Speech of The Head of Government, Mr. Aziz Akhannouch at the Moroccan-Spanish Economic Forum


Your Excellency, Mr. Prime Minister,
Ladies and Gentlemen, Ministers,
Ladies and Gentlemen, Ambassadors,
Mr. the President of the Spanish Federation of Business Organizations,
Mr. the President of the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises (CGEM),
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have the honor to be present with you today on the occasion of the closing of the Moroccan-Spanish Economic Forum, which is being held on the sidelines of the high-level summit between the two countries.
It is an occasion to strengthen and support economic partnerships between Moroccan and Spanish companies, as well as to accelerate the pace of joint investment in priority sectors, in light of the political dynamism in relations between our two neighboring and friendly countries and based on the historical reference and strategic ties that unite them.
It is no secret that the economic capital of our country, Casablanca, bears the name of Spain and that the administrative capital of Spain, Madrid, bears an Arabic name. Today, 900,000 Moroccans live in Spain, and the Strait of Gibraltar, which separates us, is only 14 kilometers long. 
The relations between our two countries are deep and close, and our exchanges are rich and constantly renewed. While at times these relations have suffered from misunderstandings, we have always found ways to overcome this, as we have realized, throughout history, that we are stronger when we are together.

Mr. Prime Minister,

This high-level meeting is an opportunity to take stock of the strong relations between our two countries in the light of the vision of the two Kings of the two countries, His Majesty King Mohammed VI, and His Majesty King Philip VI.
In this context, our bilateral relations are witnessing a new era, with your Government supporting the autonomy plan under Moroccan sovereignty, where Spain had the courage of historical realism, which we can only highly commend the State and the people.
The world has been living through difficult years exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the return of war to Europe, as well as the increasing global warming affecting us all. Perhaps the best answer to this difficult circumstance is to work together, hand in hand, to build together a better future.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The relations between Morocco and Spain are exemplary on a number of levels.
On the one hand, we can be proud of our security cooperation in the fight against terrorism. At the beginning of January this year, our special forces on both sides dismantled a terrorist cell in Morocco and Spain. Morocco has strongly condemned the terrorist attack on two churches in Algeciras and, by the way, allow me to express to you our sincere solidarity and sympathy towards the victims of this incident and their families.
In this regard, Morocco is making a great effort to control the flow of refugees, in full respect of human values. In 2021, efforts prevented 63,000 attempts at irregular migration and dismantled 250 migrant smuggling networks.
At the energy level, the Maghreb-European gas pipeline has for 25 years enabled Spain to supply gas through Morocco. Given the current geopolitical realities, our two countries have shown a high sense of cooperation and flexibility by maintaining this line and reversing the flow of the pipeline in order to supply Morocco with liquefied natural gas (LNG) via Spain.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The strength of relations between our two countries is based on the positive dynamic of our trade.
Today, Spain is Morocco's first trading partner in terms of both exports and imports. Morocco is Spain's third non-EU trading partner after China and the United States, and the first destination for Spanish exports in Africa and the Arab world.
More importantly, this dynamic is on the rise. Our trade amounted to €17 billion in 2021, while in the first nine months of 2022, it increased by 21%. Over the course of a decade, the value of our trade has increased by an average of 8% per year and currently constitutes one-fifth of Morocco's trade with the rest of the world.
As a reference year before the Covid-19 crisis, 2019 saw the creation of around 700 companies with Spanish capital in Morocco. More than 20,000 Spanish companies export their products and services to Morocco. It is further proof that the nature of our exchanges is getting richer and more diverse.
The volume of Spanish investments in Morocco is constantly increasing, which is reflected in the volume of foreign direct investment, which places Spain as the third foreign investor in Morocco. In this regard, the margin of development remains important, whether it is energy, transportation, tourism, or industry, especially in light of the stimulus system introduced by the new investment charter.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

There is no doubt that it is a trusted, strong, flexible, smart, and multidimensional partnership that practically translates into economic development.
This is the meaning we want to give to our partnership, as His Majesty King Mohammed VI aspires to, may God assist him, a pioneering partnership that serves development and peace in our Mediterranean region, and even a model of common understanding and prosperity among all countries.
Allow me, Mr. Prime Minister, to express to you our happiness at your presence among us and pleased with the phone call that His Majesty the King, may God assist him, had with you. This opens up great prospects for relations between the two kingdoms, and a new strategic diversification that will show fruit in the coming months, to move relations forward, for the good of both countries.  

Thank you