By John Ikani
Morocco and China have signed an agreement aimed at greatly increasing cooperation under Beijing’s joint “Belt and Road” initiative.
Nasser Bourita, Moroccan Foreign Affairs Minister, and Ning Jizhe, Vice Chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission, signed the deal virtually.
The partnership is aimed at facilitating cooperation in infrastructure, trade, investment, industry, agriculture and more, a Moroccan government statement said.
It aims to promote access to Chinese financing to carry out large projects in Morocco, the Moroccan MAP news agency added.
Under the agreement, Beijing has committed to encouraging Chinese businesses to invest in Morocco, which in 2017 became the first Maghreb country to join the initiative.
Ning Jizhe said China’s direct investment in the country had reached $380 million.
The accord also provides for tripartite cooperation with Africa, in particular in sustainable development.
Launched in 2013, Beijing’s vast, trillion-dollar Belt and Road infrastructure initiative aims to improve trade links with countries across the world by building ports, railways, airports and industrial parks.
The deal aims to revive the historic Silk Road on land and sea by establishing a trade and infrastructure bridge linking Asia to Europe and Africa.
It also seeks to expand Chinese companies’ presence in Africa. Morocco, with its geographical location, serves as a bridge between Europe and Africa.
2020 marked the 60th anniversary of cooperation between the two countries.