Morocco’s trump card: Africa | Your Middle East
Morocco’s political and economic focus on Africa will yield big results:
Casablanca is becoming the financial capital of Africa, as Morocco becomes more widely present in French-speaking Africa through investments in construction, banking, telecommunications and energy, and looks to expand to its promising English-speaking neighbors. Despite its iconic image as a One Thousand and One Nights fairytale land, Morocco is visibly more present in Africa than it is in the Arab region and is on the move to claim its rightful place as the continent’s centralized business hub.
In 2015, Morocco was named the safest country in the MENA region and second-safest country in Africa by a French consulting firm (Compagnie Française d’Assurance pour le Commerce Extérieur). The Global Financial Center Index ranked it the 2nd business and financial hub in Africa in September 2015. And according to the latest Ibrahim Index of African Governance, Morocco witnessed the largest improvement by far in the category “Sustainable Economic Opportunity” in Africa, followed by Togo, Kenya and Cote d’Ivoire, and is second only to South Africa overall. King Mohammed VI has pushed for these improvements in Morocco’s business environment, and the Palace’s vision has been adopted by the Moroccan private sector, including large private banks and leading companies in construction, energy and telecommunications.
Many Moroccan companies refocused their activities to the South to reduce economic dependence on European markets. However, Morocco’s economic independence aspirations might have nothing to do with the decline of Europe and everything to do with the rising powerhouse called Africa. In the last decade, Africa’s economy has grown faster than Europe’s. Moreover, by 2050, 3 out of 4 newborns will be African while Europe’s population growth is declining. Morocco has held a major position in African economic and cultural development since pre-protectorate times, and the recognition of Africa’s potential as an economically viable continent initiated Morocco’s renewed interest. (One of the best examples of Morocco’s strong presence is the investment firm Saham Group, with a presence in 26 countries and one of the biggest pan-African insurance groups.)..[FULL STORY]