Morocco and the Chinese province of Shandong launched the economic dialogue on Monday 28 February 2022. This meeting aims to strengthen the economic partnership between the Kingdom and this province.
Representatives of more than 80 Chinese companies that are looking for investment opportunities in Morocco participated in this session. This dialogue is part of Shandong Province’s “Bridge to Africa” initiative. Through this meeting, the two countries seek to deepen their ties and mutual cooperation. It should be noted that their relationship has always been one of friendship, understanding and mutual respect.
In a speech at the launching of the dialogue, Morocco’s ambassador to China, Aziz Mekouar, said he was honoured that Morocco was the first African country to be invited to the birth of the new “Bridge to Africa” platform. According to him, this consideration draws its strength from the fraternal and ancient links between China and the African continent.
“Morocco-Shandong Dialogue” is the first of its kind between the Kingdom and a Chinese province. Therefore, this meeting offers on the one hand a space for fruitful exchange between the different actors on business opportunities in Morocco. On the other hand, it allows countries to realise the great potential of Sino-Moroccan cooperation through the “Bridge to Africa” platform.
Implementation of a strategic and multidimensional partnership.
Recalling the 63rd anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Morocco and China, Mekouar mentioned that King Mohamed VI and President Xi Jinping had laid the first foundations for the renewal of this relationship. This was during the Sovereign’s visit to Beijing in May 2016. During this visit, the two heads of state set the seal on a multi-dimensional strategic partnership commensurate with their respective ambitions.
It should be noted that important steps have been taken since the establishment of this partnership. These include the Kingdom’s accession to the Belt and Road Initiative in 2017. Also the commitment to sign the implementation plan for the joint construction of the Belt and Road on 5 January 2022.
According to Yang PeiPei, Economic Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy, the volume of bilateral trade between Morocco and China reached a record high in 2021, amounting to 6.52 billion dollars, with a year-on-year growth of 36.6 pc.
This first edition of the dialogue between Shandong Province and Morocco focuses on the construction, automotive, machinery and manufacturing sectors. To the same extent, mining exploration, agricultural exports and the pharmaceutical and chemical industry will be explored.
Indeed, “Bridge to Africa” is a service platform set up by Shandong Province with the vision of accelerating the implementation of the achievements of the 81st Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and amplifying the opening of Shandong Province to the world.
As a programme that brings together various governmental, industrial, academic, financial and economic actors involved in cooperation with Africa, the platform aims to make Shandong an ideal province for the organisation of activities within the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.
Shandong, one of the main engines of China’s economy.
Shandong is a province in eastern China. With an estimated population of over 100 million, it is one of the most populous provinces in China. It is also the third largest “provincial economy” in the country with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of USD 129 billion in 2021.
The province is rich in natural resources and its mineral reserves are among the largest in the country. Of the 500 largest Chinese companies, 48 are based in Shandong. Its food, paper manufacturing, gold mining and tyre manufacturing industries are the largest in China in terms of turnover.
Light industry, machine manufacturing and the production of construction materials rank second nationally, and the automotive and metal sectors rank third.