As Morocco charges forward in transforming its southern provinces, the region is increasingly taking the lion’s share of Moroccan public investments.
Determined to deliver on its promise of transforming its southern provinces into a continental hub, Morocco is engaged in a spending spree to complete a number of development projects in the region.
On Friday this week, Morocco’s Minister of Equipment, Transport, Logistics and Water, Abdelkader Amara, traveled to the region to inspect the construction sites of several road and water projects in the Laayoune-Sakia El Hamra region.
In the city of Laayoune, Amara and Abderrahim El Hafidi, the director general of the National Office of Electricity and Drinking Water visited the construction sites of desalination and wastewater treatment plants.
At the regional level, the minister also toured the town of Lamsid in the Boujdour province, where he inquired about the progress of an ongoing project to expand the road between Laayoune and Boujdour. The road is part of the Tiznit-Dakhla expressway.
Speaking to the press after the visit, Amara expressed satisfaction with the pace of completion of the projects, noting that the construction of the 267 km-long road in the Boujdour area has now reached a completion rate of 91%.
He commended the diligence and professionalism of the Moroccan companies responsible for the realization of the projects.
Amara then visited the construction sites of the Sakia El Hamra dam and the bypass route project in Laayoune.
As a part of the broader Tiznit-Dakhla expressway, the Boujdour road project extends over 1,055 km with a budget of nearly MAD 10 billion ($1.11 billion) and “will take shape next year,” according to the minister.
With an investment of MAD 433 million ($48.30 million) and a reservoir of 112 million cubic meters of water, the dam is projected to meet locals’ water and energy needs, as well as protect the Laayoune region against flooding, according to officials.
In a statement to the press, Amara said completion of the dam reached 41%.
For his tour of the Laayoune bypass route project, the Moroccan minister inquired about the completion of the 1,650m bridge over the Sakia El Hamra river. Set to be launched in September of this year, the bypass road project is estimated to cost MAD 1.10 billion ($122.71 million).
Citing Amara, Morocco’s state media reported that the Sakia El Hamra bridge “will be built according to aesthetic standards that reflect the status of the city of Laayoune as the capital of the Moroccan Sahara.”
All these projects put an emphasis on the necessity of accelerating development projects in Morocco’s southern provinces and fit with the kingdom’s newfound commitment to making the region a continental economic hub and a global attraction point.
In recent years, desalination and wastewater management projects have prominently featured alongside road and bridge extension or construction plans in Morocco’s drive to transform its southern province.
In his Green March commemoration speech in November 2020, King Mohammed VI reiterated Morocco’s determination to make the region central in Morocco’s continental aspirations.
The King shared his vision for a new development model specially tailored to the natural potentials of the southern provinces, noting Morocco’s ambition to develop a “real maritime economy” in the region. The overriding goal, the King insisted, is to turn the region into “an engine of development at the regional and continental levels.”