The Dakhla-Oued Eddahab region in southern Morocco is considered a hub of opportunity thanks to its modern infrastructure and dynamic fishing and renewable energy sectors.
Dakhla-Oued Eddahab is one of the 12 regions of Morocco which were created by a territorial division in 2015. Covering 18.4% of the area of the kingdom, Dakhla-Oued Eddahab occupies a strategic location in the south, acting as a bridge between Morocco and Europe via the Atlantic Ocean, and Morocco and sub-Saharan Africa via Mauritania.
A number of natural resources can be found in the area, including phosphates, salt, and sand. In a recently published report, Oxford Business Group (OBG) highlights all these riches and presents the opportunities offered by the region in terms of long-term investment.
“The long-term vision of the Dakhla-Oued Eddahab region in Morocco is anchored in its advantageous geographical position as a commercial and logistics hub for North and West Africa, and an entry point for regional and continental investments”, specifies the report.
According to the same source, the main economic engines of the region are fishing, agriculture, tourism and renewable energies which have experienced robust growth in recent years.
“The authorities have pursued economic diversification, increased added value and supported infrastructure development. The pipeline of projects for the coming years includes the Atlantic port of Dakhla, the West African Free Zone and the largest wind farm in North Africa. The decision by several countries to open consulates in Dakhla is expected to create new investment and trade opportunities,” the report continued.
“The Dakhla region is one of the most promising economic hotspots in Africa for companies seeking to strengthen trade links between Europe and West Africa,” said Al Derham, Managing Director at Oxford Business Group.
“As a point of entry into sub-Saharan Africa and West Africa, the region is an influential place for trade and has great economic potential,” he added.
US recognition of Moroccan sovereignty, an opening to trade
In December 2020, the United States announced the recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over the southern provinces of Dakhla-Oued Eddahab, Laâyoune-Sakia El Hamra and Guelmim-Oued Nom.
In this sense, the United States has said it will establish a consulate in Dakhla, as well as an office specifically designated to support investment in the region.
The US decision to establish a diplomatic mission is expected to create new opportunities for foreign investment and bilateral trade, and strengthen the emerging tourism sector.
“The opening of a consulate will allow the United States to benefit more from Morocco’s strategy to position itself as a center of exchanges towards Africa, Europe and the Middle East”, had previously declared, David Fischer, former US Ambassador to Morocco.
This recognition will support and encourage investment and development of projects that bring tangible benefits to the region.
Indeed, the United States International Development Finance Corporation – the development bank of the United States – announced that it had signed a $ 3 billion Memorandum of Understanding with the Moroccan government to invest in Dakhla- Oued Eddahab and other regions, in order to support the country’s candidacy to become a center of commerce on the African continent. The funds must be invested over a period of four years.
It’s not just about the United States. Recently, several delegations visited Dakhla as part of their interest in business opportunities in the region. In June, a delegation of Arab ambassadors traveled to Dakhla to explore the city’s economic strengths.
The delegations included ambassadors from Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Yemen. The diplomats discussed investment opportunities and visited major completed projects in the region, including many more currently underway.
The envoys also visited local industrial units specializing in the conservation of pelagic fish, such as sardines and tuna.