A $ 2.1 billion scheme to convert the Moroccan Dakhla into a regional “economic pole”

Dakhla, the southernmost city of Morocco, is in the throes of a massive restructuring plan with investments worth 19.34 billion dirhams ($ 2.1 billion).

“This scheme includes 136 projects in various fields, including 9 completed projects, 29 projects in progress, and the rest at different stages of studies and preparation,” said Mohamed Hashim, director of the regional project implementation agency in Dakhla.

He pointed out that the most prominent of these projects is the establishment of a large commercial port on the Atlantic coast north of the city of Dakhla, a free trade economic zone area for industrial activities and logistics on the area of 200 hectares in parallel. This will be in addition to a large port of fishing in the area of Muhairiz near the border with Mauritania. Hashim explained that the Atlantic port, which will cost about 8 billion dirhams ($ 870 million), is in the final study phase and is expected to be completed by the end of this year. While the port of Muhairiz dedicated to sea fishing, is in its final stages of construction and is awaiting delivery before the end of this year.

“Dakhla’s ambition is to play its role as an industrial and commercial economic pole in West Africa. The new Atlantic port will be the largest port in this region and will therefore play a central role in linking this region through international trade routes.” He explained that the port will be ready to receive large vessels coming from different continents, to unload cargo and recharge through small and medium vessels from various countries in the region. The new port of Dakhla will also serve as a hub for the collection of exports from nearby West African countries and to send them through giant ships to the world markets.

As part of the overall restructuring of the Dakhla, it was also decided to move fishing-related activities to the Muhairiz area, some 400 kilometers south of Dakhla on the border with Mauritania. “Dakhla comprises about 70 percent of Morocco’s fish stocks. Its current port receives around 600,000 tonnes of fish annually. About 35 per cent of the working population is engaged in the fishing sector and associated factories.

Currently, the port is located inside the Gulf, so it has a negative impact on the special ecosystem of the gulf of Dakhla, which includes hundreds of fish species and is home to dozens of species of birds. Therefore, it was decided to close this port and to transfer the fishing activity and related industries to the Atlantic port to the north and the port of Muhairiz in the south.