The most important advances in Moroccan-Spanish cooperation

The 12th session of the High Level Meeting (HLM) undoubtedly demonstrated Rabat and Madrid’s commitment to maintaining the excellent relations that have linked them for decades, accompanied by the signing of around twenty agreements of cooperation, particularly in the field of Higher Education and Scientific Research.

Moroccan-Spanish relations in the field of higher education and scientific research date back to the 1970s. The collaboration was initiated by the signing of a scientific and technical cooperation agreement in 1979, followed by a second in 1980 , thus allowing the opening of the field of cooperation between Moroccan universities and their Spanish counterparts.

Initiatives aimed at strengthening cooperation between the two countries in this area have continued, and are reflected in particular in the concretization of numerous agreements, including the joint declaration signed in 2015 on the occasion of the 11th session of the HLM in Madrid. As well as the two memorandums of understanding which were signed in Rabat at the beginning of February on the occasion of the 12th session of the bilateral summit.

The first agreement, concluded with the Spanish Ministry of Universities, concerns the encouragement of university cooperation through the establishment of joint training, study and research programmes. As for the second memorandum, which was concluded with the Ministry of Science and Innovation and the Spanish Ministry of Universities, it focuses on strengthening cooperation in the field of research and innovation for development .

According to data and figures on the development of bilateral relations between Morocco and Spain in the field of higher education, scientific research and student exchanges issued by the Moroccan ministry, more than 2,500 Moroccan students annually choice to continue their studies in Spanish universities and training institutes (UNESCO statistics, 2022).

The assessment specifies that the Iberian country represents the 3rd partner of Morocco in terms of co-publication of research work between 2010-2022 and this in several fields including physics and astronomy, engineering and agriculture. In 2022, approximately 586 co-publications were registered in the SCOPUS database. In addition, Spain is Morocco’s leading partner, within the framework of “Horizon 2020”, which capitalizes on 74 projects for the period 2014-2020. An alliance between researchers described as “very remarkable” by the ministry.

This partnership is also exceptional within the framework of the ERASMUS+ programme, given that Spanish institutions are the main partners of Moroccan institutions in terms of mobility, resulting in 550 mobilities recorded between 2015 and 2020.

Abdellatif Miraoui’s department informs that new perspectives are emerging within the framework of the ESRI 2030 PACTE, which carries a new dynamic of transformation of the ESRI ecosystem, will have to rely on the internationalization of universities. and the opening of the Moroccan higher education space to renowned actors. The ministry aims to make Morocco a regional hub for training and scientific research.

Thus, the ministry’s conviction is that the field of ESRI is an important lever for cultural and civilizational rapprochement and a powerful relay to boost our bilateral cooperation at several levels (diplomatic, economic, social, etc.), for the benefit of the prosperity of two peoples.

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