Morocco has gone from an almost total fossil fuel reliance in 2018, to a leader in green energy in MENA today.
Agadir – Solar energy in Morocco is “lighting up the continent,” wrote Veronica Booth for the Borgen Project.
Morocco increased its energy exports by 670% between 2018 and 2019, while reducing its imports by 93.5%. Booth attributed this fact to the “Noor Complex,” the largest concentrated solar farm in the world. The complex has the capacity to power over one million homes, while drastically reducing the reliance on fossil fuels.
In Booth’s article, she outlined four main benefits that come with developing solar energy in the country: poverty eradication, as well as political, environmental, and economic benefits.
In 2018, 97% of Morocco’s energy came from fossil fuels. Transitioning from a fossil-fuel based infrastructure will allow Morocco to become self-sufficient, according to Booth. This will be possible through decreased demand for energy imports while creating opportunities for more exports. Booth insists that this will not only result in a positive impact for Morocco, but for the African continent as a whole.
When it comes to poverty eradication, the benefits of Morocco’s efforts are two-fold, she argued. The increasing availability of solar energy will allow for more equal energy distribution for the rural population. Meanwhile, the opening of solar farms across Morocco will create a large number of jobs, narrowing the divide between rural and urban areas.
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Booth noted the construction of the Morocco-Nigeria pipeline as a sign of Morocco’s position “to become an energy hub for the Mediterranean, African and European nations.” More African countries have begun to gravitate towards Morocco, and its efforts in the field. Last week, the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari sent his gratitude to Morocco for supporting Nigeria’s efforts to produce fertilizers.
“The continent of Africa currently has a leadership vacuum that Morocco is preparing to fill,” noted Booth. Given Morocco’s renown for economic and political stability, it is understandable that the country is “setting an example for the other nations of Africa to become self-sufficient.”
As part of its efforts to boost its leadership role in the continent, Morocco has invested 85% of its foreign funds to countries in Africa, Booth pointed out. Illustrating Morocco’s increasing continental assertiveness are a series of widely acclaimed Africa-centered initiatives, such as OCP Africa.
Noting the effects of Moroccan work in poverty reduction, both national and continental, Booth concluded the article saying that “while Morocco has seen hard times, it is propelling forward and bringing the continent of Africa along with it.”