Morocco: An African Partner to Help Build a Greener Europe?

Morocco: An African Partner to Help Build a Greener Europe?

Despite the enormous economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the green transition continues to rank among the key priorities of the European Union (EU). In December 2019, the EU presented the Green Deal, an ambitious multi-year action plan that aims to make Europe climate-neutral by 2050 by using renewable energy to preserve the competitiveness of its economy while ensuring sustainable growth.

In some quarters, it has been argued that the pandemic and the war in Ukraine can accelerate the green agenda, as EU member states seek to return to growth while limiting their dependence on fossil fuels, particularly the gas and oil provided by Moscow. In recent weeks, several European senior representatives paid official visits to friendly countries, particularly in the Gulf region, with the objective of diversifying their energy partnerships. The German Vice-Chancellor notably traveled to the United Arab Emirates to sign hydrogen-based energy supply contracts.

A deepening of existing strategic partnerships with Morocco could potentially help Europe to reduce its dependence on Russian gas and oil. The North-African Kingdom embarked on the global race for green energy several years ago, notably by inaugurating the world’s largest solar plant in 2016. By 2030, it is expected that renewable energy sources will cover 52% of Morocco's electricity needs while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45.5%.

“Decarbonisation is a priority for the reform of the energy sector, given the soaring prices of raw materials and its direct and indirect impact on the domestic economy,” Minister of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development Leila Benali said in a statement to MAP, the national news state agency.

Over the past week, French and Moroccan representatives also met to discuss possibilities of future partnerships. During this meeting, on the theme of “Decarbonisation: A Lever for Sustainable Growth,” Chakib Alj, President of the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises (CGEM), highlighted Morocco's potential as a main provider of green hydrogen to meet Europe’s needs in clean energy.

With its long experience and numerous geographical advantages, Morocco represents a potential partner of choice for the EU as a long-term supplier of renewable energy. Morocco has already signed an agreement with the United Kingdom (UK) which will see a collaboration between Morocco's National Electricity Regulatory Authority (ANRE) and the UK's Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) to help build greener energy systems.

During an official visit to Morocco last February, Ursula Von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, had already announced a 1.6 billion-euro investment to support the Moroccan green and digital transition.

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