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UAE and Morocco form taskforce to double trade by 2030

UAE finance minister Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri held talks with Moroccan officials including investment minister Mohcine Jazouli Wam
UAE finance minister Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri held talks with Moroccan officials including investment minister Mohcine Jazouli
  • Committee includes Etihad Rail, Emirates, Masdar and DP World
  • UAE accounts for over 20% of foreign capital stock in Morocco
  • Transport and logistics are top sectors for Emirati investors

The UAE and Morocco are aiming to double bilateral trade and investment volumes over the next seven years.

The two countries are forming a taskforce to build on their AED3.6 billion ($991 million) non-oil foreign trade last year, which was up 16 percent from 2021 and more than two-thirds higher than 2020.

The UAE is the second biggest foreign investor in Morocco, accounting for $14 billion – more than 20 percent – of the total foreign capital stock in the kingdom.

The first meeting of the UAE-Morocco Joint Economic Committee took place last week in Rabat and highlighted potential for growth across sectors including finance, food security, tech, renewable energy, logistics and infrastructure.

Private sector attendees included Etihad Rail, Emirates, Masdar, DP World, Abu Dhabi Ports Group and EMEA Power Company.

The UAE minister of economy Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri described the committee as a “new milestone” in the development of economic and trade ties between the countries. 

“It will help bring the UAE’s and Morocco’s private sectors closer to each other and promote dialogue between them, which will lead to growth in trade and investment exchanges,” he said.

Representatives from Etihad Rail, Emirates, Masdar, DP World, Abu Dhabi Ports Group and EMEA Power Company attended the meeting in Rabat, MoroccoWam
Representatives from Etihad Rail, Emirates, Masdar, DP World, Abu Dhabi Ports Group and EMEA Power Company attended the meeting in Rabat

“The transport and logistics sector will continue to attract the largest inflow of UAE investments in Morocco over the medium term,” said Samer Talhouk, a country risk analyst at BMI, formerly known as Fitch Solutions Country Risk & Industry Research.

“This approach falls within Morocco’s long-term economic plan to become an export-led economy and reduce its exposure to shocks to its agriculture sector.”

Talhouk added that the committee could lead to other Emirati companies and funds, notably the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, ramping up investment in sectors such as housing, social services, utilities and agriculture – and tapping the largely unexplored Western Sahara region.

Ali Metwally, a Mena economist and risk analyst at Infospectrum, said the agriculture and industrial sectors were poised to be the key drivers of future growth.

Morocco’s agriculture sector employs over 30 percent of the nation’s workforce. “Morocco has the expertise, land, and workforce, while the UAE has the latest technology and financial means,” said Metwally.

Sami Hamdi, managing director of International Interest, said the UAE considered Morocco a reliable hub that can act as a conduit to Europe in sectors such as energy and agriculture.

“With Tunisia and Algeria’s agricultural sectors struggling, the UAE sees an opportunity to accelerate Morocco’s own development and seize greater market shares in Europe.”

Tourism is also an important sector. Last month Emirates reintroduced its flagship A380 to Casablanca as part of the airline’s ramp-up of operations to Morocco, which attracted nearly 11 million tourists last year.

Dubai-based Sunset Hospitality Group has recently announced a partnership to enter Morocco as part of its global expansion plans.

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