Morroco's prime minister will be in Lisbon on Friday: Aziz Akhannouch owns giant petroleum business Akwa group
Morroco's prime minister will be in Lisbon on Friday: Aziz Akhannouch owns giant petroleum business Akwa group

State, Morocco reboot high level summits interrupted by pandemic

PM to meet Moroccan counterpart on Friday

Portugal’s prime minister, António Costa, and his Moroccan counterpart, Aziz Akhannouch, (one of the ‘richest men in the world’, according to Forbes) will chair the XIV Portugal-Morocco High Level Meeting in Lisbon on Friday, resuming summits that were interrupted because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to a note from the prime minister’s office, “Portugal and Morocco will celebrate in 2024 the 250th anniversary of the Peace Treaty and the 30th anniversary of the Treaty of friendship, good neighbourliness and cooperation”.

Regarding Friday’s agenda, the Lisbon executive says the aim is to boost “a strategic partnership between the two countries, whose historical ties are linked to solid levels of political, economic and cultural cooperation.

“Focusing on areas of knowledge, social cohesion and economic development, the meeting will focus on topics such as electrical interconnection and labour mobility. Several legal instruments to strengthen bilateral relations will also be signed and, on the same day, an economic forum will be held”.

The last summit between the governments of Portugal and Morocco took place in December 2017 in Rabat, on which occasion 12 bilateral cooperation agreements were signed.

“These 12 agreements mirror well the intensity of our political and economic relations,” António Costa declared at the time.

Among the matters agreed, three agreements related to energy, with particular emphasis on a memorandum in the field of renewable energies, with a view to triangular cooperation between Portuguese-Moroccan companies in third markets.

Still on economic matters, the governments of Portugal and Morocco signed a cooperation agreement between the two national energy agencies, as well as commitments in areas such as tourism, geology and mining.

The then minister for the Sea, Ana Paula Vitorino, signed with her Moroccan counterpart an agreement on port and maritime issues. The two countries also established collaboration commitments in areas such as health, employment, labour and social protection, administrative modernisation and for joint actions in the cultural field, particularly at the cinematographic and audiovisual level.

At the end, the prime minister considered that a growing proximity and economic interdependence between Portugal and Morocco is a central strategic factor for the future of the two countries, both in terms of security and for Euro-African relations.

“For Portugal, Morocco is the country where Africa begins. For Morocco, Portugal is the country where Europe begins. The nearest capital to Lisbon is Rabat,” he said, referring to the geographical proximity of the two countries.

The prime minister also referred to the prospects of starting construction of a 220-kilometre electricity link cable between Tavira and Tangier in the first half of 2018 – a project at that time valued at between €500 and €700 million euros.

“This project, however, has not yet been completed”, says Lusa. Indeed, there has been almost nothing written about it since it was first mooted.

Source material: LUSA