”Morocco’s Success Is Our Success” – Jean AbiNader
Dentons Selects Casablanca Finance City for Regional Africa Office
Jean R. AbiNader, MATIC
March 3, 2015
Dentons, the world’s largest law firm, will officially launch their African headquarters in Morocco in April. After a series of mergers over the past five years—most recently with the largest law firm in China—the firm now boasts more than 6,500 lawyers and professionals in more than 50 countries across the globe, including 18 in Africa.
With so many offices around the continent, why did they choose Morocco rather than other countries in West and Central Africa?
According to Dentons partner and head of the Africa practice Thomas Laryea, “There are three reasons that support this decision. First of all, we took a look at financial flows for investment in Africa and saw the amount of transactions through Morocco to Africa. This has broad business and legal opportunities for Dentons. Secondly, the commitment by King Mohammed VI to Africa is real. In addition to the many agreements signed with countries in the region, a really good signal was the decision by the Africa 50 Fund to locate in Morocco. Finally, we took a look at what can be done through Morocco to Africa, ranging from the infrastructure network to financial services and IT investments. Morocco is tied very closely to the region we want to serve from this office.”
“Make no mistake,” he said. “Morocco’s success is our success. We are fully committed to this strategy for Morocco and for Africa and believe that we can play a key role, through our global offices, to find the right business partners anywhere in the world.”
Laryea identified a number of sectors in which Dentons thinks it can be helpful, both in terms of its legal services and in bringing together resources across borders. “I’m particularly interested in the power sector since there is such a huge need, [and] therefore opportunities. Power Africa, the Administration’s blueprint for what can be done, overlooks the need for localized solutions, ones that take into consideration all three factors defining a power project – construction, fuel, and access to a grid for storing and distributing power.” He would like to see more effort devoted to defining off-grid, regionally focused solutions that can be done more quickly, cheaply, and overcome the obstacles posed by a constrained national power system.
Laryea is also optimistic about other sectors including manufacturing, renewable energy, and infrastructure, where cross-border partnerships can meet financing and technology needed for projects. Dentons is bullish on Morocco because the country has demonstrated its seriousness in building regional partnerships and opportunities in many sectors, from tourism and social housing to healthcare and manufacturing. And Dentons believes that it can play a role in supporting how Africa moves ahead to meet its development needs.