SOURCE: Moroccan American Center for Policy

May 13, 2016 11:52 ET

Morocco, China Strengthen Business Ties During King Mohammed VI's Historic Visit to Beijing

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - May 13, 2016) -  On Thursday during an official visit to Beijing, Morocco's King Mohammed VI presided over the signing of 15 public-private partnership agreements between Morocco and the People's Republic of China. The King also announced that, in the interest of improving the two countries' relationship, Chinese citizens will no longer require a visa to visit Morocco.

The agreements covered a range of areas, from housing development to energy to logistics and shipping and more. They included agreements between:

  • Morocco and China's HAITE group to construct logistical and residential zones in the Tangiers region;
  • Morocco's office for electricity and drinking water (ONEE) and China's SEPCO III Electric Power Construction to conduct studies on extending and maintaining Morocco's Jerada power plant;
  • Morocco's National Tourism Office and China International Travel Service to increase tourism between the two countries;
  • Linuo Ritter, SIE, Cap Holding and Attijariwafa Bank for the creation of an industrial production unit for solar water-heaters in Morocco;
  • China Africa Development Fund (CAD Fund) and Attijariwafa Bank to open new prospects for Moroccan-Chinese investment opportunities in Africa;
  • Haite Group, Morocco-China International and BMCE Bank of Africa to set up a Chinese-Moroccan industrial park in Morocco and a Chinese-Moroccan investment fund targeting the aeronautics, finances, industrial parks and infrastructure sectors; and more.

Over the last two decades, Morocco has taken steps to become a business hub in Africa, investing in infrastructure and sector-specific education, expanding business relationships throughout the continent while courting foreign investment. And the work has paid off. In April, French automaker Renault announced a major new expansion of existing investments in the country, expanding operations alongside other big names like Bombardier and Boeing who also have a presence there.

Earlier this year, Morocco was named among the 50 most innovative economies in the world and one of just two such economies in Africa by the 2016 Bloomberg Innovation Index. The World Bank's Doing Business 2016 report ranked Morocco first out of 20 MENA countries in terms of "ease of starting a business" and placed it sixth overall in the region for "ease of doing business." In 2014, the Wall Street Journal's Frontiers/FSG Frontier Markets Sentiment Index reported that Morocco is among the top ten frontier markets -- and the only one in the Maghreb -- most favored by foreign corporations. KPMG International and Oxford Economics' 2015 Change Readiness Index (CRI) ranked Morocco as the most "change-ready" country in the Maghreb, with particularly positive results in the category of "enterprise capability."

"Thanks to forward thinking reforms under King Mohammed VI, Morocco today boasts a business-friendly, innovative economy, skilled workforce, political stability, and ever-strengthening ties in Africa," said former US Ambassador to Morocco Edward Gabriel. "All of this makes Morocco the ideal partner for world powers like China seeking to expand commercial and security relationships in the Maghreb region."

The Moroccan American Center for Policy (MACP) is a non-profit organization whose principal mission is to inform opinion makers, government officials, and interested publics in the United States about political and social developments in Morocco and the role being played by the Kingdom of Morocco in broader strategic developments in North Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East.

This material is distributed by the Moroccan American Center for Policy on behalf of the Government of Morocco. Additional information is available at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC.

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