In Laayoune, Morocco-UAE forum explores new partnerships

The Forum seeks to explore new investment partnerships in agriculture, fisheries, mining, renewable energy, construction and tourism.
Wednesday 14/07/2021
Caption: A man adjusts the UAE flag at the UAE’s consulate in Laayoune, the main city in Morocco’s Western Sahara. (AFP)
Caption: A man adjusts the UAE flag at the UAE’s consulate in Laayoune, the main city in Morocco’s Western Sahara. (AFP)

LAAYOUNE, Morocco – Morocco’s southern city of Laayoune  is hosting the Morocco-United Arab Emirates Business Forum, which kicked off Monday under the theme “”A new outlook, new partnerships,” according to Morocco’s official news agency MAP.

The Forum, held under the patronage of Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, aims “to showcase the region’s potentialities for Emirati economic stakeholders in investment, partnership and trade opportunities,” MAP reported.

The Forum is organised by Laayoune-Sakia El Hamra regional council and Morocco’s Investment and Trade Agency (AMDIE). It seeks to explore new investment partnerships between Morocco-Emirati private and public sectors in agriculture, fisheries, mining, renewable energy, construction, and tourism.

Speaking at the opening, the governor of the Laayoune province highlighted “the excellence of relations between the Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates, welcoming the multidimensional strategic partnership between the two countries.”

The president of the regional council Sidi Hamdi Ould Errachid said “the opening of the consulate general of the UAE in Laayoune gave a new impetus to political, economic, commercial and cultural bilateral ties.”

He added that the organisation of this forum reflected “the strong determination of the UAE to contribute to the dynamics of the development of the region.”

The UAE was the first Arab state to open a consulate in Morocco’s southern city of Laayoune in the Western Sahara in November 2020.

Gaining international recognition for its claim to the Western Sahara has long been Morocco’s most important diplomatic ambition and the UAE decision helped build support towards that end with other Arab allies.

Western Sahara, though a sparsely-populated desert region, has rich fishing waters, phosphate deposits and Morocco’s only working land route into the rest of Africa, as its border with Algeria is closed.

Rabat has said the most it can offer as a political solution to the dispute is autonomy. The separatist Polisario Front and its ally Algeria reject this and say they want a referendum with independence for Western Sahara as one of the options.