After guaranteeing strong relations with the European Union, Morocco is now looking for more chances to strengthen its foreign diplomacy.
Akhannouch told the press after his talks with the agricultural minister for the Australian state of Victoria, Jaclyn Symes, that “Victoria has shown great interest in supporting Morocco in the development of its agriculture and fisheries sectors.”
The minister added that the meeting also gave Morocco an opportunity to learn about the Australian experience in the areas of training, research, and biosecurity, in addition to other projects such as aquaculture and the development of fish markets.
“Australia’s vision focuses on product quality and biosecurity, aspects that are of particular interest to Morocco,” Akhannouch said.
Symes said that both countries are determined to develop agriculture and fisheries, emphasizing that such development “requires innovation and the adoption of new technologies.”
She added that the two factors are key aspects to “ensure the prosperity of these sectors.”
The Australian MP also tweeted about her meeting with Akhannouch.
“Great to meet with the Moroccan Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, Mr Aziz Akhannouch today. Key on the agenda; Victoria’s game-changing move to Sheep EID, climate change, trade access and young farmers,” she wrote.
Great to meet with the Moroccan Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, Mr Aziz Akhannouch today.
— Jaclyn Symes (@JaclynSymes) February 4, 2019
A boost in trade in 2017
The Australian ambassador to Rabat, Berenice Owen-Jones, told Morocco World News that two-way trade between Morocco and Australia totalled AUD 97 million (MAD 660 million) in 2017.
The ambassador added that “Australian exports comprised around AUD 40 million [MAD 272 million], mostly in wheat, meat and paints, and imports from Morocco were valued at around AUD 57 million [MAD 338 million], including fertilisers, clothing and vegetables.”
The diplomat also expressed satisfaction with the cooperation between Rabat and Canberra.
“As the Australian Ambassador to Morocco, I am pleased by our significant and diverse economic relationship. However, I see potential to grow our commercial links further particularly in the areas of food and agriculture, water management, cyber security, infrastructure, planning and extractives,” she said.
Akhannouch’s trip to Australia this week is his second visit to the country. He is leading a delegation of more than 20 people.
Opportunity for further collaboration
“Against the background of the visit to Australia by the Moroccan Minister of Agriculture, I am pleased that Australian companies have participated in components of Morocco’s Green Morocco Plan – including a bovine traceability review and an agriculture education, training and research review and strategic plan,” Owen-Jones stressed.
The ambassador said that the visit of Akhannouch will increase cooperation between the two countries.
Akhannouch will meet with several senior officials, including Minister of Agriculture David Littleproud. Throughout the week-long visit, Akhannouch will also meet with representatives from business sectors in multiple states.
According to the diplomat, Akhannouch will “will see first-hand that Australia, as a world leader in sustainable agriculture and fisheries, is well placed to become a partner of choice for Morocco in areas such as research, biosecurity, dry land agriculture, aquaculture, agricultural technology, horticulture and livestock management.”
According to the Australian government, Morocco’s mining sector is one of its key developed areas because it accounts for 9 percent of its Gross Domestic Product.
The government also said that the mining sector represents 30 percent of its exports.
The government emphasized the importance of phosphates for Morocco since the North African country contains two-thirds of the world’s phosphate reserves.
Australia is also aware of Morocco’s licensed permits granted to international companies to explore natural gas and fuel in its land.
“Mining (except for phosphates) can be carried out by any individual or corporate entity, regardless of nationality, but under the new code, they must prove technical and financial capabilities,” added the Australian government on its profile market.
It also emphasized that Morocco is considered a gateway to Francophone West African countries through its diplomatic ties with other African countries.
The Moroccan involvement in Francophone West African nations creates opportunities for major reviews and consultations as well as exploration and development for Australian companies looking to engage with Morocco and Francophone West Africa.
The government of Australia considers Morocco as a dynamic economic landscape due to its “proximity to Europe and a diverse geography.”
It also acknowledged Morocco’s position as “a stable, business friendly hub for North-West Africa.”
In a previous interview, Owen-Jones told Morocco World News that her country is also determined to increase cooperation on counterterrorism issues, including in global forums with Rabat.
Morocco has several international cooperations with international security services due its tightened security measures to combat terrorism.