 2021.

    Being the main supporter of Polisario’s independence claims over Western Sahara, the Algerian regime was quick to vent its anger on Spain’s government after it endorsed the Moroccan Autonomy Plan as the most serious and credible route to a lasting solution to the Western Sahara dispute.

    In response to Spain’s endorsement of Morocco’s Autonomy Plan, Algeria suspended its friendship treaty with Spain while accusing the Spanish government of taking part in a “campaign to justify the position they have adopted on Western Sahara in violation of their legal, moral, and political obligations.”

    On June 20, Algeria also urged local travel agencies to cancel all flights scheduled for Spanish cities.

    Although Algeria has initiated diplomatic and economic crises with Spain over its newfound Sahara position, senior Spanish officials have consistently emphasized the strength of cooperation between Rabat and Madrid, and hailed Madrid’s embrace of the Moroccan autonomy proposal.

    In an interview with Spanish television channel Trece on June 14, Spanish Minister of Defense Margarita Robles described her country’s support of Morocco’s Autonomy Plan as the “best decision for Spain.”

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