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King Calls for Marrakech-Agadir Railway to Boost Regional Economy

On the 44th Anniversary of the Green March, King Mohammed VI shared his vision, seeking to further boost Morocco’s internal economy.

Rabat – This year’s Green March anniversary has not only served as an event for Morocco to renew commitment and sovereignty over its Sahara.

During his annual televised speech on the 44th anniversary of the Green March anniversary, King Mohammed VI shared his aspirations and his vision for a more balanced internal economy, covering the 12 regions of Morocco

On November 6, the monarch started his speech, with a firm and sincere vow that Morocco will not accept any solution to the Western Sahara conflict other than its Autonomy Plan. For Morocco, the Autonomy initiative submitted to the UN in 2007 is the “only way forward towards a settlement of the Moroccan Sahara conflict,” reiterated King Mohammed VI.

Following  the staunch affirmation of Morocco’s unwavering position, the King addressed some challenges or obstacles, standing in the road to completing  regional development projects.

Infrastructure was among the main challenges addressed in tonight’s speech.

The King expressed surprise that, despite the geographical importance of particular regions, problems with infrastructure continue to hinder regionalization projects.

Agadir, a national economic hub

As an example, the King spoke about the lack of a railway connecting Agadir and Marrakech, two of Morocco’s most important cities, in terms of tourism and industry.

Read Also: King Mohammed VI: Pan-African Vision is Key to Development

By the end of July, nearly 7.544 million tourists visited Morocco, according to Morocco’s Tourism Observatory.

Marrakech and Aagdir topped the list of favorite destinations.

“The two tourist destinations of Marrakech and Agadir generated 57% of hotel nights in the first seven months of 2019,” according to the national observatory.

In the same period, both Agadir and Marrakech recorded an increase of arrivals, 3% and 8% respectively.”

The King regretted that despite Agadir’s central location, its resources, potential, and infrastructure remain issues that must be  addressed in the near future in order to open up into the region.

“It is not reasonable that some basic infrastructure should end at Marrakech, whereas the Souss-Massa region is actually the center of Morocco and has enormous potential,” the King said.

The King suggested the establishment of a railway connecting Marrakech and Agadir. He also recommended  a trainline extension covering the regions south of Marrakech.

The King addressed instructions to Moroccan authorities, inviting them to give “serious thoughts” about the development of a railway to link the cities of Marrakech and Agadir.

The project, according to the monarch, would be a first step “before extending it to the rest of the southern regions. We should also expand the road network, which I am seeking to further develop through the construction of the Agadir-Dakhla highway.”

For the King, the project does not only seek to promote the region but also to contribute to its development and economic growth with regard to “the transport of people and goods and the promotion of exports, tourism and other economic activities.”

The monarch also sees the project as an “essential lever” to create job opportunities, bearing in mind that unemployment is among the major challenges that Morocco continues to face.

The unemployment rate stood at 9.4% at the end of September,  the High Commission for Planning said on Wednesday, November 6. The rate is slightly higher than the same period a year earlier when it stood at 9.3%.

In his recent speeches, the King has called on the government to create more job opportunities for youth.

The King is determined that the region of Souss Massa become a “economic hub” to serve as a bridge between northern and southern parts of Morocco.

“This should be achieved within the framework of advanced regionalization and the equitable distribution of wealth between all regions,” the King said.

He added that he looks forward to seeing a Morocco with “harmonious, integrated regions,” benefing on an equal footing from “infrastructure and major projects that should be profitable to all.”