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On March 27, the Center for International Studies invited the Ambassador of Spain to Morocco, the Hon. Mr. Ricardo Díez-Hochleitner in the framework of the International Classroom Program. Important personalities from the business, university, economic and international relations world attended the session.

 

The Ambassador began by giving an account of the geostrategic parameters that mark the regional fit of Morocco, and determine its triple Atlantic, Mediterranean and African vocation.

 

  • Its proximity to the European continent, 14 kilometers from Spain, and its location in the Maghreb area, have marked its historical evolution and relations with its neighbors. In relation to the MENA countries, Morocco stands out for offering a stable political model and with important advances enshrined in its 2011 Constitution, for having a moderate Islam, and for having been a country of welcome and coexistence of culture and religions, with a important Jewish minority. Another essential characteristic of the Kingdom of Morocco is its remarkable historical permeabilization to developments operating in the West and Europe (Morocco was the first country to recognize the independence of the United States).

 

  • They emphasize their status as protectorate during the period of colonization, their proximity to Europe, their greater degree of stability and their country traits with multiparty and market economy since independence in the regional context. This is well explained by the close relations with the EU (Morocco, in fact, made a request to join the European Community in 1987) and its specific position outside the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries.

 

  • Finally, the ancestral and growing ties with the African countries allow us to illustrate the role that Morocco aspires to play as a regional power in this continent. Its objectives are both political and economic. In economic terms, it has become the first inter-African investor in West Africa and second in the continent, especially in the financial sector, as well as telecommunications and renewable energy.

 

Encuentro con el Embajador de España en Marruecos - CEI

 

Morocco has undergone an important process of economic modernization in the last decade. Between 2006 and 2017, the average growth is 4%. This modernization has been evidenced in the development of infrastructures: Morocco today has, among others, an extensive network of highways and the first high-speed line on the African continent, between Tangier and Casablanca. It also highlights the formation of free zones, the important development of an automobile industry, and the textile industry, with significant participation of Spanish companies (Inditex, Mango, El Corte Inglés), which have absorbed 75,000 jobs.

 

Despite being the most stable country in the region, Morocco faces, like others, several internal challenges, such as youth unemployment and education.

 

The bilateral political relationship between Spain and Morocco as "strategic partners" is excellent, as evidenced by the intense cooperation and dialogue counting on the impulse of both Kings and channeled through the High Level Meetings, the Parliamentary Forums, as well as the bilateral visits, among which the recent State Visit of SS.MM. the Kings to Rabat and the multiple areas of cooperation at a sectoral level. In addition, in the last 15 years there has been an important intensification of relations, on the basis of solid cultural and educational ties marked by a fluid interlocution and excellent multisectoral understanding to respond to shared challenges, such as irregular migration flows or the struggle against terrorism and organized crime.

 

Encuentro con el Embajador de España en Marruecos - CEI

 

Economically, Spain has become, for 6 years, the first commercial partner for Morocco, representing 40% of its exports to the EU. For Spain, Morocco is the second most important client outside the European Union. Trade between the two has doubled in the last seven years and the presence of Spanish companies that export to Morocco has increased exponentially (20,714 Spanish companies exported in 2018 to Morocco).

 

In relation to Spanish investment in Morocco, there is still room to take advantage of the potential offered by a country that occupies the 60th position in the World Bank's "Doing Business Report" ranking. Morocco also offers an excellent platform to access Africa. The Ambassador recalled that both the Embassy and the Commercial Offices are available to help companies interested in trading invest in Morocco.

 

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Report elaborated by Geòrgia Oriol Puggalí

 

Student of the Preparation to Join the Diplomatic Corps

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