American and Moroccan officials and business leaders gathered yesterday in Dallas for the 2014 Morocco Trade & Investment Forum, dedicated to strengthening business ties between the two nations and exploring unique investment opportunities for US companies in Morocco and its networks throughout Africa. Highlights of the forum included the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Dallas/Fort Worth Airport and Morocco’sAirports Authority to collaborate in training and marketing, as well as remarks from some of the top private and public-sector leaders from both countries in transportation and logistics, aeronautics manufacturing, renewable energy technologies, and other key industries.
“As a gateway to African, European and Middle Eastern markets, and the only North African country that has a Free Trade Agreement with the US, Morocco offers US investors significant opportunities in a stable and thriving business environment,” said Jean AbiNader, Executive Director of the Moroccan American Trade and Investment Center.
Drawing representation from nearly 80 companies, the forum covered a broad range of areas, from Morocco’s position as a lead investor in Africa (about half of personal loans made on the continent go through Moroccan banks) and a gateway to the continent’s markets; to developments in the energy, aeronautics, and other sectors. Among the key Moroccan speakers were Transportation Minister Aziz Rabbah, Minister for Small and Medium Enterprises Mamoune Bouhdoud, CEO of the National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mining Amina Benkhadra, and Moroccan Ambassador to the US Rachad Bouhlal. Key US speakers included US Commerce Department Deputy Under Secretary for International Trade Kenneth E. Hyatt, MoneyGram CEO Pamela Patsley, US Ambassador to Morocco Dwight L. Bush, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, and Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), among others.
The 2014 Morocco Trade & Investment Forum builds on the success of the Free Trade Agreement signed in 2004 and follows two US-Morocco Business Development Conferences held in Washington, DC in 2012 and Rabat in 2014. In the past ten years, Moroccohas gained traction with investors around the world thanks to its geographic location, growing economy, political stability and other factors: in 2013, Morocco became the second biggest destination for foreign direct investment in Africa, and itself is the second largest African investor on the continent. In 2014, CNN named Casablanca a “finance hub of the future,” and The Wall Street Journal reported that Morocco is among the top ten frontier markets—and the only one in the Maghreb—most favored by foreign corporations, according to its Frontiers/FSG Frontier Markets Sentiment Index.
Moroccan And American Trade and Investment Center.