Transport: Morocco moves forward
OECD Observer: What are the main transport challenges facing your ministry?
Our goal is to provide a tailored response to users’ needs and to anticipate the future requirements of different economic operators in terms of infrastructure and means of transport. The government has undertaken vast programmes to develop transport infrastructure and liberalise various means of travel to keep pace with the economic boom the country is enjoying and to facilitate our integration into the global economy.
Several master plans for the years 2030-2035 have been drawn up and included in development programmes for roads, motorways, railways, ports and airports that have already been completed or are still ongoing. These plans reflect a determined strategy to strengthen and modernise the main infrastructure and superstructure networks so that Morocco can act as a strong link in north-south trade between Africa and Europe as well as among the Mediterranean countries.
Morocco has already completed some major projects such as the Mediterranean bypass, the Tangiers-Agadir and El Jadida-Casablanca-Oujda motorways, the start of work on the first section of the master plan for high-speed railway lines between Tangiers and Casablanca, the Tangiers-Mediterranean port, construction work at the port of Safi and the forthcoming ports of Nador West Med, Kénitra Atlantique and Dakhla Atlantique. To this list can be added the inauguration of Mohammed V Airport in Casablanca as an international hub for the southern Mediterranean.
Furthermore, widespread reforms of the road haulage and passenger transport sector, the rail sector and the reorganisation of the country’s ports by introducing competition both within and between ports have been initiated. A new development strategy for the merchant navy, the liberalisation of the aviation sector and the implementation of an ambitious development strategy for logistics activities encompassing all modes of transport is currently being drafted.
The ministry is also seeking to develop skills and training centres for the transport sector and to turn Morocco into a regional platform for industry, particularly for transport-related businesses by developing sub-contracting and maintenance industries for aeronautics, railways, shipyards, etc.
Moreover, Morocco is fully committed to a win-win partnership approach with the private sector for the construction and operation of quality transport infrastructure and services to satisfy the growing needs of communities and businesses.
Morocco’s efforts are beginning to pay off with reductions in the cost of transport and more competitive logistics services.
In 2007, Morocco launched a major high-speed rail project. What is the state of play today and what do you expect from this programme?
To keep pace with growing demand for rail travel–passenger numbers have trebled in ten years!–and to increase capacity, Morocco has introduced a master plan for high-speed rail services which includes the construction of around 1,500 km of high-speed lines by 2035. This network will consist of two major routes: the Tangiers-Agadir “Atlantic” line and the Casablanca-Rabat-Oujda “Maghreb” line.
The Tangiers-Agadir line is being built in stages. Some 60% of the line has been completed and the first trains are due to run in 2015.
Studies are now under way for the construction of other sections to Marrakech and Agadir as part of the plan.
What in your view should Africa do to inject more investment in transport?
Transport must be developed in a co-ordinated manner with the ultimate goal of building a reliable, efficient, safe and environmentally friendly transport system for passengers and freight.
African transport is costly due a set of complex factors, including the poor and inadequate state of infrastructure, dilapidated and inefficient vehicles, poor transport, and weak competition.
Steps should be taken to attract sufficient funding to develop and maintain the transport infrastructure. These include increasing public financing by ear-marking a sufficient share of GDP for the sector, either directly in the national budget or by means of loans or state guarantees; strengthening the capacity to mobilise external resources to benefit not only from funding from multilateral and bilateral donors, but also from innovative financing arrangements; encouraging complementary public-private partnerships for the construction and operation of transport infrastructure; and restructuring the training system for jobs in the transport and aviation sectors by setting up regional training centres that are open to other African countries.
Morocco is an observer to the International Transport Forum (ITF) at the OECD.
Also see http://www.oecd.org/dev/
© OECD Observer No 296 Q3 2013
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