Moroccan Sahara Constitutes Bridge Linking Africa and Europe, Belgian MP

Belgian federal Member of Parliament and former Member of the European Parliament Hugues Bayet stated that Morocco has turned its Southern Provinces into a "hub of growth and development" since their recovery in 1975.

Hugue, who was speaking as part of his participation in the Sahara Debate, a citizen-run show broadcast on social media, stressed the importance of the New Development Model for the Southern Provinces, launched by His Majesty King Mohammed VI, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Green March on November 6, 2015.


This Model is based on a holistic vision, he explained, highlighting the value of projects in the fields of infrastructure, industry, fishing, health, education, and housing, launched within this framework.



With a financial package of MAD 81 billion, the New Development Model for the Southern Provinces aims at creating competitive hubs and improve the connectivity of the region through integrated and harmonious projects, based on a robust framework of good governance.


The MP also estimated that the economic boom which the region has been witnessing since 1975 is accompanied by a powerful human development dynamic. The region's indicators are today higher than the national average, while they were 6% lower than the rest of Morocco at the time of the recovery of the Southern Provinces.


Bayet thus brought a factual denial to the false allegations of Algeria and “polisario” concerning a so-called “plunder” of the natural resources of the region, noting that “for each Dirham of the generated revenue in the region, the government invests seven Dirhams ”.


Within that context, he recalled that the European Union has brought unequivocal recognition to the legality of the exploitation of natural resources in the region through the renewal of the Morocco-EU fisheries and agricultural agreements covering the whole territory of the Kingdom, including the Moroccan Sahara.


It should be recalled indeed that, within the framework of the renewal of these Agreements, the European Commission relied on a consultative process that engaged the elected representatives of the Moroccan Sahara, to ensure that the population of the Moroccan Sahara consents to, and benefits from, the extraction of natural resources. The European Parliament then adopted these Agreements by an immense majority.


Bayet also highlighted the calm and the serene atmosphere that prevails in the Southern Provinces, stressing that it is a “popular tourist destination, attracting major national and international conferences, and many tourist activities for many Europeans”.


The Southern Provinces host numerous diplomatic events such as the Crans Montana Forum in Dakhla and the Morocco-Pacific Island States Forum, which was held from February 27 to 29, 2020 in Laâyoune.


Bayet made these remarks as part of the Sahara Debate, a citizen-run show broadcast on social media intended to be as an open, democratic platform for serene analysis on the issue of the Moroccan Sahara.


Dans ce contexte, il a rappelé que l’Union Européenne a apporté une reconnaissance sans équivoque à la légalité de l’exploitation des ressources naturelles dans la région par le biais du renouvellement des Accords de pêche et agricole Maroc-UE couvrant l’ensemble du territoire du Royaume, y compris le Sahara marocain.


Il est à rappeler que, dans le cadre du renouvellement de ces Accords, la Commission européenne s’est appuyée sur un processus consultatif associant les élus locaux du Sahara marocain pour établir que la population du Sahara marocain consent à l’exploitation des ressources naturelles et en bénéficie. Le Parlement européen a ensuite adopté ces Accords à une immense majorité.


M. Bayet a également mis en avant le climat de calme et de sérénité qui règne dans les Provinces du Sud, soulignant qu’il s’agit d’une "destination touristique prisée, attirant de grandes conférences nationales et internationales, et beaucoup d’activités touristiques pour de nombreux européens".


Les Provinces du Sud accueillent en effet de nombreux événements diplomatiques d’envergure à l’instar du Forum Crans Montana à Dakhla, mais aussi le Forum Maroc-Etats insulaires du Pacifique qui s’est tenu du 27 au 29 février 2020 à Laâyoune.


M. Bayet a fait ces déclarations dans le cadre du Sahara Debate, une émission citoyenne qui se veut une plateforme ouverte et démocratique pour jeter des éclairages sereins et dépassionnés sur la question du Sahara marocain.