Morocco-China: Model of Mutually Beneficial Chinese-Arab and Chinese-African Cooperation

The signing, Wednesday, of the “Joint Belt and Road Implementation Plan” between the Kingdom of Morocco and the People’s Republic of China testifies to the dynamism of Chinese-Moroccan relations, set up as a model of mutually beneficial Chinese-Arab and Chinese-African cooperation. Launched in 2013 by Chinese President Xi Jinping, under the name “One Belt, One Road”, the “Belt and Road” initiative aims to promote new opportunities for cooperation between China and the 140 countries that have joined it. Morocco was the first country in the Maghreb and among the first in Africa to join this initiative through the signing, in 2017, of a Memorandum of Understanding allowing the Kingdom to establish several partnerships in promising sectors, such as infrastructure, advanced industries and technology. Based on dialogue, partnership, and commercial and human exchanges, the “Belt and Road” initiative has strengthened infrastructure cooperation with China and has made Morocco a preferred destination for Chinese investment in Africa, with more than 80 major projects throughout the country. This includes the project for the realization and development of the Mohamed VI Tangier Tech City, whose Memorandum of Understanding was signed in April 2019 in Beijing, on the sidelines of the “Belt and Road” Forum, between the Société d’Aménagement Tanger Tech (SATT), the China Communications Construction Company Limited International (CCCC) and the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC). Aware of its geostrategic position, the Chinese authorities have decided to give a status of “pivotal country” to Morocco in the framework of the initiative “the Belt and Road” which is both a set of maritime links and railways between China and the member countries. A new dynamic has also been injected into Chinese-Moroccan relations, following the visit of His Majesty King Mohammed VI to Beijing in May 2016, during which a strategic partnership agreement was signed between the two countries. This Royal Visit was also marked by the signing of a joint declaration on the strategic partnership as well as 32 Agreements and a Memorandum of Understanding, covering several areas of cooperation. This strong and multidimensional partnership was, moreover, manifested during the coronavirus pandemic through a distinguished cooperation in the field of health and vaccination, leading to the signing, in July 2021, of a Memorandum of Cooperation for the anti-Covid-19 vaccine between Morocco and the National Pharmaceutical Group of China (SINOPHARM), a Memorandum of Understanding concerning the establishment of vaccine manufacturing capacities in Morocco with the company Recipharm, and a Contract for the provision to Morocco of the aseptic filling facilities of the Société de Thérapeutique Marocaine (Sothema) for the manufacture of the anti-Covid-19 vaccine owned by the company Sinopharm between the Moroccan State and the company Sothema.