Morocco’s head of government, Saad Eddine El Othmani, approved decree No. 346.20.0, issued on May 11, for the procurement of a set of weapons from French arms company MBDA France. The future acquisition will be part of Morocco’s five-year plan, established in 2017, to reach “regional supremacy” by modernizing the military equipment of its army, airforce, and navy. The approval came after the government secured a €192.1 million loan agreement with BNP PARIBAS on April 28. Morocco’s Directorate of National Defense and MBDA France concluded the armament contract, says a statement in Morocco’s May 18 Official Bulletin.
The MBDA France group is a world leader in manufacturing missiles and missile defense systems. It was created in December 2001, following a partnership between Airbus (holding 37.5% of the company’s shares), Bae Systems (37.5%), and Finmeccania (25%). The armament company has partnerships with over 90 armed forces worldwide.The company name is an initialism of the names of the companies that came together to form it: Matra; BAe Dynamics and Alenia. MBDA works with over 90 armed forces worldwide. Overall, the group has 45 products in service and 15 more in development.
France is Morocco’s second-largest arms supplier, providing 44% of the total weaponry, while the US accounts for 53%. From 2008 to 2018, France sold €1.8 billion worth of military equipment to Morocco, including a FREMM frigate in 2008 (Naval Group) and two spy satellites in 2013 (Airbus and Thales). In February 2019, Morocco concluded a set of military agreements with French arms manufacturers for a total value of €400 million. Although France and Morocco share long-standing relations, the US is the country’s primary arms supplier. France provides 44% of Morocco’s weapons while the US accounts for 53% of Morocco’s arms provision. Italy provides 1.4%.