Business Review: Arab Finance Institutions in Morocco, Bilateral Investments with Rwanda, Morocco Agriculture in the Spotlight, and More Tourism Kudos – Jean R. AbiNader

Jean R. AbiNader, MATIC
April 20, 2017

Jean R. AbiNader, Exec. Dir., Moroccan American Trade and Investment Center

Jean R. AbiNader, Exec. Dir., Moroccan American Trade and Investment Center

While the World Bank Group prepares for its spring meetings in Washington, DC, leaders of Arab financial institutions are meeting in Morocco. Morocco’s annual Agricultural Fair is scheduled for the end of this month. And if you’re in the mood for a vacation without your laptop, don’t miss these eight reasons to go to Morocco.

Arab Finance Community Discusses Steps to Support Economic Growth. Some 350 leaders in finance and economy from around the Arab world are gathering this week in Morocco to promote greater inter-Arab financial cooperation. These meetings have become a key platform for developing policies and programs to support sustainable development in Arab countries as well as promote greater cooperation on financial and economic issues.

A message from King Mohammed VI to the meeting addressed the urgent need to ensure social justice and adequate social safety nets for the Arab world’s growing populations. “Our Arab financial institutions are called upon today, more than ever, to react positively to the major changes and development needs witnessed in the Arab region, to pool efforts in order to support economic and financial reforms, to diversify and boost Arab economies and to achieve Arab integration,” he pointed out.

Included in his recommendations was encouragement for inter-Arab investments to support sustainable development and involve the private sector as an “engine for the promotion of development and a creator of wealth,” according to a report from Xinhuanet.com. He noted that a priority should be placed on development projects that support economic integration and enable Arab economies to be more open to their regional environment, as Morocco is doing in Africa. Among the sectors he mentioned were energy, power infrastructure, transport, and agricultural projects for food security.

Bilateral Ties with Rwanda Advance. The benefits of the King’s economic diplomacy received another affirmation according to an AllAfrica.com story as Rwanda approved a law removing double taxation for Moroccan investors. Since the King’s visit last October, there has been an uptick in investments from Morocco. “Investments from Morocco are coming in at a high speed; therefore, facilitating them is an opportunity for both countries to boost business and economic opportunities,” said Rwanda Private Sector Federation Chief Executive Benjamin Kasamagera.

The law removing double taxation for Moroccan investors was a major consideration for moving ahead with the 21 trade agreements the two parties signed last year. The announcement followed the visit of a business delegation of more than 100 Moroccan investors who looked at a number of projects including a floriculture project valued at $15 million in Gishari, eastern Rwanda, as well the development of a wholesale market for Moroccan goods valued at $31 million at the Kigali special economic zone.

Agricultural Sector Rebounds as Meknes Opens Annual Agricultural Fair. Morocco’s Minister of Agriculture and Aquatics, Aziz Akhannouch, announced that this year’s harvest is expected to reach 10.2 million tons, an increase of 203% over this period last year. He was in Meknes to kick off the annual International Agriculture Fair, which showcases all things related to agriculture, from seed selection to marketing end-products, as well as advances in ag-related research and technologies.

Agriculture accounts for more than 15% of Morocco’s GDP, and the plentiful rainfall since October has helped Morocco’s economy grow by 4.3% in the first quarter of this year, compared with 1.7% in the same period last year. In releasing its data, the High Commission for Planning said that this growth was mainly due to the rise in agricultural output by 12.9% in the first quarter this year, compared to 9% last year. Italy is being feted as the fair’s guest of honor.

Look No Further, Morocco is the Place to Go. Moroccan tourism operator Holidayme provided Trade Arabia News Service with eight good reasons to visit Morocco, “one of Africa’s most preferred tourist destinations.” They boil down to: cost (“Morocco can be an economic and delightful escape”); hiking trails; beaches; riads; shopping; food; mint tea; and… Marrakesh!  So stop thinking about it and get a non-stop flight to Casablanca from New York or Washington, DC…just seven hours away!

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