Morocco and China are eager to extend their economic cooperation to the African continent as Chinese investors seem poised to build on Morocco’s strategic location and business ties with Africa, said The Diplomat, a magazine specializing in the Asia-Pacific region.
“Morocco can be China’s gateway into West Africa and beyond, where Moroccan companies and businessmen are already playing a leading role,” the magazine quoted Brahim Benjelloun Touimi, the director general of BCME Bank and the chairman of the Bank of Africa, as saying.
Highlighting the significance of the recent opening of a BMCE branch in Shanghai, the magazine said that leading banks in the two countries are prospecting business opportunities. “The Bank of China, China’s oldest financial institution, opened its first branch in Morocco this year. The bank seeks to manage its involvement in various African markets from Casablanca.”
The magazine underscores the leading role of Casablanca in the continent as a financial hub which has “surpassed Johannesburg to be ranked the number one financial center in the Global Financial Centers Index, a survey of financial centers.”
The magazine also points out to the efforts led by the two countries to strengthen economic ties citing the organization of the first Sino-African Entrepreneurs Summit in Marrakech, where Morocco later hosted the COP22 summit.
“The relationship dates back to November 1958, when Morocco became only the second country in Africa to recognize the People’s Republic of China. Ties deepened last year when Morocco’s King Mohammed VI made a state visit to China. It was the second such trip to China during his reign,” recalled the magazine.
The magazine also sheds light on the agreements signed during the Royal tour in China, including the signing of a China-Africa investment fund and plans to launch works on a $10 billion industrial city in Tangier.
“China sees in Morocco an opportunity to develop factories for export to the European Union, just across the straights of Gibraltar,” said the magazine.