France, Morocco boost economic ties

France and Morocco have signed a series of accords and five commercial contracts worth €600 million ($720 million), French officials say.

    De Villepin: Goal is to create wealth and jobs for both sides

    The signings on Tuesday came during a visit by French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, who exited a meeting with King Mohammed VI saying the goal was to provide a "new dynamic" in France's relationship with its former North African territory.


    French firm Thales won a five-year contract worth over €100 million to provide secure identity cards to the Moroccan Interior Ministry.

    The cards will use Thales's "smart card" technology and will include personal and biometric data. About 20 million cards will be produced.

    Warplanes upgrade

    Also signed was a preliminary accord for Thales to upgrade about 20 Moroccan Mirage fighter jets. That deal will be finalised in coming weeks, French officials said. Morocco opted to modernise its Mirages rather than buy American F-16s.

    "We want to intensify our economic exchanges. The goal is to create wealth and jobs for both sides," Villepin said.


    Other contracts covered waste water management, postal services and state investment funds. The nine bilateral cooperation accords covered public works, finance, health and culture.

    A French development agency will finance road construction

    in rural areas and improved housing, projects valued at a

    total of €100 million.

     

    France will also loan €10 million to finance microcredit and advise Morocco on setting up health insurance.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Death from above: Every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Death from above: Every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and a coalition of Arab states have launched more than 19,278 air raids across Yemen.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.