Historically, Morocco unrivalled business gateway to sub-Saharan Africa has been made easy by the numerous routes along the Atlantic Ocean shores. British Ambassador to Rabat says Morocco has very strategic geographical location in addition to its political stability thanks to its ongoing reform process.

Towards a stronger cooperation

Morocco is increasingly seen as an unrivalled business and financial gateway to sub-Saharan Africa, said British Ambassador to Rabat on the sidelines of the signing of a partnership between British Chamber of Commerce in Morocco and the United Kingdom Trade and Investment last month in Casablanca.

“We want to ensure that the UK-Morocco partnership is properly equipped to harness new opportunities for the benefit of both countries,” said Clive Alderton, highlighting the 800 years of diplomatic ties between the two kingdoms.

Alderton stressed that 90% of the global economic growth is set to come from outside crisis-hit Europe in the coming years.

“As Africa drives the global economic growth, Morocco is uniquely well placed as a gateway of this great continent,” he said, adding that the North African country is the threshold to investing in Africa.

“Morocco has a very strategic geographical location in addition to its political stability thanks to its ongoing reform process,” he stressed.

“This is why Morocco attracts so much foreign investment and The London Stock Exchange agreed to partner with its Casablanca counterpart.

Last June, LSE represented by the Lord Mayor of London Fiona Woolf and the Bourse of Casablanca signed a strategic partnership agreement.

“This deal is a key element in taking our bilateral relationship to the next level,” said Alderton.

BCCM-UKTI partnership

The British Chamber of Commerce in Morocco and the United Kingdom Trade and Investment signed last month a trade partnership in a bid to boost the historical commercial ties between the UK and Morocco.

Mohammed Rihanni, Director of BCCM, hailed the signing of the partnership as the beginning of a new chapter in promoting trade between the UK and Morocco.

“The tradition of business and trade between our forefathers is still going on,” said Rihanni prior to the signing ceremony.

“There are still opportunities for Moroccan companies to produce goods the British consumers want and for British companies to produce more goods the emerging Moroccan Middle class wants.

“Today Morocco has not only developed into an indispensible investment platform in the region, it is moreover a gateway to Africa,” he added.

Alderton denied that Britain is luring Morocco to the Anglo-saxon market.

“I don’t think that we are trying to lure someone away from something. What we are trying to do here is say there is some good business to be done between the two countries,” he said.

British Prime Minister said in a video shown ahead of the signing that not enough attention had been paid to the African market in the last few decades.

“We are here to redress that balance and to show Morocco that we are here for the long term to do business,” said Alderton.

British exports to Morocco reached one billion pounds in 2012 and have grown by an impressive 39% in the first half of 2014 in various sectors, including finance, education and energy.

Alderton said that he believed there “is a scope for the growth to be much stronger.”

Morocco’s Education Minister Rashid Ben Moukhtar, signed in July a new partnership agreement with Martin Rose, the head of British Council Morocco, to establish the Moroccan International Baccalaureate English option.

The new baccalaureate will initially be adopted in three high schools in Rabat, Casablanca, and Tangier in order to meet Moroccan and foreign companies’ needs.

Saad Guerraoui, Middle East Online, London, UK

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