Morocco and Brazil forge closer defence ties

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In February, the Foreign Relations and National Defence Committee of Brazil’s Senate approved a draft decree for a defence cooperation agreement with Morocco, aimed at strengthening defence-related matters, including research and development, logistical support, and the acquisition of products and services.

The agreement, which was signed in 2019 and already approved by Brazil’s lower House, still requires examination during a plenary session in the Brazilian Senate before implementation. The cooperation agreement between Brazil and Morocco aligns with Rabat’s strategy of diversifying its security partnerships globally. In 2022, the country’s military spending amounted to $5 billion, almost 4% of its GDP, as it engages in an arms race with Algeria over Western Sahara.

Morocco is ranked as the 29th largest arms importer globally, with the US being its primary supplier, accounting for 76% of its imports. France and China respectively supply 15% and 6.8% of Morocco’s military equipment.

Also, Rabat aims to reduce its dependence on foreign-made weapons by developing its own defence industry. As part of this strategy, in 2019, Morocco and Brazil inked an agreement to share military technology, which seen as a supportive nod to Morocco’s ambitions to develop its own defence industry. The agreement, which according to the Brazilian foreign ministry included “investment cooperation and facilitation” in military industry, was the first of its kind between Brazil and a Maghreb country. In this framework, Brazil engaged to share military science and technology, defence product acquisition, and training Moroccan officers in advanced military technologies.

In 2020, Morocco’s House of Representatives took a significant step towards modernizing its national defence policy by adopting a draft framework law, dubbed Law No. 10-20. This move aimed to attract foreign investment, promote innovation, and expand the country’s defence industrial base. As a result, the number of jobs in Morocco’s defence industry has been on the rise. According to GlobalData intelligence, the average number of jobs created per month increased from 24 in 2019 to 36 in 2022.

Overall, Brazil has become a significant economic partner of Morocco. In 2021, Morocco’s exports to Brazil reached a record high of $1.9 billion, a 98% increase compared to 2019. In addition to this, the two countries signed seven new agreements covering areas such as investment, mutual legal assistance, non-double taxation, defence, and technology. Morocco has also entered into a technology transfer agreement with a Brazilian research network for car battery chargers that can be used in various vehicles.

Written by ADIT – The Bulletin and republished with permission.