ISSN 2686 - 9675 (Print)
ISSN 2782 - 1935 (Online)

Китайский «Один пояс, один путь» в арабских странах северной и восточной Африки

4. OBOR — a Means of Diversifying the Moroccan Economy

Relations between China and Morocco are centuries old. Ibn Battuta, the famous Moroccan explorer who toured China from 1345 to 1346, was the first to introduce China, especially the Great Wall, to the West and Arab world [97]. In November 1958, Morocco became the sec-ond country in Africa to recognize the PRC (105). China has rendered Morocco certain economic aid since 1961, but mutually beneficial cooperation bet-ween them was initiated in 1983 [99]. According to the Chinese Investment Tracker in 2014, PRC’s investment in Morocco amounted to US $ 780 million [47, p. 2]. Morocco’s imports from China were worth US $ 3.14 billion in 2017, behind only those from France and Spain [17]. Presently China's contracted projects in Morocco mainly con-centrate on fishery cooperation. The commodities China exports to Morocco mainly include light in-dust-rial products, textiles, green tea, mechanical and electronic products, etc. China imports phos-phates, chemical fertilizer and cobalt sand [99].

The state visit of King Mohammed VI of Mo-rocco to China in 2016 led to the signing of a num-ber of important agreements, including the signing of a China-Africa Investment Fund. China sees Mo-rocco as an opportunity to develop factories for export to the EU, right across the Strait of Gibraltar [83]. In November 17, 2017, China and Morocco signed a MoU on joint construction of the B&R [40].

In October 2000, the Moroccan Bank for For-eign Trade set up an office in Beijing (99). Bank of China (BOC) opened its first branch in Morocco in 2017. In 2016, the Moroccan government hosted the first Sino-African Entrepreneurship Summit in Marrakech, where Morocco later hosted the COP22 Summit [83].

In 2011, Sinochem signed a 4-year contract with Morocco’s OCP Group to purchase 2 million tons of phosphate fertilizer [100]. After China’s Haite Group pulled out of the project, the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) and its subsidiary, the China Road and Bridge Cor-poration (CRBC), signed an MoU with Morocco’s BMCE Bank. Construction on the “Tech City” had already begun as of July 2019. Following the an-nouncement of the “Tech City” project, Chinese au-to manu-facturing companies, including BYD, CITIC Dicastal, and Aotecar New Energy Technology, signed agreements with the Moroccan government to build various plants [17]. CITIC6 Dicastal set up a US $ 400 million plant to supply equipment for the French Groupe PSA's car assembly plant [96].

China is looking to play a strategic role in the development of Europe — Africa connectivity across the Western Mediterranean. The Chinese presence in Morocco is concentrated in industrial zones, Free Trade Zone (FTZ), and financial cen-ters. In Morocco, these include the Atlantic Free Zone in Kenitra, Casablanca Finance City (CFC), and the Tanger Med Port Complex [54].

Beijing has a stake in Morocco's emerging trade transport corridor from West Africa to West-ern Europe, based on the Mo-roccan high-speed railway line Al Boraq and the largest port in the Mediterranean, the recently expanded Tangier Med port, made pos-sible by an investment from China Merchants Group. CCCC is building the Mohammed VI Tangier Tech City industrial center (the plan was announced in March 2017) to attract more multi-national and Chinese firms to Morocco [96]. The Chinese investment is expected to reach US $ 10 billion in this project while providing employment for about 100,000 workers.

It is expected to become the largest Chinese investment project in NA and to feature several industrial zones. At the latter port complex, Chi-nese companies, including Huawei, are planning to establish regional logistics centers [17].

2 — 2022
Арутюнян Агавни Александровна, Отдел международных отношений Института Востоковедения Национальной Академии Наук Армении