Berlin and Rabat seek intensified cooperation on green energy

The governments of Morocco and Germany signed on 3 July 2012 a declaration of intent aspiring to unite Morocco’s solar and wind potential and Germany’s industrial experience in that field. The German government risks backing projects in occupied Western Sahara, warns WSRW.
Published: 04.07 - 2012 20:24Printer version    
The Declaration of Intent regarding the establishment of an energy-partnership between the Kingdom of Morocco and the German Bundesrepublic, signed yesterday, focuses on the need to further develop a bilateral partnership in order to expand renewable energy initiatives, and the need for political support for the Desertec project - a giant solar power project in the Sahara desert.
By 2050, Desertec aims to supply 15% of Europe’s energy needs through solar energy generated in the Saharan desert. The project has been criticised for including occupied Western Sahara in its projected scope. A map depicting solar and wind plants in the occupied territory is still included on Desertec's webpages today.

Following protests by civil society, Desertec announced in 2010 that it would not undertake its pilot project in Western Sahara, citing “reputational reasons”. But Desertec never commented on the location of follow-up projects.

German multinational Siemens, a major shareholder of the Desertec Industrial Initiative, is currently partnering with Moroccan holding Nareva for a windfarm project in occupied Western Sahara.

No mention is done in the new bilateral declaration as to the scope of the partnership: Morocco sees Western Sahara as their own national territory. The German government, the UN and the International Court of Justice do not recognise Western Sahara as part of Morocco.



Morocco occupies the major part of its neighbouring country, Western Sahara. Entering into business deals with Moroccan companies or authorities in the occupied territories gives an impression of political legitimacy to the occupation. It also gives job opportunities to Moroccan settlers and income to the Moroccan government. Western Sahara Resource Watch demands foreign companies leave Western Sahara until a solution to the conflict is found.
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