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France sets to finance Morocco’s 3GW power link to Western Sahara

France sets to finance Morocco’s 3GW power link to Western Sahara

France is ready to participate in funding a 3-gigawatt power cable linking the Moroccan city of Casablanca to the town of Dakhla in Western Sahara.

The French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire revealed this on Friday.

Western Sahara has been disputed between Morocco – which calls it its southern provinces – and the Algeria-backed Polisario front, which demands an independent state there.

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“I confirm to you that we are ready to participate in funding this project,” Le Maire told a Moroccan-French business forum in Rabat.

In February, French foreign minister Stephane Sejourne had said France backs Morocco’s investments in Western Sahara and reaffirmed support for Rabat’s autonomy plan for the territory, signaling a warming up of ties between the two countries after a period of diplomatic frost.

Morocco wants France to recognise its full sovereignty over Western Sahara, following the example of the U.S. and many Arab and African countries.

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France is also willing to cooperate with Morocco in developing solar, wind and green hydrogen as well as nuclear power, Le Maire said.

French development agency AFD would offer a loan of 350 million euros to help Morocco phosphates and fertilisers giant OCP with its decarbonisation push, Le Maire said.

France is the largest foreign investor in Morocco with an investment stock amounting to 8.2 billion euros ($8.75 billion) up to 2022.

Morocco is home to industrial facilities of leading French firms such as Renault and Safran.

Reasons for France’s interest

France is interested in financing Morocco’s 3-gigawatt power link to Western Sahara for several reasons:

Diplomatic Relations

France’s willingness to participate in funding the power cable project indicates a positive shift in diplomatic relations between France and Morocco. This move aligns with French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne’s expression of support for Morocco’s investments in Western Sahara and backing for Rabat’s autonomy plan for the territory.

Economic Interests

France has significant economic interests in Morocco, being the largest foreign investor in the country. With an investment stock totaling billions of euros, France has a stake in supporting infrastructure projects that can benefit both countries economically. By contributing to the power link project, France can strengthen its economic ties with Morocco.

Energy Cooperation

France’s interest in developing renewable energy sources like solar, wind, green hydrogen, and nuclear power in collaboration with Morocco extends beyond this specific project. Investing in energy infrastructure aligns with global efforts to transition towards cleaner energy sources and reduce carbon emissions. Supporting Morocco’s decarbonization efforts through projects like the 3GW power link demonstrates a commitment to sustainable development.

Geopolitical Considerations

The region of Western Sahara is a subject of dispute between Morocco and the Algeria-backed Polisario Front. By backing Morocco’s initiatives in Western Sahara, including infrastructure projects like the power cable, France may be seeking to strengthen its relationship with Morocco strategically within the context of regional geopolitics.

 

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