Though they are separated by 6000 kilometers stretching from the Arab Gulf to the Atlantic, Moroccans and Emiratis are “two brothers from the opposite sides of the Arab world”, according to the description of His Majesty King Mohamed VI. This royal assessment of fraternal ties bonding Morocco and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is not a tribute to the history of Moroccan-Emirati bilateral relations as much as it is a winning bet on future prospects of an ever developing relationship. But history’s omnipresence in this relation is portrayed by some unique coincidences. In 1976, HH Sheikh Mohammed Ben Zayed, then Crown Prince and 14 years old, was the youngest participant in Morocco’s Green March.And in 2021, the United Arab Emirates was the first Arab country to open a consulate in Laayoune, reaffirming its full backing of Moroccan sovereignty over the Sahara and the credibility of Morocco’s autonomy plan. That decision was described as “historic” by HM King Mohamed VI in a phone call to Crown Prince of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Mohamed Ben Zayed. Some years earlier, Morocco expressed its unwavering support for UAE’s retrieval of its three islands, Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tunbs occupied by Iran.
Based on such solid ground, bilateral relations are presently flourishing at a very fast pace. They are approaching the stage of by – passing a state of “strategic partnership” to a higher stage of “strategic alliance”. This change is more visible and verifiable in the economic field. Last week, Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber , UAE’s minister of Industry and Advanced Technologies visited Morocco mid March where he held talks with his Moroccan counterpart Ryad Mezzour
At the end of their working session, he stated that ” we have many opportunities to forge more partnerships and develop constructive cooperation, with a view to contributing to the consolidation of stability, growth, sustainable development and prosperity in the region and to achieve what serves the interests of the two peoples”.
In fact, such aspirations seem well founded and reliable when we put them to numerical tests. According to official Moroccan statistics, UAE is the first Arab investor in Morocco in various fields covering industry, tourism, agriculture, real estate and energy with an overall worth of 20 billion dollars. This figure ranks UAE as the third foreign investor on a global scale.
During those discussions, the two parties confirmed their willingness to strengthen trade relations and achieve joint industrial projects. After the meeting, Mr Mezzour revealed that the two parties decided to create a joint working group to “explore avenues of cooperation in industrial complementarity between the two countries”.
However, the energy and mining sectors seems to occupy a status of high priority in both countries since both sectors ” harbor great investment opportunities that must be seized”, according to Jamal Seif Al Jarwan, secretary general of the Emirates International Investors Council.