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Business Brief: Key International LPG Forum to be held in Morocco as Country Readies to Build Tallest Skyscraper in Africa. Foreign Investment Rising as Auto Sector Expansion Continues – Jean R. AbiNader

Jean R. AbiNader, MATIC
July 26, 2017

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

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

The global LPG sector is coming to Morocco in the fall to examine worldwide trends and opportunities; Morocco inks an agreement with the Chinese to build tallest skyscraper in Africa for public-private occupants; country continues to be top draw for Foreign Direct Investment in Africa; and automobile sector supply chain adds to its capabilities.

30th World LPG Forum in Morocco this fall. Continuing its leadership role in the promotion of clean  energy sources, Morocco will host the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Forum (LPG) in Marrakech in October, bringing together policy makers, international agencies, companies, and researchers to map policies, view technology advances, and develop strategies affecting the future of the industry.

According to the North Africa Post, ”As a part of the Marrakech World LPG Forum, the 10th Global Technology Conference (GTC-2017) offers participants the opportunity to see some of the most important and innovative technology being discovered in the global LPG industry. The primary aim of the GTC-2017 is to showcase the most innovative and original technological ideas from around the world and create new opportunities for the LPG industry.”

Among those expected to address the forum are government leaders, such as Moroccan minister of Energy, Mines, and Sustainable Development Aziz Rebbah, who will join industry experts to discuss varying perspectives on LPG related to commercial and environment issues. Stakeholders expected to attend include industry research entities, academic partners, LPG producing companies, equipment manufacturers, distributors, and the industry supply chain and related distribution and marketing organizations.

Due to global concerns with air quality and access to clean energy, LPG demand is growing in both developed and developing countries. Included in the program is a focus on HSE Management Systems, the Health, Safety, and Environment regulations being adopted to enhance safe operations with a view towards a sustainable future for the industry.

The African LPG market, which has increased by some 30% in the last five years, will be in focus, with Morocco as a good example, having seen an increase of 20% during that period, making it now the second-largest consuming market on the continent.

Rising above the continent. Morocco has signed an agreement with a Chinese company to build Africa’s tallest skyscraper. It will be located in Rabat as part of the Bouregreg River valley development project. Although announced earlier this year, the final agreement was just initiated by the China Railway Construction Corporation, BMCE Bank of Africa, and Travaux Generaux de Construction de Casablanca, Morocco’s leading construction company.

Utilizing the latest ecological and sustainable design concepts, the 55-story tower will reach more than 820 feet in height and include offices, hotels, and luxury apartments. It is part of a larger development that involves the construction of several innovative facilities, including the Grand Theatre of Rabat, the Arts and Culture House, the National Archives of the Kingdom of Morocco, and the Archaeological Museum.

Good news on the foreign investment front. According to a report by the Arab Investment and Export Credit Guarantee Corporation, Morocco attracted $2.3 billion worth of foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2016, leading all North Africa countries. According to the EU Bulletin, “FDI flows to the North African kingdom were mostly dominated by investments in the country’s major manufacturing base – in 2015 it attracted sizeable FDI amounts in the automotive industry especially from France. Much of the growth was due to investments… driven mainly by the expansion of foreign affiliates in the financial industry (CIB Bank and Citadel Capital) and pharmaceuticals (Pfizer).”

Morocco is on pace to do as well in 2017, with the announcement by French automotive supplier Faurecia that it will open a plant in the Free Trade Zone in Sale and intends to open another in Kenitra, its second at that location, to focus on interiors. Faurecia will invest some $18 million in this new plant, which will employ 1,300 people, and looks to double its production by 2019.

Kuwait reaffirms support for Morocco’s development. In a recent statement to the press at a loan agreement signing between Morocco and Kuwait, its ambassador in Morocco, Abdullatif Al-Yahya, reiterated his country’s support for Morocco’s economic development. The $50 million loan will support the high speed rail line connecting Tangier with Casablanca.

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