Minister Emphasizes Role of Morocco's Atlantic Initiative in Establishing a 'Strategic Cooperation Zone'

King Mohammed VI’s Atlantic Initiative to promote access to the Atlantic Ocean for Sahel states creates a bridge between continents and an area for strategic cooperation, Minister of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development, Leila Benali, said on Friday in Dakhla.

Speaking during the opening session of the 7th edition of the "Morocco Today Forum" (MTF), held under the patronage of King Mohammed VI, Benali stressed that Morocco is resolutely committed to providing its road, rail, air and energy infrastructure to accomplish the Royal Vision.

This ambitious project will transform the Atlantic seabord into a “high place of human communion, an economic integration hub and a center of continental and international influence," the minister underlined.

 "This Initiative stems not only from a traditional geographical neighborhood policy, but above all from a deep conviction of historical, cultural, political and geostrategic belonging," she added, noting that the countries of the region share common aspirations and a collective will to promote sustainable development.

“Africa faces several challenges, including poor access to modern energy and dependence on imported fossil fuels,” she said, adding, however, that the region presents many opportunities in the renewable energy sector.

In this vein, Benali stressed the importance of focusing on innovative renewable energy solutions and increasing international partnerships and foreign investment in this sector, to resolve the increasing "poverty and energy insecurity" problems in the region.

For his part, the Minister of Transport and Equipment of the Republic of Niger, Colonel Major Salissou Mahaman Salissou, said that the Royal Initiative to facilitate access to the Atlantic Ocean for Sahel countries illustrates the Kingdom's firm commitment to promoting the continent's development.

In this respect, Salissou called on “the Sahel countries to promote innovative and audacious solutions based on the spirit of sincere cooperation and codevelopment, in order to achieve this vision of solidarity which can only be beneficial to our populations."

“Niger has reiterated its commitment for this Initiative during the Ministerial Coordination Meeting in Marrakech,” he recalled, adding that this cooperation will allow Sahel countries to better exploit and invest their resources.

The various participants at this inaugural session were unanimous in stressing that the Royal Initiative is an extension of Morocco's active commitment, under the leadership of King Mohammed VI, to active, mutually supportive South-South cooperation.

The panelists also noted that this initiative, which is in line with the expectations of the countries of Atlantic Africa, opens up promising prospects in terms of economic integration, stability, peace and development.

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