This project is part of Morocco’s action to defend the Moroccanness of the Sahara, which 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, stressed HM the King in his speech to the Nation on the occasion of the 47th anniversary of the Green March.
With a budget in excess of 77 billion dirhams, this integrated development program, signed during the ceremony that the Sovereign presided over in Laayun, in November 2015, and in Dakhla, in February 2016, aims to launch a real socio-economic dynamic, “create jobs and investment opportunities, and provide the region with the infrastructure and facilities it needs,” said HM the Sovereign.
HM the King affirmed in this sense that the region’s local governments and elected officials are in charge of implementing the projects included under the program, which “responds to the concerns and aspirations of the inhabitants of our southern provinces”.
“Seven years into the program, it is gratifying to note that the expenditure commitment rate stands at about 80 per cent of the total budget allocated to it,” said HM the King.
The Sovereign then highlighted the different projects of this ambitious Program, citing in this context the Tiznit-Dakhla highway, which is in its final stages, the region’s connection to the national electricity grid that has been completed and the communication networks which were consolidated and extended, as well as the programmed solar and wind power plants which have been completed.
HM the King also mentioned the major project of Dakhla-Atlantic port, whose construction work will begin soon, once the various studies and administrative procedures are completed.
As regards the economy, which is the main driver of development, HM the King emphasized that 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 six thousand hectares have been developed in Dakhla and Boujdour and placed at the disposal of young farmers from the region, recalled the Sovereign, adding that the implementation rate of most projects planned in the phosphate, water and sanitation sectors is quite high.
HM the king stressed that 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, the Sovereign invited the private sector to continue to be engaged in productive investment in these provinces, particularly in projects of a social nature.
On this occasion, HM the king called 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.
After recalling that throughout history, the Moroccan Sahara has served as a link between Morocco and its African roots at the human, spiritual, cultural and economic levels, HM the King stressed that the development effort carried out in the Sahara makes it possible to consolidate this historic role in a firm and sustainable manner and, beyond that, to place it in a perspective resolutely turned towards the future.
In addition, the Sovereign said that “to continue to be faithful to the spirit of the Green March and to its everlasting oath, we need to remain mobilized and vigilant in order to defend our nation’s unity, achieve greater progress and strengthen Morocco’s bonds with its African roots”.
“I also wish to pay tribute to our Royal Armed Forces, the National Police, the Royal Gendarmerie, the local authorities, the Auxiliary Forces, and the Emergency Services for their dedication, under my leadership, in defending our country’s unity, security and stability,” concluded the Sovereign.