Wide Angle

Morocco and Algeria eye trade opportunities in the Mauritania market

The opportunities offered by the Mauritanian market and its openness to Africa is appealing to Algeria. Moroccans, on the other hand, are interested too in the neighboring country.

Foreign Affairs Minister Nasser Bourita and Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz./Ph. AMI
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Both Morocco and Algeria are interested in Mauritania. The two neighboring countries have launched lately a series of economic and political initiatives, targeting Nouakchott.

Meanwhile, Mauritania, under the auspices of President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, has been trying to balance its foreign policies by employing, in June, Ismail Ould Sheikh as a Foreign Affairs Minister. Five months later, Ould Abdel Aziz’s decision seems to be paying off.

Algeria has not missed an opportunity to strengthen its presence in the Mauritanian market. This was confirmed through the opening of a new border crossing in Zouerate on August the 19th.

On October the 24th, a delegation headed by the Algerian Economy Minister Said Djellab traveled to Nouakchott to take part in the 2nd edition of the Algerian-Mauritanian Business Council.

During this event, the two parties signed 9 agreements, including a plan to build a logistics base at Bir Moghrein, a town located 400 km away from the borders separating the two countries.

Meanwhile, Nouakchott hosted on the 23rd and 24th of October the Fair of Algerian products, which was attended by 170 Algerian companies.

Morocco and Mauritania

Commercial activities between Nouakchott and Algiers rose in the last few months. In 2017, trade between the two countries increased, moving from $38 million to $50 million.

But despite this good performance, Algeria's presence «remains low compared to the $200 million a year the Kingdom makes by exporting goods to Mauritania», a diplomatic source told Yabiladi.

The diplomatic crisis between the two nations did not impact business between them.

The presence of Moroccan goods in the Mauritanian market might get strengthened if a free trade is signed between the two countries. The idea was first mentioned in April 2016 in Rabat by Khadija Mint Mbareck Fall, the former Mauritanian delegate Minister of Foreign Affairs. But since October the 30th, the senior official has been heading the Ministry of trade, industry and tourism.

The draft free trade agreement should be on the agenda of the 8th session of the Moroccan-Mauritanian high mixed commission.

For the record, the Mauritanian president received on Friday, 2nd of November, Morocco’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Nasser Bourita, reports the Mauritanian press agency (AMI). Bourita handed down President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz a message from King Mohammed VI.

The Moroccan Foreign Minister said he was «confident» in the future of the diplomatic relations between the two neighboring countries. «Important changes will be carried out thanks to the dynamic framework desired by His Majesty and His Excellency the President of the Republic», Nasser Bourita told AMI.

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