Delegates at the high-level UK-Morocco Business Dialogue discussed the substantial trade and investment opportunities that exist between the Kingdom of Morocco and the United Kingdom. Both nations agreed they have much to gain from closer links between British and Moroccan businesses, signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) focused on mutual trade and investment. The talks came at an advantageous time as the UK is shaping its post-European Union foreign trade policy.
Under the leadership of His Majesty the King Mohammed VI, Morocco’s Gross Domestic Product has grown at an average rate of 4 percent per annum over the last 20 years, making it the fifth largest economy on the African continent. By way of example, automotive production in Morocco has rapidly increased and it recently became the continent’s largest passenger car manufacturer. Over the last 10 years, Morocco’s position on the Doing Business ranking has increased by 75 and it now ranks 53rd in the world and 3rd in Africa.
Mr. Mohcine Jazouli, Minister Delegate of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates, Kingdom of Morocco said: “In July 2018, Morocco and the United Kingdom decided to establish a strategic dialogue and three months ago this partnership was materialised by the signing of the post-Brexit bilateral agreement. A mere 100 British companies are located in Morocco and trade between the United Kingdom and Morocco in 2018 only amounted to £1.5 billion. The United Kingdom was only the 7th largest client of Morocco and the 9th largest investor in Morocco in 2018. It is obviously not enough and the potential for economic exchange between our countries is tremendous. We are here today to move to a higher level.”
Morocco is rightly regarded as one of the main gateways to Africa with Tanger Med being the largest container port by capacity in both Africa and the Mediterranean. The country also hosts one of the continent’s premier financial centres in Casablanca Finance City and has developed Africa’s largest solar power plant, reaching 42% of renewable energies in Morocco’s energy mix. With the impact of the African Continental Free Trade Area set to significantly increase intra-African trade, the Kingdom of Morocco is well positioned to take advantage of Africa’s stellar growth potential. Moroccan companies already have a foothold in over 40 African countries across multiple sectors and Morocco is the largest intra-continental investor in West Africa and the second largest in Africa overall. All these factors make Morocco an attractive and natural destination for foreign direct investment.
UK speakers at the event included the Minister of State for International Trade and the Minister of State for International Development and the Middle East. They were joined by Chairmen/CEOs/Presidents of Moroccan financial institutions, automotive manufacturers, agribusinesses, renewable energy, aerospace, transport and education organisations amongst others.
Closing remarks were made by Rt Hon Conor Burns MP, the UK’s Minister of State for International Trade, and this was followed by a networking session with representatives from a wide range of sectors from both countries eager to establish contact to generate future trade and investment opportunities between the two countries.