Morocco becomes IEA Association Country, a first for the Middle East and Africa
The International Energy Agency (IEA) welcomed the Kingdom of Morocco as an Association Country on Monday, deepening the partnership between both parties for a more sustainable and secure energy future. The announcement was made by Mr Paul Simons, the IEA’s Deputy Executive Director, and Mr Abderrahim El Hafidi, Secretary General of the Ministry of Energy, Mines, Water and the Environment, in Marrakech, host city of the United Nations Conference of Parties (COP22) summit.
Morocco becomes the latest member of the IEA family and the first country in the Middle East and North Africa to join the IEA’s Association initiative aimed at opening its doors to emerging economies. Morocco is now the IEA’s fifth Association country, joining China, Indonesia, Thailand, and Singapore. Morocco has abundant renewable energy resources, mainly solar, wind and hydro-power, and is a regional leader in deploying clean energy technologies. The government is pursuing a policy of reducing its dependence on imported fossil fuels and increasing the share of renewable energy in power generation. It was also among the first countries of the Middle East and North Africa to cut fossil fuel subsidies and introduce energy efficiency measures.
The Association programme provides a platform for the IEA to engage more extensively with partner countries including on energy security, energy data and statistics, and energy policy analysis. It also enables partner countries to participate in a variety of activities, including IEA committees, and training and capacity building activities. “Morocco’s leadership and commitment to a sustainable energy future can be a model for other countries in North Africa, sub Saharan Africa and beyond, particularly in the electricity sector,” said Mr Simons. “It is fitting that this very important climate summit is being held in Morocco, which has done so much to further the climate change agenda. The IEA looks forward to a closer cooperation with Morocco, which has been a close partner country for many years.”
The IEA’s collaboration with Morocco began in 2007, focusing particularly on the areas of energy policy, statistics, and research and development (R&D). Two years later, the government adopted a national energy strategy, setting clear targets for wind, solar and hydropower. The IEA’s 2014 energy policy review of Morocco was the first dedicated to a country in the Middle East and North Africa region. Earlier this year, the IEA published a report under its Partner Country Series setting out the findings of a pilot study testing the IEA’s Clean Energy Technology Assessment Methodology (CETAM) in Morocco, one of only three countries chosen for the case study. The IEA and Morocco plan to develop new joint programmes under Association to support Morocco in its transition toward a low-carbon economy.