Gulf states to invest $737 million in Morocco tourism infrastructure

Aerial view of King Hassan II mosque of Casablanca August 27. The Gulf investment will seek to develop infrastructure in the port of Casablanca. (File: Reuters)

Arab Gulf states will invest 6 billion dirhams ($737 million) in tourism infrastructure in the port of Casablanca in the first of a series of such projects, a statement from Morocco’s royal cabinet said on Tuesday.

The states will use their Wessal Capital joint venture, one of the vehicles created by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states to support the Moroccan and Jordanian monarchies during the Arab Spring uprisings.

The fund is focused on tourism development in Morocco and is supported by Qatari fund Qatar Holding, the Kuwait Investment Authority’s Al Ajial Investments, Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund Aabar, Saudi Investment Fund and the Moroccan Fund for Tourism Development (FMDT).

Four Gulf states - Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates - agreed in 2012 to provide aid worth a total $5 billion to Morocco between 2012 and 2017 to build up its infrastructure, strengthen its economy and foster tourism.

The Wessal Capital funds worth $3.4 billion are separate from the aid package, the statement carried by the state news agency said.

“Wessal Casablanca-Port will reconvert a part of the Casablanca port ... to create an urban center which would make the city’s coastline and its old medina a high-end destination,” it added.

Moroccan King Mohammed has kept his distance from Gulf Arab monarchies since his coronation in 1999, making far fewer official visits to the region than his late father King Hassan. However, concern over social unrest has brought Arab monarchies closer to each other.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:42 - GMT 06:42