The King of Morocco, His Majesty King Mohammed VI, has described the Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline Project (NMGP) as “a project for peace, for African economic integration and for co- development: a project for the present and for future generations.”
Delivering a speech to mark the nation’s 47th Green March anniversary on Sunday, the King said, “considering the special importance I attach to the partnership with West African countries, I consider the Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline Project to be more than just a bilateral project between two sister nations”.
In December 2016, President Muhammadu Bukhari of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and King Mohammed VI signed a Memorandum of Understanding which launched the Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline Project.
His Majesty noted that the progress made in the major project was in line with the terms of the contract signed.
He further stated that a Memorandum of Understanding signed recently in Rabat with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and in Nouakchott, with Mauritania and Senegal, was a key building block in the completion of NMG project.
He said, “that signing reflects the commitment of the countries concerned to contribute to the completion of this strategic project and attests to their desire to see it through.”
According to King Mohammed VI, the NMGP provides opportunities as well as guarantees in terms of energy security and economic, industrial, and social development for the fifteen ECOWAS Member Countries, as well as for Morocco and Mauritania.
“Given the continental dimension of the NMGP, I consider it to be a major flagship project which will link Africa to Europe”, he added.
He said the commemoration of the 47th anniversary of the Green March was at a crucial time in the process to firmly establish the Moroccanness of the Sahara.
“Whereas the glorious, epic Green March made it possible to liberate that part of our territory, the continuing marches I have been spearheading aim to make sure our citizens lead a dignified life, especially in those Saharan regions, which are dear to my heart,” the King said.
Hence, our action to defend the Moroccanness of the Sahara is based on a holistic approach that combines not only political and diplomatic action, but also efforts to promote economic, social and human development in the region.
He said the development programme for the southern provinces is an integrated development program, with a budget in excess of 77 billion dirhams.
It aims to launch a real socio-economic dynamic, create jobs and investment opportunities, and provide the region with the infrastructure and facilities it needs.
It is an ambitious programme which responds to the concerns and aspirations of the inhabitants of our southern provinces.
The region’s local governments and elected officials are in charge of implementing the projects included under the program.
He said seven years into the programme, the expenditure commitment rate stood at about 80 per cent of the total budget allocated to it.
The Tiznit-Dakhla highway is in its final stages, the region’s connection to the national electricity grid has been completed and the communication networks consolidated and extended.
Similarly, the solar and wind power plants programmed have been completed as well.
The construction of the major Dakhla-Atlantic port will begin soon, once the various studies and administrative procedures are completed.
As regards the economy, which is the main driver of development, a number of projects have been completed concerning the valorization and processing of fish products – an industry that provides thousands of jobs to the region’s inhabitants.
In the agricultural sector, more than 6,000 hectares have been developed in Dakhla and Boujdour and placed at the disposal of young farmers from the region.
The implementation rate of most projects planned in the phosphate, water and sanitation sectors is quite high.
In the social and cultural sectors, many achievements have been made in the areas relating to health, education and training, support for self – employment initiatives, and the promotion of the Hassani language and culture – both of which are key constituents of our cohesive national identity.
“In this regard, and in keeping with a spirit of national responsibility, I invite the private sector to continue to be engaged in productive investment in these provinces, particularly in projects of a social nature.
I also call for new prospects of action to be opened up in order to promote the development dynamic in our southern provinces, especially in the most promising sectors, the blue economy and renewable energy,” the King added.