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Financial Times: Morocco Asserts Itself as Africa’s Investment Gateway

Rabat – The Financial Times, a business-focused magazine, has highlighted Morocco’s relentless pursuit of its identity as an African investment hub, challenging traditional classifications that often place the country within the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region due to historical, cultural, and linguistic affinities.

“We are more African than we are Middle Eastern,” said CEO of Casablanca Finance City (CFC) Said Ibrahimi, firmly asserting that Morocco’s alignment with Africa is stronger than its connection to the Middle East, the FT reported.

Ibrahimi, who established the CFC in 2010 to position Morocco as an African investment gateway, has challenged traditional notions regarding sub-Saharan Africa by emphasizing Morocco’s deep-rooted ties and shared interests with countries south of the Sahara.

He cited a 2014 speech in which King Mohammed VI stressed Morocco’s commitment to strengthening ties with the rest of Africa, underlining the need for African countries to trust and collaborate with each other.

Since Morocco’s return to the African Union in 2017 following a 33-year hiatus, foreign direct investment (FDI) from Morocco into Africa has surged from $100 million in 2014 to over $800 million in 2021.

Remarkably, 43% of Morocco’s total FDI is now directed towards the African continent, making it the second-largest African investor, following South Africa, the report said.

In addition, it noted that Moroccan businesses are extensively engaged across Africa, with significant investments in banking, telecommunications, and agriculture. Companies like Attijariwafa Bank, Banque Centrale Populaire, OCP Group, and Maroc Telecom have established a notable presence in multiple African countries.

Despite this substantial investment, the FT said that trade within African countries remains “patchy.”  

European countries still account for the majority of Moroccan exports, with sub-Saharan Africa constituting only 6% of total exports in 2021. However, the report expects trade barriers to gradually decrease with Morocco’s ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area treaty.

The challenges posed by economic slowdowns in key African economies and the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic underline the risks associated with investing in Africa. Yet, Morocco remains resolute in its commitment to the continent.

“We understand that there might be some fear from international corporations. But Morocco is really invested, and we don’t feel that such instability can stop the way we are approaching the continent. We are a country with a plan, and we have a long-term vision,” Ibrahimi stressed.

Source: Morocco World News