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Moroccan Companies are Looking South 

Investment banks, brokers, and corporate organisation charts usually classify Morocco as part of the Middle East and north Africa, or MENA — reflecting the country’s strong cultural, linguistic and historical links with the Middle East. But Saïd Ibrahimi, chief executive of Casablanca Finance City, launched in 2010 to help promote Morocco as a “gateway” to investment in Africa, insists that thinking is wrong. “We are more African than we are Middle Eastern,” he states unequivocally, rejecting the entire notion of sub-Saharan Africa as anachronistic. “Africa must trust Africa,” he says, quoting a 2014 speech in Abidjan in which Morocco’s King Mohammed VI made a commitment to strengthen ties with the continent. Morocco’s foreign direct investment into Africa has risen from some $100mn in 2014 to more than $800mn in 2021, by which time 43 per cent of its total FDI went to the continent, according to the finance ministry. That makes Morocco the second-largest African investor in the continent after South Africa, and the largest in west Africa, much of which is French-speaking.