The energy transition was one of the main themes of the discussion at the MED Dialogues, which were held in Rome from 2 to 4 December. The MED Dialogues aim to develop “a positive agenda” for the Mediterranean, based on multilateralism as a strategy for conflict resolution and the management of challenges such as climate change.
On the other hand, the Middle East and North Africa is amongst the world’s most vulnerable regions in regard to climate change. The challenges posed by increasing temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, water stress and projected sea level rise, threaten human and economic development in the area. Tackling global warming is crucial to ensure the security and prosperity of the region.
Morocco is certainly one of the countries that have invested the most in renewable energy in the MENA region. In 2015, with the Paris Agreement, the country adopted ambitious targets, committing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 42% and to reach 52% of energy from renewable sources by 2030.
The Moroccan Minister of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development, Leila Benali, was one of the guests of honour at the MED Dialogues. Benali was appointed minister last October, when the new Moroccan government led by Aziz Akhannouch was sworn in. The Akhannouch government is liberal, young and features the highest number ever of women ministers. Women who hold key roles in the government include Finance Minister Nadia Fettah Alaoui.
Benali, an expert in energy strategy and sustainability, former director of strategy at Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (Apicorp), has been assigned a crucial ministry.
The MED Dialogues event in which Leila Benali took part, entitled “Clean Energy for All: Opportunities for Cooperation in the Mena Region“, aimed to highlight the opportunities for cooperation that the energy transition is opening up in the enlarged Mediterranean.
Sharing strategies, efforts, and experiences through the establishment of common frameworks of development as well as improving connectivity through green energy infrastructures will contribute to the sustainable growth while also enhancing cooperation opportunities for the region.
In her intervention, minister Benali underlined Morocco’s commitment to the green transition. “The investments we made over the last two decades are now paying off: we reached our target of 40% of energy mix based on renewables, and we aim to exceed the target of 52% by 2030“, she said, explaining that 50 renewable energy projects have been already completed in the Kingdom, while at least 60 are under development.
The minister then focused on the importance of international cooperation in the field of energy as a tool to optimize the energy infrastructure of the region and make it more flexible. Flexibility is necessary to better address problems such as the political weaponization of energy supplies, but also to be able to readapt existing infrastructure to the transport of new energy sources, such as hydrogen. In this sense, the minister said, “we must work with our regional partners, in particular the European Union“.
Finally, the minister focused on Morocco’s energy strategy. She explained that three of the fundamental pillars of the country’s strategy are strengthening international cooperation, industrial integration and opening up the private sector, something Morocco has been widely praised for. In short, the message to investors and international partners is clear: Morocco is ready to play a crucial role in the energy transition in Africa.