Rabat - Moroccan authorities decided on Thursday to approve the opening of the first IKEA store in Morocco.
Rabat – Moroccan authorities decided on Thursday to approve the opening of the first IKEA store in Morocco.
The decision was made by the local authorities of Mohammedia, 30 km south of Casablanca. The decision takes effect immediately.
The opening of the Swedish retail giant was delayed for several months. The store was scheduled to open on September 29, 2015, but tensions that developed between the Swedish and the Moroccan governments pushed Rabat to block its opening.
As a reaction to the Swedish government’s alleged decision to recognize the self-proclaimed Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), Moroccan authorities said that IKEA was denied the authorization to open its five stores in Morocco, because “it [lacked] conformity permits.”
A statement issued at the time by the Wilaya of Casablanca stated that IKEA’s store in Zenata, about 30 kilometres away from Casablanca, did not have a certificate of compliance (conformity permit), which needed be obtained from the necessary authorities.
The IKEA store in Zenata is the first of five stores the Swedish company intends to establish in Morocco. The furniture giant has reportedly invested 40 million euros in its new 26,000 square meter plant that will create 1,400 jobs, including 400 direct jobs.
The decision to allow IKEA to open its stores in Morocco comes after the relations between Morocco and Sweden returned to normal following the decision of the Swedish government to refrain from recognizing the so-called SADR.
A statement made by the Swedish Foreign Minister, Margot Wallström, last month made it clear that Sweden has no intention of recognizing the Western Sahara as a state and reaffirmed her country’s support for the ongoing UN-led political process to find a long-lasting and mutually acceptable political solution to the conflict between Morocco and the Algerian-backed Polisario.
Edited by Kelsey Fish