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Moroccan-Emirati business forum aims to accelerate the flow of joint investments

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The dynamism of Moroccan-UAE economic cooperation rose to a new level after the launch of a business forum in Casablanca, in partnership between the Casablanca Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Services, the Dubai Chambers and the Moroccan Investment and Export Development Agency.

Memoranda of Understanding were signed between the mentioned parties, and trade agreements between Moroccan and Emirati companies and businessmen, on the sidelines of the forum, which organized B2B business meetings that covered various sectors, ranging from real estate, food industries, renewable energies, and the digital economy.

Tahani Salem Al Rumaithi, Chargé d’affaires at the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Rabat praised the long and strong Moroccan-UAE relations and their reflection on the level of economic, trade and investment cooperation between the two countries.

“The organization of this forum represents an opportunity to hold direct bilateral meetings between Moroccan and Emirati businessmen, as it will be a starting point for further cooperation between businessmen and private companies from the two countries, especially since they are linked by a free trade agreement that provides great opportunities, which remain largely unexploited, given that the nature of the Emirati and Moroccan economies is characterized by great integration and interdependence.”

At the opening of the business forum, Mohammad Ali Rashed Lootah, Director General of Dubai Chambers, revealed some statistics that confirmed the development of trade relations between Morocco and the United Arab Emirates, especially the Emirate of Dubai, which reached USD 886 million last year, stressing his confidence that this figure will increase as the business communities in the two countries continue to strengthen their ties.

He pointed out that by the end of the first quarter of this year, a total of 850 businesses from Morocco were registered as active members of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, with 99 new businesses joining during the first three months of 2024 alone.

Attractive Investment Areas

Hassan Berkani, President of the Casablanca Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Services, revealed in a statement to Hespress, on the sidelines of the business forum, that the gathering aims to renew the Moroccan-Emirati understanding of the role of businessmen and companies from the two countries in rebalancing the trade deficit that exists today, explaining that the data provided by the Exchange Office indicates a deficit of MAD 13.187 billion for the United Arab Emirates, compared to MAD 2.109 billion for Morocco in 2023, and warning that the qualifications of the Kingdom help promote attractive investment areas, including real estate, food industries, digital economy and infrastructure.

Berkani added that Moroccan companies seek to boost investments in the UAE, especially in the food industry sector, as Dubai represents a platform to open up to Asian markets, stressing that the business dynamic between the two countries will benefit from Morocco’s efforts to organize the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations and the 2030 World Cup, stressing that Moroccan companies enjoy great support under the new development model, especially at the level of investment financing, which reaches 25 percent of the total financing.

Mohammad Ali Rashed Lootah told Hespress that logistics, warehousing, information technologies, real estate and renewable energies were the most prominent sectors that attracted the interest of Emirati investors, who took advantage of the past two days to hold direct meetings with Moroccan businessmen and companies to explore possible business opportunities and study future economic and trade cooperation projects, stressing the importance of supporting investments for digital entrepreneurs in Morocco, where e-commerce is of increasing interest to Arab youth.

Promising Economic Cooperation

Addressing the Moroccan-UAE Business Forum, the Director General of Dubai Chambers focused on explaining the promising economic cooperation opportunities between the two countries by emphasizing the potential of the Moroccan economy.

He referred to the report issued by the International Monetary Fund on the global economic outlook, which confirmed that the Kingdom is on track to become the sixth largest economy in Africa by 2024, explaining that it represents a market of great strategic importance to Dubai, adding in the same context that the trade mission this week was keen to sign memorandums of understanding with a number of key Moroccan entities, explore future investments, and establish a presence in Morocco.

In a presentation delivered on behalf of Ali Seddiqi, Director General of the Moroccan Investment and Export Development Agency (AMIDA), Assia Ben Saad, Director of Cooperation and Companies, said that direct UAE investments in Morocco have jumped to $17 billion, making the Gulf country the first Arab investor in the Kingdom, pointing out that the two countries have signed 90 bilateral cooperation agreements since 1999, with a weighty presence of UAE companies in various fields of investment in the country since 2003, with a total of 69 companies, stressing that Morocco provides a stable political, security and commercial environment, infrastructure that meets international standards, and opportunities to access a large market in the Kingdom of Morocco.

Assia Ben Saad explained that human capital is one of the most important investment attractions for Morocco, which has managed to achieve leadership in recent years in terms of renewable energies, as well as infrastructure and logistics, as it has the first TGV high-speed train in Africa, linking Casablanca and Tangier, 18 international airports that provide links to 130 destinations, 1800 kilometers of motorways, two waterfronts overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, and commercial ports with huge potential, handling 9 million containers per year.

The Dubai International Chamber, one of the three chambers under the Dubai Chambers umbrella, operates seven international representative offices in Africa, according to Mohammad Ali Rashed Lootah.

These offices connect markets across the continent with opportunities to boost bilateral trade and investment, with Africa remaining a key priority, especially Morocco, which is characterized as a gateway between Europe and Africa, offering exceptional benefits to investors and an ideal business climate for investment growth.

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