A Royal Project To Promote Dynamic Socio-Economic Role In North-East Of Morocco – OpEd


King Mohammed VI chaired Saturday in Nador (north of Morocco) the presentation ceremony of the management plan of Marchica lagoon, which will provide innovative mechanisms in urban planning, and aims to create a new dynamic of global development, balanced sustainable and able to ensure the success of this structuring project.

On this occasion, the King launched the construction of tourist residences and a golf academy of Atalayoun. This project is intended to promote economic development and tourism in this province. It focuses on the achievement of 145 residential units for a 200 million dirhams investment.


The proposed development site of Marchica lagoon is part of the dynamic, economic, cultural and social that Nador is enjoying as a center of excellence, competitiveness and sustainable development. The Agency for the development of the site Marchica lagoon was created in July 2010 specifically for the promotion and management of the territory that spans urban communes of Nador and Beni Ansar Arekmane and Bouareg rural commune.

The integrated project development site Marchica takes into account the concerns of an economic, tourist, urban, ecological and landscape, and will ultimately improve the quality of life of the inhabitants of the province of Nador. To this end, the Agency has established an action plan that covers the period 2010-2025 and is based, in terms of vision and missions planned around several key areas for action.

The project aims to open new areas for urbanization, urban re qualification of existing tissue and urban restructuring, as well as the improving accessibility to the site and the integration of its local endogenous development, the establishment of a strategy support of social and cultural activities, stopping the pollution of the lagoon and contributing to the development of natural sites.

In creating a model of sustainable development, with high environmental requirements, the proposed development site lagoon Marchica participate in the preservation of important ecological heritage of the Kingdom and the Mediterranean basin, as well as promoting a dynamic socio-economic role in the region north-east of Morocco.

Public acquisition would certainly help preserve and improve the aquatic natural communities of the Marchica Lagoon, one of the country’s most productive, diverse, and commercially and recreationally important estuaries. The area is important for many migratory birds as well as for Mediterranean fishes. Additionally, public acquisition would provide natural resource based recreation in a developing area of Nador.

The largest lagoon on the Mediterranean southern shore, with a length of 24km and a width of 7.5km, separated by the sea by a system of sand dunes. It is a micro-tidal lagoon system with high biodiversity levels and acts as a wintering site for migratory birds, and as spawning and feeding ground for several fish species. Among the variety of life forms, one can find 13 fish species, nine mollusks, two cephalopods and two crustaceans. Bird species which nest here include the Water Rail, the Little Tern, the Pied Avocet and the Slender-billed Gull. Agriculture, fishing and salt production are the main activities to be found. Aquaculture is also practiced by the Moroccan Society for Ostreiculture (MAROST) and concentrates among others on the royal sea-bream, Japanese shrimp, and two oyster varieties.

The main threats to the site are pollution by the activities taking place in the surroundings. Conservation effective measures are being implemented by the agency. The plan for improvement of the lagoon of Marchica, on the northern-eastern coast of Morocco, in the province of Nador , has been officially launched by his Majesty. The one billion euro plan includes setting up seven tourist structures on a 25 km long strip of coast of the lagoon.

On a surface of over 1,000 hectares, the project once a dream has become true. It has contributed widely to the modernisation of Nador ‘s seafront, by restructuring the Hotel Rif, building of the resort Gulf of Nador on the lagoon coasts, by building new hotels, villas, the sea pole Atalayoune, the luxurious residential complex ‘Cite’ de la Plaine’, the new seaside resort Kariat Armane and a hotel complex with sport infrastructures. The construction of a small port ‘of the two seas’ is also envisaged. The project includes a system for introducing water back into the lagoon. After the Green City in Benguerir, King Mohammed continues his ambitious but concrete project program to grant each region with projects that respect its natural and cultural aspects but at the same time contribute widely to its promotion.

Said Temsamani

Said Temsamani is a Moroccan political observer and consultant, who follows events in his country and across North Africa. He is a member of Washington Press Club.

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