Caspian Energy Journal Caspian European Club
Thursday, 01 March 2018 09:30

Potential for economic relations between Morocco and Azerbaijan limitless, Mohammed Adel Embarch Featured

 Caspian Energy (CE): Your Excellency, the Embassy of Morocco in Azerbaijan was opened 11 years ago. What do you think about the potential of the Morocco-Azerbaijan relations? Which agreements have been reached between the two countries?

Mohammed Adel Embarch, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Morocco to the Republic of Azerbaijan: Relations between the Kingdom of Morocco and the Republic of Azerbaijan are older than embassies. Back in 1994, national leader of Azerbaijan, late Heydar Aliyev paid a visit to Morocco and was received by late Hassan II, King of Morocco back then. Today His Majesty King Mohammed VI and His Excellency President Ilham Aliyev enjoy very good and friendly personal relations. Morocco and Azerbaijan share the same view with regards to various issues of the common concern. The excellent level of the political relations between the two countries was highlighted on many occasions, especially when they were non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council during the period of 2012-2013. Morocco and Azerbaijan also have a lot in common: a rich history, cultural diversity as well as being international models of tolerance, openness and dialogue of civilizations. In 2017, both countries celebrated 25 years of excellent relations. The legal framework of the relations between the two countries is quite rich and covers several areas such as politics, economy, trade and culture and there is a strong and shared will to further expand it. It is worth noting in this regard that many agreements are finalized and will be signed during the Joint Commission, to be held during the first half of 2018.

CE: Morocco is strongly encouraging the development of renewable energies and one of the world’s largest solar power plants has been constructed in Morocco. What are expectations of Morocco as a country, which does not have oil and gas fields, from renewables? Does this mean that the country has completely abandoned nuclear energy?

Mohammed Adel Embarch: Let me first give you an idea about Moroccan energy policy. Being deprived of important oil and gas resources, Morocco places a high priority in the development of renewable energies through a mix of solar, wind and hydropower. Exploration works in the area of fossil fuels are still ongoing and discoveries have been made in this direction, limited of course but studies show that the Kingdom has an important potential in this field too.

At the same time, the development of renewable energies has been raised as a national priority and became an important part of the Moroccan development model. The Kingdom has set the objective to increase the contribution of renewable energies to its energy needs to 52% by 2030. The Moroccan leadership in the field of renewable energies and sustainable development has been internationally recognized and acclaimed especially during the COP22 organized in Marrakech city in 2016. By organizing the COP22, Morocco succeeded in raising awareness that the issue of climate change and its dangerous impacts are not the exclusive concern of developed countries. In fact, although they pollute less, developing countries are the ones exposed the most. Hence the need for these countries to put in place environmentally friendly national strategies. I can say in this regard that there is a before and an after the COP22. Faithful to its commitments, Morocco has established and implemented a binding legal framework for the respect for environment such as the prohibition of the use of plastic bags in commerce. The Kingdom will also reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 42% by 2030. According to Climate Change Tracker and Climate Change Index, Morocco is in the top 4 of the most environmentally friendly countries in the world.

CE: Are Moroccan companies interested to cooperate with Azerbaijani companies?

Mohammed Adel Embarch: By all means. Moroccan companies are definitely interested in doing business with their Azerbaijani counterparts. Sometimes, they don’t go through embassies as they meet in international exhibitions.The potential of growth of the economic relations between Morocco and Azerbaijan is limitless. Both countries are becoming important regional platforms. Morocco enjoys a strong presence in Africa in several economic sectors such as finance, insurance, telecommunications, transportation, construction and civil engineering and fertilizers. In addition, Morocco has the largest free-trade network in the world. Anything that is partially or totally produced in the Kingdom can be exported to a 1 billion customer market. Since its not an oil producer, it has been essential for Morocco to diversify its economy, the country has made great achievements in the fields of tourism, agriculture, logistics and also industry. With 40 ports including Tangier Med (top 20 in the world) and 22 airports, the Kingdom has become a hotspot for aerospace, electronics and automotive industries, some 115 aerospace companies including the major players (Boeing, Airbus, Bombardier, Thales, Eads, Safran, etc.) are operating in Morocco and the largest Moroccan export overseas is cars. Today, as Azerbaijan is diversifying its economy, Morocco can be a very good partner as it has an important experience in all the economic sectors that the Azerbaijani Government intend to develop. The prospects of economic cooperation between the two countries are therefore very important.

CE: For long Morocco has been famous for its minerals such as gold, tin, diamonds. How is this industry developing in Morocco nowadays?

Mohammed Adel Embarch: Morocco has the chance to be located in the African continent whose soil is known to be rich in minerals. The mining industry is well developed since the Kingdom has largest phosphates reserves in the world (3/4) and is the first exporter of this mineral and its derivatives. Morocco exploits other mining products, such as lead, zinc, silver, gold, copper, cobalt, manganese, antimony, iron, barite, fluorite and salt. In recent years, Morocco has invested heavily on transformation of these minerals in order to increase the value of its resources.

CE: Which prospects do you see in the field of getting education by Azerbaijani students getting in Morocco?

Mohammed Adel Embarch: Moroccan schools and universities are well ranked in the world. They provide education in three languages (Arabic, French and English) in different fields placing Morocco as an attractive country in term of education. Indeed, more than 10,000 African students are now studying in Morocco and hundreds of them are doing internships in the Kingdom benefiting from the Moroccan experience and know-how in different fields.

As for the Azerbaijani students, they are welcome to study in Morocco. As mentioned before, Azerbaijan is diversifying its economy and there will be definitely a need for skilled profiles in the identified economic sectors and in which Morocco has an important educational experience such as tourism, agriculture, logistics, telecommunications, computer science, construction and civil engineering.

 Thank you for the interview

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