In November 2015, King Mohammed VI gave a speech announcing plans to “enhance the influence of the Sahara region as an economic hub and a crucial link between Morocco and its African roots.” In alignment with these promises, the Ministry of Equipment organized a committee to execute a $1 Billion dollar project to build a port in Dakhla, a Moroccan city often linked with disputed Western Sahara.
The committee will take responsibility for delivering the project within a seven-year period. The announcement is part of a larger project entitled the 2030 National Ports Strategy. The kingdom’s vision includes a total of six new ports in full operation within Morocco’s southern regions. In addition to the ports, the strategy is also to build airports and a railway between Tangier and Lagouira, currently considered a ghost town at the southern tip of Western Sahara.
Morocco envisions these plans will assist in the United Nations recognition of its presence in Western Sahara as both helpful and legitimate. The new port will stimulate the regional economy and create new jobs. Its specific aim is to support regional economic, social, and industrial development in the fisheries, agriculture, mining, energy, tourism, trade, and manufacturing sectors. When it is completed, the Western Sahara region will have up-to-date logistical tools and the fisheries will be better positioned to complete in the global fishing market.