External relations

In this respect, several studies have been carried out on Morocco’s attractive power (soft power) or on Morocco’s relations with neighbourhood countries (Spain, Algeria, Mauritania) and with those areas to which the Kingdom belongs (Africa and the Arab world). IRES has also studied the relations that Morocco entertains with the countries of North America, South America, Asia-Pacific, Europe and the BRICS.

Neighbourhood countries

With regard to neighbourhood countries, the studies carried out by IRES covered Morocco’s relations with Spain (2010 and 2012), Algeria (2013 and 2017) and Mauritania (2014).

Areas of affiliation


Being fully aware of the importance of Africa and, in particular, the West African region in the Kingdom’s alliance strategy, IRES has been reflecting since 2010 on how Morocco’s position in West Africa could be strengthened.

In addition to West Africa, IRES studied in 2015 Morocco’s relations with Southern and East African countries, examining how the Kingdom is perceived by these two regions, identifying potential priority partners and promising sectors for a renewed partnership, generating growth and prosperity and benefiting the first national cause of the Kingdom: the Moroccan Sahara.

In its effort to follow up the security situation in the African neighbourhood with a view to identifying the stakes and challenges for Morocco, IRES conducted in 2014 an analysis of this subject, involving national and foreign experts on political, military and socioeconomic issues, specific to the Sahel-Saharan region.

As soon as Morocco returned to the African Union in January 2017, a very significant part of IRES’ activity programme has been reserved for Africa. The Institute has, thus, set up a task force on Africa and produced a mapping Atlas in order to better know this continent and identify its internal dynamics.

The year 2017 was also marked by the preparation of several reports on the challenges and prospects of Morocco’s return to the African Union, on cooperation between the African Union and the European Union and the opportunities and risks of the Kingdom’s accession to ECOWAS.

Further reports were prepared in 2018. In addition to studies on rural development in Sub-Saharan Africa and on African migration, particular emphasis was placed on the reform of the African Union and Morocco’s relations with South Africa. The objective of the latter study is to reflect on the appropriate approach to break the diplomatic deadlock in the relations between Morocco and South Africa that has prevailed until the end of February 2019.

IRES conducted a study on security governance in Africa in 2019.

With regard to the IRES.Forum activities, 25 meetings including 4 international conferences (one of which on African migration), were organized between July 2010 and December 2019. IRES also co-organized with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, on 25 May 2018, a conference to celebrate Africa Day, entitled "Morocco-African Union: a confirmed partnership for a united and prosperous Africa".

The Arab World

Aware of the unprecedented nature of the "Arab Spring" events, IRES has been working, since the beginning of 2011, to understand the nuts and bolts of these events in order to shed light on their challenges and implications for Morocco.
After the first seminar in April 2011, IRES organized in September 2011, before the 2011 legislative elections in the Arab countries, a meeting on the theme "What future for the socio-political economic transformations underway in the Arab world ?".

Two panel discussions were held in May 2012 on the theme "Tunisia: One year after the Arab Spring" and in January 2013 on the theme "The Revolution of 25 January 2011". IRES reflected on the roots and implications of the "Arab Spring", in terms of reconfiguring the political landscape in Egypt and redefining the priorities of this country’s foreign policy.

In 2013, a study focused on the direct and indirect impacts of the current upheavals in the Arab countries on the geopolitical and geo-economic positioning of Morocco in the region, on the realization of a matrix of opportunities and risks for Morocco, in connection with the socio-political changes in the Arab world.

The fact-finding study which was launched in 2013 to address the socio-political transformations in the Arab world continued in 2014. This topic was discussed at several seminars aimed at identifying the immediate and medium- and long-term effects on Morocco of the changes taking place in the Arab world.

The main conflicts in the Arab world have been regularly monitored by IRES, in particular, the Syrian, Libyan, Yemeni and Qatari crises, specifying the causes, the implications and actors involved, while making a distinction between national actors and the interference of foreign powers.

IRES devoted special attention to relations with the Gulf Cooperation Council. The Institute had studied in 2011 the proposal made to Morocco to join the Gulf Cooperation Council. It also conducted, in 2018, a study on the strategic partnership between Morocco and the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

A study was devoted in 2018 by IRES to the Iranian question and a seminar was organized in 2019 on Iran’s influence on the Maghreb and the Sahel region.


The European Union being Morocco’s most important partner, IRES has devoted several works in 2010 in connection with the advanced status with the European Union, in 2011 on the regulatory convergence, in 2013 on the euro zone crisis and its impacts on Morocco, in 2015 on the European Neighbourhood Policy, in 2016 on Morocco’s relations with Northern Europe and in 2017 on Morocco’s relations with the United Kingdom in the light of the Brexit.

The study on the euro crisis and its repercussions on Morocco analysed the transmission channels from the euro zone to the Moroccan economy, explored the likely scenarios of the evolution of the situation in Europe and the resulting implications for Morocco and reflected on appropriate public policies to address the direct and indirect effects of this crisis on our country. It was conducted using a multidimensional approach.

IRES also contributed, in 2015, to reflecting on the reform of the European Neighbourhood Policy, at the request of the European Delegation in Rabat, by preparing a strategic document.

In 2016, the Institute finalized the study on Morocco’s relations with the countries of Northern Europe, which helped to define the image of the Kingdom in Scandinavia, to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of Morocco’s cooperation with each of the countries in this region and to identify strategies to broaden the scope of common interests at the bilateral and multilateral levels.

In the new context of the Brexit, the Institute carried out a study in 2017 in order to understand the impact of the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union on Morocco and to explore the best possible solutions that would enable Morocco to seize the resulting opportunities and anticipate the related risks.

Openness to the World


The Atlantic area is of great importance in the Kingdom’s external relations for obvious economic considerations, but also for reasons linked to the preservation of Morocco’s strategic interests, first and foremost among which is the Moroccan Sahara issue.
In 2014, two studies were conducted by IRES, one on Morocco's relations with North America, the other on its relations with South America.

The study on Morocco's relations with North America was based on the need to consolidate the Kingdom's Atlantic dimension. In addition to the United States and Canada, the report also dealt with cooperation relations with Mexico, in connection with this country's special position under the North American Free Trade Agreement, which is almost similar to Morocco's position in its relations with the European Union.

The study on Morocco's relations with South America addressed the strengths and weaknesses of cooperation between the two parties and made some foreign policy proposals to optimize the Kingdom's positioning in this region.
In 2015, a study was carried out on the Atlantic dimension of Morocco’s foreign policy.

The Asian Dimension

In 2014, the study on the Asia-Pacific dynamics made it possible to identify the main factors determining the geostrategic centrality of this region, highlight the consequences on international relations and formulate some proposals to prepare Morocco for global geostrategic changes. The study focused on four countries: China, South Korea, India and Japan.

On the eve of the visit of His Majesty King Mohammed VI in 2016 to China and Russia, the Institute produced two strategic documents dealing with the challenges and priorities of cooperation with these two emerging powers.

The study on Morocco's relations with Asian powers has been given a prominent place in the Institute's programme of activities from 2017 onwards. Scientific meetings were held on both sides, notably with Indian, Chinese, South Korean and Indonesian think tanks.

During his visit to India, in October 2017, the IRES Director General gave a lecture on the emergence of Morocco, at the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA), as part of the implementation of the cooperation agreement linking IRES to this organization, and another lecture to the Observer Research Foundation and to the National School of Administration.

Another meeting, organized with the Indian Embassy in Rabat, aimed at deepening the strategic dialogue between IRES and the Indian Council of World Affairs in 2018.

At the invitation of the Chinese Embassy in Rabat, an IRES delegation carried out a mission to Shanghai and Beijing from June 28 to July 5, 2018.

At the Shanghai Institute for International Studies (SIIS), the Director General of IRES facilitated a meeting on the relations between Morocco and China, as well as the opportunities to strengthen them in the light of the strategic partnership concluded in 2016.

IRES took an active part in the 7th edition of the Forum of Sino-African think tanks which was organized, on July 4 and 5, 2018, in Beijing, jointly by the Institute for Research on Africa of the Zhejiang Normal University and the Office of Advisors of the Chinese State Council. The Director General of IRES delivered a speech, at the opening session of the Forum, highlighting the special relations between Morocco and China and their development prospects, in the light of the New Silk Roads.

In partnership with the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Morocco, IRES organized, in November 2018, an international meeting entitled "The future of relations between Morocco and China in a globalized world". This meeting was part of the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Morocco and China.

An IRES delegation visited Korea from June 22 to 27, 2018, at the invitation of the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP).

The IRES Director General delivered two lectures, which were followed by an interactive and fruitful exchange. The first one, at KIEP's headquarters, was held in the framework of the implementation of the cooperation agreement linking IRES to this institute.

The second took place at the ASEAN Institute for Policy Studies.
Organized around the theme "ASEAN's contribution to the regional construction of East Asia: a potential partnership with Africa", this conference was attended by a large delegation from Indonesia.

Relations with the BRICS

IRES conducted, in 2012, a study on the theme "Diversification of Morocco’s strategic alliances: a potential for relations with the BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) and Turkey", as part of the geopolitical dimension of its programme "Global competitiveness and positioning of Morocco in the globalized system".




IRES' studies on diplomacy cover, in chronological order, climate, culture, economic and cyberspace issues.

The 2015 study, entitled "What climate diplomacy for Morocco?", aimed at taking stock of two decades of Morocco's participation in the process of international climate governance.

IRES completed, in early 2016, the report on cultural diplomacy since the Kingdom's Independence and reflected on the main lines of its renovation with a view to strengthening its weight in the Kingdom's foreign policy, in accordance with the High Royal Guidelines, in particular by taking on board the lessons learned from good international practices.

IRES carried out in 2017 a study entitled "What levers to strengthen Morocco's economic diplomacy", in accordance with the Royal Guidelines which have constantly highlighted the importance of rehabilitating the role of the Kingdom's economic diplomacy and make it the spearhead of the country's international positioning strategy.

IRES completed, in 2019, the study on cyberspace diplomacy, which completes the overview carried out by the Institute on economic, cultural and climate diplomacy. After a description of cyberspace and its characteristics, this study focused on the notion of digital sovereignty, defined what cyberspace diplomacy is and addressed the joint domains. It also formulated proposals for a genuine cyberspace diplomacy for Morocco.