With Christophe Lecourtier, Paris chooses its VRP business as ambassador in Rabat

The Elysee has chosen its future ambassador in Rabat, a position vacant since the departure of Helene Le Gal in Brussels amid the crisis between the two countries: it is a business profile adopted by capitals that do not maintain strong political relations with France

According to information revealed on Tuesday by the Parisian media The Intelligence of AfricaFrance has already chosen its future ambassador to Morocco: Christophe Lecourtier, former ambassador of Paris to Australia and Brazil, and current head of Business France, a structure born from the merger between Ubifrance and Agence French for international investments.

According to the same source, his appointment was approved by the Council of Ministers on 23 November. The only thing missing today is the green light from Morocco.

As a reminder, the two ambassador posts in Paris and Rabat remain vacant, following the departure of Hélène Le Gal, but also the appointment of Mohammed Benchaâboun as head of the Mohammed VI Fund for Investment. However, he still acts in Paris, as he still has not taken up his new position in Rabat.

A VRP company in Morocco for France

If Rabat agrees, the appointment of Lecourtier to the French Embassy in Morocco should mark a first in relations between the two countries. His profile differs radically from his predecessors, the latter being more versed in business and investments. An indication also of the nature of the relations that the Élysée wants to maintain with the kingdom, although several observers emphasize Morocco’s desire to diversify its commercial and economic partners. In this context, France intends to preserve and consolidate its achievements in Morocco.

After starting his career as a senior official in the Directorate General of Finance, Christophe Lecourtier held the position of CEO of Ubifrance, a former French agency to support French companies in their forays abroad.

In June 2014, he is appointed French ambassador to Australia, where he will distinguish himself by negotiating for France the agreement for the construction of twelve submarines from the manufacturer DCNS, which will become Naval Group in 2017.

A contract, however, which will end up being terminated in September 2021, Canberra decided at the last minute to cancel its order, opting for a rapprochement with the US and the UK, with the conclusion of a new alliance between the three countries, which provides for the supply of nuclear powered submarines by Washington.

A lineage of Christophe Lecourtier which should undeniably weigh on his new missions: Paris is losing momentum in Morocco and Paris definitely needs to revitalize its commercial and economic activities in Morocco and regain ground on key projects: High Speed​​​​Line (LGV ), renewable energy, major infrastructures such as the ports, including the lost ports of Dakhla Atlantique, or even weapons.

A relaunch of the France-Morocco partnership, which, however, had to come up against a big wall: the need for Paris to clarify its position on the issue of Western Sahara, as demanded by the sovereign, in particular by conveying his messages through his speech on August 20 , after requesting the removal of ambiguity among Morocco’s historical partners.

It remains to be seen whether the current proposal for this name will be accompanied by French concessions regarding the Western Sahara file that Morocco has been waiting for. The answer will undoubtedly be given during Emmanuel Macron’s expected trip to Morocco, scheduled for next January.

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