Moroccan officials and business figures have presented investing opportunities to French investors in Laayoune, Western Sahara, as a “very rich region.”
The two-day Morocco-France Business Forum saw more than 100 French investors headed to Laayoune for the third annual forum November 2-4.
At the opening ceremony of the forum on November 2, French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Morocco (CFCIM) Chairman Philippe-Edern Klein spoke about Morocco’s efforts to develop Western Sahara.
He said that the Laayoune-Sakia-El Hamra region has rapidly transformed in recent years, calling it an “ideal hub” for investments.
“The region of the South benefits from ambitious investment programs, both public and private, and major infrastructure projects that make it the ideal hub to the African continent,” he said.
Maha Hmeid, director of the Moroccan branch of Weber, a subsidiary of the Saint-Gobain group, told AFP that the French firm is planning to open a unit in the region after those opened in Casablanca and Agadir.
Secretary of State to the Ministry of Industry Rakia Edderham told AFP that Laayoune is a “very rich region: There is great potential in industry, fishing, agriculture or offshoring, we want to see foreign investors coming.”
The forum aimed to convince French businessman to invest in the region, which Morocco is developing for Sahrawis.
Hamdi Ould Errachid, president of the region, said that Morocco aims to push the development and economy to shed light on the attractiveness of the territory, a gate to sub-Saharan Africa.
Asked about the Western Sahara conflict, Eddarham said that the “political issue should be solved by the United Nations … the development of the region cannot be linked to it.”
Khadija Gamraoui, a right-wing French lawmaker, who attended the forum with a Moroccan-French political association, said, “No one is fooled…. There are politics at stake.”
However, she said she was impressed by development projects in the region.