Mohammed VI has launched a major Atlantic initiative with an African outlook that aims to turn this continental maritime space into a zone of peace, stability and development, as well as to rehabilitate its infrastructure to facilitate access to the Atlantic Ocean for the Sahel states

King Mohammed VI plans to reinforce Morocco's Atlantic coast starting with the Sahara

PHOTO/MAP - Mohamed VI
PHOTO/MAP - Mohammed VI

As a result of the efforts initiated in 2022 by the Kingdom of Morocco, the monarch Mohammed VI launched in his speech on the occasion of the 48th anniversary of the Green March the Moroccan initiative to reverse the country's Atlantic coastline, starting from the Sahara, and to make Atlantic Africa a new area of great influence in international politics.
 
The path towards taking this pertinent real decision, which has a Saharan-focused vision as a starting point towards great horizons open to the south, northeast and northwest of the Atlantic, began with the organisation of three ministerial meetings within the framework of the Process of African Atlantic States (PEAA).
The first took place in Rabat in June 2022, the second in New York in September of the same year, and the last in July 2023, again in Rabat. These meetings were attended by 20 African states, underlining their political commitment to implement a political, commercial and economic partnership centred on the Atlantic seaboard.
 
6 November was a key date on which the King of Morocco announced that he would focus the country's strategy on the rehabilitation of Morocco's Atlantic seaboard from the Sahara, highlighting its geopolitical value as a response to what he described as "the manoeuvres of the unmasked, hidden and disappeared adversaries of the Sahara issue", turning it into a region and a space for development, security and stability.

PHOTO/MAP - Mohamed VI
PHOTO/MAP - Mohammed VI

King Mohammed VI said in his speech that "if the Mediterranean coast is a link between Morocco and Europe, the Atlantic coast is Morocco's gateway to Africa and its opening window to the American space", adding that "this is the origin of our commitment to rehabilitate the coastal area at the national level, including the Atlantic coast of the Moroccan Sahara, and to structure this geopolitical space at the African level".
 
"Our objective is to transform the Atlantic coast into an area of human communication, economic integration and continental and international visibility. In this regard, we are ready to complement the major projects in the southern regions and to provide services and infrastructure related to human and economic development," the King stressed.
 
According to expert observers, King Mohammed VI wants to change the reality of the Moroccan Sahara from a local economic dimension based on the interrelationship between the southern territories to a new situation in which the Moroccan Sahara plays the role of locomotive driving the Sahel-Saharan economies by opening up to the Atlantic.
 
In this respect, Mohammed VI maintained that "the recovery of the southern territories has made it possible to strengthen the Atlantic dimension of the Kingdom"; explaining that "the mobilisation of national diplomacy has made it possible to consolidate Morocco's position, increase international support for its territorial unity and counter the manoeuvres of unveiled and hidden adversaries"

REUTERS/ZOHRA BENSEMR - Campamento de refugiados en Tinduf, al sur de Argelia
REUTERS/ZOHRA BENSEMR - Campo de refugiados en Tinduf, sur de Argelia

The royal speech placed particular emphasis on the qualitative change experienced by the southern territories and the major projects launched by the Moroccan monarch to promote development in the Sahara, in order to turn the area into an attractive centre for international investment.

The monarch also stressed the importance of "sustaining economic progress and the urbanisation of the cities of the Moroccan Sahara", making it clear that "work must continue to establish a maritime economy that contributes to the development of the region and serves its population".

The Alaouite King stressed the importance of "an integrated economy based on the development of offshore natural resource exploration and continued investment in fisheries and seawater desalination to encourage farming activities, promote the blue economy and support renewable energies".

In the same vein, he urged the adoption of an Atlantic tourism strategy, based on investment in the region, to transform it into a true destination of choice for beach and desert tourism.

Hisham Moutadid, a Moroccan expert in strategic and international affairs, stressed, in his statement to the Al Arab newspaper, that King Mohammed VI's choice of the Atlantic space as a strategic platform reflects the ambition of Moroccan leaders to make this choice a geopolitical reference, to support and consolidate Moroccan development from its southern territories to the depths of Africa, including the Sahel-Saharan countries through direct access to the Atlantic Ocean from the Sahara.

Moutadid explained that the rapid transformation of the world, especially the strategic challenges of the Atlantic space, pushed Rabat to choose the Atlantic charter as a platform for joint construction with the American space by strengthening Africa's Atlantic façade, opening its doors and preparing it to play a more advanced and assertive role in the defence of its acquisitions.

PHOTO/MAP (AGENCIA DE PRENSA MARROQUÍ) - El rey Mohamed VI preside una reunión de trabajo dedicada a la activación del programa de emergencia para el realojamiento de las víctimas del desastre del terremoto en el Palacio Real de Rabat
PHOTO/MAP (MOROCCO PRESS AGENCY) - King Mohammed VI chairs a working meeting dedicated to the activation of the emergency programme for the relocation of earthquake disaster victims at the Royal Palace in Rabat

"We propose to launch an initiative at the international level aimed at enabling the Sahel States to access the Atlantic Ocean," the monarch stressed in the Green March speech on 6 November, urging the need for a strong and competitive national maritime merchant fleet.

For his part, the president of the Atlas Centre for the Analysis of Political and Institutional Indicators, Mohamed Boden, in a statement to Al Arab, considers that the Kingdom of Morocco's Atlantic orientation is in line with the fundamental convictions of South-South cooperation, being a coherent approach to Morocco's vision of commitment and solidarity towards the African depths reflected in the importance it attaches to empowering Sahel countries to access the Atlantic.

The Moroccan monarch warned that the African Atlantic seaboard suffers from a significant shortage of infrastructure and investment, despite the level of human skills and the abundance of natural resources. "In this spirit, we are working with our brothers in Africa and with all our partners to find practical and effective responses, within the framework of international cooperation," concluded King Mohammed VI.

The royal speech emphasised that, by supporting the southern regions as the driving force behind the new national development dynamic, the Moroccan Sahara will enjoy more political and economic privileges, as well as being a strategic meeting point for countries with an Atlantic coastline, whether in Europe, Africa or America.

It should be recalled that Morocco's royal initiative, based on Atlantic Africa, will bring together the 23 countries that represent 46% of the continent's population and 55% of African GDP, making the African Atlantic seaboard at the heart of future East-West rivalries.

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