Morocco: A stable economic gateway to Africa

| July 5, 2013 | 0 Comments
Casablanca is one of the two most important industrial hubs in Morocco.

Casablanca is one of the two most important industrial hubs in Morocco.

The Kingdom of Morocco is one of the most promising countries in Africa and the MENA region. Not only has it been able to showcase its political stability through the events of the Arab Spring of 2011, but it has also managed to maintain a dynamic economy and generate growth even when its most important economic partner, the European Union, is experiencing an economic slowdown.

As a matter of fact, Morocco registered an average growth rate of 5 percent in 2011. This growth slowed to 3 percent in 2012, but has since been slowly picking up and growth is promising for the future with the kingdom expected to register a rate of 4.5 percent in 2013.

This success has not come without work. Morocco has put considerable effort into reducing its dependency on a single market by diversifying its partnerships. To illustrate this point, it is worth noting that the EU was responsible in the 1980s for up to 70 percent of Morocco’s trade. Today, though Morocco has started negotiations on a comprehensive free trade agreement with the EU, trade with the EU makes up 58 percent. That decrease is a result of Morocco’s efforts to develop new markets in other regions such as Asia, North America and Africa.

Political and cultural relations between Morocco and Canada are very good, as we have similar views and interests. We are convinced there is room for improvement in our economic relations, as further illustration of the excellence of our bilateral relations.

As readers may be aware, we are currently engaged in negotiations with Canada for the conclusion of a Free Trade Agreement. Three rounds have taken place and a fourth one is in preparation.

Currently the total value of our bilateral trade is $450 million and is predominantly agricultural, as Canada exports about $300 million worth of products (mainly wheat and other agricultural goods) to Morocco and imports about $150 million in goods from Morocco. The trade balance is largely in favour of Canada; however, we believe these numbers do not reflect the extraordinary potential of both economies.

Morocco enjoys a diversified and open economy with a GDP of more than $100 billion. A number of preferential and free trade agreements are currently in effect with several countries, including Arab states, the United States and Turkey. We have also recently started negotiations with the EU for an advanced FTA. The kingdom also has a number of preferential agreements, mostly with countries in sub-Saharan Africa and, more specifically, countries in west and central Africa.

By investing heavily in its infrastructure and bringing ports, highway and railway systems to international standards, Morocco positions itself as a gateway to Africa and as an entry point to a market of one billion customers.

Morocco now has one of the largest ports in the continent, located in Tangiers. After an expansion, it will be able to process nine million containers, which is comparable in capacity to the port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands. We are also in the process of building a high-speed train connection between Tangiers and Casablanca, the two most important industrial hubs of the country, to facilitate transport for businessmen and investors.

Not only can we provide great service for investors, we are able to accompany them abroad as well. Our banking system is one of the most resilient and efficient on the continent. Moroccan banks are present in 20 African countries and many Moroccan companies are African leaders in sectors such as insurance, telecom, engineering and construction.We thus serve as a natural extension for businesses that wish to extend their activities to new markets.

To conclude, let me summarize our approach in this way: We do not seek investments only, but rather to develop our own national market. We seek ways to benefit the whole region. We strongly believe that growing economies can lead the way to more opportunities and thus foster stability and the creation of wealth. Keep in mind that according to studies, the African continent is expected to experience an annual economic growth of 6 percent to 7 percent in 2014. With a positive demographic pyramid, a growing middle class and rising purchasing power, this continent holds the key to the future growth of the world global economy.

Reach Nouzha Chekrouni at 613-236-6064 or nouzachekrouni@gmail.com for email.

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Category: Diplomatica

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Reach Nouzha Chekrouni at 613-236- 6064 or nouzachekrouni@gmail.com for email.

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