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Morocco: Crisis with France concerns expansion of Morocco companies in Africa

August 27, 2022 at 11:54 am

French President Emmanuel Macron gives a speech in Algiers, Algeria on August 25, 2022 [Hamza Zait – Anadolu Agency]

Morocco has expressed its concern about the visit of French President Emmanuel Macron to Algeria, which began on Thursday and will end on Saturday. The visit coincides with a deep crisis between the two countries.

Moroccan media platforms and social media influencers have launched a campaign against France, referring to its colonial past and the mistreatment of Moroccans regarding the visa file that affected former ministers of the Moroccan government. The French consulates’ refusal to grant visas to Moroccans has been considered a deliberate punishment.

On Friday, French newspaper L’Opinion reported that Rabat sees Macron’s visit to Algeria as an attempt to marginalise Morocco. It continued that King Mohammed VI, in his speech on 20 August, referred to France when he demanded that traditional partners demonstrate a clear position on the issue of Western Sahara by supporting the self-governance proposal offered by the Moroccan authorities to resolve the conflict.

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France, however, does not see this as unfair in the manner that the political class and the press in Morocco claim. The French believe Morocco has become a destination for African investments in Africa with the presence of all the major French companies in Morocco and their contribution to the modernisation of the industrial and service sector in Morocco.

France put Morocco on the international industrial map due to its investments in the automobile industry, through Renault first and then Peugeot, creating hundreds of thousands of positions.

France is surprised by Morocco’s criticisms, as the highest percentage of student visas and scholarships are granted to Moroccan students.

All presidents of France backed Morocco’s demands in the dispute on the Saharan issue, causing confrontations in the European Union and with countries such as Algeria.

The political and media class in France avoided discussing the crisis with Morocco, despite the severe criticism against France. They consider that it will pass the same way as the 2014 crisis did, especially since the strong economic relations do not allow a final boycott.

READ: France:  Macron says gas not main agenda of visit to Algeria

There is a difference in opinion about the causes of the crisis between the two countries, and neither of the two countries issued statements recognising the existence of a problem.

However, the press continues to speculate on the origins of the crisis. The French press, such as Le Monde and Les Echos, attribute its origin to Morocco’s spying on French leaders like President Emmanuel Macron.

Meanwhile, the Moroccan press is reporting on France’s concern about the expansion of Moroccan companies in Africa and their competition with France, which does not accept competition from a country it once colonised.