Ikea coming to Morocco after Western Sahara dispute

Published February 15th, 2016 - 11:56 GMT
Morocco's first Ikea will open its doors now that a diplomatic dispute between Sweden and Morocco has been resolved. (Flickr/Gerard Stolk)
Morocco's first Ikea will open its doors now that a diplomatic dispute between Sweden and Morocco has been resolved. (Flickr/Gerard Stolk)

Ikea will open its first store outside of Casablanca in Morocco, following months of deadlock between the Swedish and Moroccan governments. The diplomatic spat between the two countries arose over Sweden's plans to recognize the disputed Western Sahara as an independent country.

Morocco claims sovereignty over the phosphate-rich Western Sahara, often called Africa's last colony.

Around 90,000 Sahrawis from Western Sahara have been living in refugee camps in Algeria for the past 40 years, after Morocco tried to annex the territory. In the meantime, Morocco has invested heavily in developing the mostly desert stretch of land to attract more Moroccans to live there.

Last September, Morocco blocked Ikea from opening the store for not having proper licensing after Sweden ordered an internal review of its policy regarding Western Sahara. Morocco also boycotted other Swedish companies as a result, including H&M and Volvo.

Now Sweden has backtracked on its plans to recognize the independence of Western Sahara.

“We can only say that we are we are happy to hear that all certificates now are in place so that our franchisee in Morocco soon can open the Ikea doors for the Moroccan customers” said Kaisa Lyckdal, a spokeswoman for Ikea.

No date has been set for the store's opening, but a website is already up and running.


© 2000 - 2022 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

You may also like