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In the view of the Moroccan expert, how does Morocco benefit from the “Belt and Road” Initiative?

2021-08-23 | China's Belt and Road Network

Dr. Nasser Bouchiba, a Moroccan expert on Chinese affairs, has lived in China for many years. His latest book, "60 Years of Cooperation between Morocco and China", aims to introduce his understanding of China-Morocco relations. On April 29, the Moroccan Hespress electronic newspaper published an article reporting the interview with Bouchiba, introducing the background and purpose of his book, and positively commenting on China's position and the "Belt and Road" initiative.

Dr. Nasser Bouchiba

Bouchiba has lived in China for more than 20 years. He is proficient in Chinese and familiar with Chinese culture. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Chinese Language, a Master’s degree in Business Administration degree from Sun Yat-Sen University, and a PhD’s degree in political theory from the School of Political and Public Affairs Management. In 2012, Bouchiba was hired by Sun Yat-Sen University as a lecturer in the field of strategic management. Since 2015 he has focused on researching China's aid projects to Africa within the framework of the “Belt and Road” initiative and promoting the development of educational programs for Chinese students. 

Original intention of writing the book-China-Morocco strategic partnership

Question: Why does this book specifically describe the relationship between Morocco and China? What is its main background?

Answer: In 2016, when King Mohammed VI of Morocco paid a state visit to China, the two countries signed a strategic partnership agreement. Since then I have developed the idea of writing this book. This book was written in Chinese, and later I translated it into Arabic and French.

One of the purposes of this book is to serve as a tool for Moroccan and Chinese students and researchers to help them explore research topics in the fields of political, economic and cultural cooperation between the two countries. All the data and reference materials collected from articles and bilateral agreements during the writing of this book were open to researchers.

This book uses accurate data to analyze bilateral trade exchanges. I hope this book can become a powerful tool to help exporters, suppliers and trading partners, and help investors discover new business opportunities between the two countries. After selling this book in Chinese bookstores, I received invitations from some chambers of commerce to give a speech on the relationship between Morocco and China and introduce investment opportunities in Morocco. We are preparing to hold similar events with Moroccan businessmen.

Nasser Bouchiba (right) displays the French, Chinese and Arabic editions of "60 Years of Cooperation between Morocco and China" (Source: Hespress)

China-Morocco relations are transparent and equal 

Question: The book talks about the 60-year history of relations between the two countries. What are the principles underlying the development of China-Morocco relations?

Answer: Although Morocco and China chose different political systems and development models in the 1950s, the two countries have always trusted each other and their political relations have remained open and transparent, which has become a model for countries to follow.

By analyzing the exchange files between the leaders of the two countries, it can be clearly seen that the relationship between the two countries has always been based on the development of bilateral mutually beneficial cooperation, with the goal of achieving economic independence, and the principle of mutual respect and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs.

I wrote in the book that Morocco, like other developing countries, suffered from border issues after independence. While defending its territorial integrity, Morocco has always hoped to find a reasonable solution through the United Nations to solve the problems of the southern provinces. Morocco has always conveyed to the Chinese government the latest developments in the Moroccan Sahara Desert and its position on expanding autonomy. China has never interfered in the conflicts between Morocco and the separatist groups in the southern provinces of the country. This reflects China’s foreign policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries.

On China's internal issues, Morocco has always supported the one-China principle. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1958, Morocco has consistently appealed to the international community for the restoration of China's legitimate seat in the United Nations. Moreover, the Moroccan government has never attempted to establish any direct or indirect relations with the Taiwanese authorities of China.

The Noor Phase II and Phase III CSP stations, which are built by Chinese companies, are the largest CSP stations in the world. After completion, it is expected to provide Morocco with nearly 50% of the electricity supply. The picture shows Noor Phase III Tower CSP Station (Source: Photographer Qi Kai)

"Belt and Road" benefits Morocco

Question: How do you understand the "Belt and Road" initiative and its importance?

Answer: After the implementation of the reform and opening policy in 1978, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, China has continuously improved its foreign cooperation policy and improved its domestic business environment to integrate into the world economic system more quickly.

The Chinese government has seen that after the 2008 financial crisis, the liberal international order has entered a state of imbalance, and the protectionist motives of some developed countries will increasingly hinder the growth of China's external demand. The Chinese government responded quickly by stimulating domestic demand to make up for insufficient external demand, supporting public investment in improving the quality of domestic infrastructure, and stimulating domestic consumption.

The spread of the "China Threat Theory" has increased the risk of China losing its share of the global market. In order to win new markets and reduce its dependence on Western markets, China proposed the “Belt and Road” initiative in 2013, initiated the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and established the Silk Road Fund to cope with global economic imbalances and promote the establishment of new relationships between all parties.

By attracting Chinese companies to enter the country’s industrial zones, Morocco has begun to benefit from the “Belt and Road” initiative; the local tourism sector has also benefited, and Morocco has become the best tourist destination for Chinese tourists in 2019.

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Translated by LiWei