EU unveils €1.6 billion investment in Morocco

It is the first African scheme in the EU’s €300 billion “Global Gateway” infrastructure plan, the bloc’s response to China’s Belt and Road strategy.

The European Union will invest €1.6 billion ($1.8 billion) in Morocco to produce green energy, European Commission Presiden Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday.

Ursula von der Leyen will visit Morocco and Senegal to promote Europe's new Global Gateway investment schemeUrsula von der Leyen

Morroco is the first country to receive funding under the infrastructure program.

“This is a great opportunity for the green and digital transition,” von der Leyen wrote on Twitter after meeting the Morrocan Prime Minister, Aziz Ajanuch.

On Thursday, she will meet Senegalese President Macky Sall, who has recently assumed the African Union presidency.

Her visit comes ahead of the European Union – African Union Summit in Brussels next week.

“The summit should identify a first set of strategic interventions in infrastructure, value-chain and private-sector development, vocational training and health,” von der Leyen told the AFP news agency.

While in Senegal, she will take part in a signing ceremony for the Ndici Madiba Project, in which the EU will provide support to build a plant to produce vaccines against COVID-19 and other diseases.

Widely seen as a competitor to China’s Belt and Road strategy, Global Gateway aims to secure up to €300 billion in investments. It relies on both public and private sector investment as an alternative to Chinese loans.

“(Investment options in Africa) too often have hidden costs. The financial, political, environmental and social costs are sometimes very heavy. These options often create more dependency than real links,” von der Leyen said.

“Global Gateway is a different proposition. It is an investment anchored in the values to which Europe is attached, transparency, good governance, concern for the environment and the wellbeing of the population,” she added.

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