New York: Moroccan Economic Delegation Visits Wall Street

24 April 2024
New York: Moroccan Economic Delegation Visits Wall Street

An economic delegation from Morocco has met, Monday on Wall Street, with leaders from the New York Stock Exchange.

This visit comes in line with the strategic relations uniting Morocco and the United States in various areas, including the promotion of capital markets.

Led by the Casablanca Stock Exchange and the Moroccan Capital Market Authority (AMMC), in the presence of Morocco’s Ambassador to the United States, Youssef Amrani, the visit aims to strengthen cooperation and exchange between the respective financial operators.

The Moroccan delegation is made up of the Director General of the Casablanca Stock Exchange, Tarik Senhaji, the Director of Financial Operations and Markets at the AMMC, Nasser Seddiqi, the Director General of the Banque Centrale Populaire (BCP), Kamal Mokdad, the CEO of CFG Bank, Younes Benjelloun and CEO of MAROCLEAR, Mounir Razki.

It also comprises the Director of Development at the Casablanca Stock Exchange, Zineb Guennouni, the Director of Market Operations at the same Stock Exchange, Ahmed Arharbi, in addition to Lahcen Danoun from the Ministry of Economy and Finance and Siham Talbioui from Bank Al Maghrib.

Speaking at the meeting, Morocco’s Ambassador to the United States underscored the strong ties between the two nations and the ongoing collaboration across the entire ecosystem of both Moroccan and American capital markets.

“This long-standing friendship along with our shared strategic interests have made our two countries critical partners on many issues and challenges ranging from security threats, climate change, energy to promoting common values of peace, stability and economic liberalism”, he said.

He underlined that in order to strengthen these existing bilateral relations, the two countries signed a Free Trade Agreement in 2004 and implemented it in 2006, making Morocco the only African nation and the second Arab country to have an FTA with the U.S.

Thanks to the FTA, the United States is today the 3rd largest trading partner of Morocco, after France and Spain, while Morocco is the 4th US trading partner in Africa, Youssef Amrani pointed out, adding that because of the FTA, Morocco has experienced a substantial increase of US investments.

He recalled that last year, US investments accounted for more than 30% of total “Foreign Direct Investments” (FDI) in Morocco, placing the United States as the leading investor in Morocco, indicating that bilateral trade has tremendously increased to reach 5 billion in 2023, compared to only 925 million in 2005, a year before the implementation of the FTA.

U.S. exports to Morocco increased in value by 700%, from $480 million in 2005 to $3.4 billion in 2023, while Morocco’s exports to the United States tripled in value to reach $1.6 billion in 2023 compared to $445 million in 2005, he pursued.

Speaking of the relations to Africa, the diplomat stated that this part of the world is steadily emerging as a “new driver” for global growth and closely moving towards a continental free trade zone, underlining that Morocco’s deep ties in the Continent “undeniably offer vast potential for US companies”.

He further noted that Morocco is the second largest investor in Africa and first in West Africa with 85% of the country’s total Foreign Direct Investment, pointing out that with the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and more than 50 similar agreements, Morocco is establishing itself as a free trade hub providing access to a consumer market of 2.5 billion people.

He also underlined that as part of Morocco’s ongoing endeavors for a prosperous Africa, a new mechanism of cooperation has recently emerged through a bold international initiative launched by HM King Mohammed VI, to enhance Atlantic Ocean access for African countries.

“The strategic initiative aims to alleviate the economic bottlenecks of the region by increasing connectivity – making our roads, ports and rail infrastructures available to the Sahel countries to strengthen their participation in international trade including with the United States”, Amrani explained.

He stated that during the past two decades, Morocco has pursued, under the leadership of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, a number of far-reaching political and economic reforms, adding that all these efforts have made Morocco, today, not only a regional economic powerhouse, but also an integrated financial African hub with a modern and highly diversified economy.

The Ambassador recalled that more recently, Morocco has entered a new phase of development, with the emphasis on reforms to foster financial inclusion, digital entrepreneurship, and access to digital infrastructure and services for individuals and businesses to support job creation, especially for women and young people.

“In this spirit, the launch of the Moroccan derivatives market at the Casablanca Stock exchange will complement a long series of structural reforms of the Moroccan Capital Markets”, he further said.

Underlining the importance of the Casablanca Stock Exchange as a “vital” institution shaping Morocco’s financial destiny and playing a pivotal role in connecting investors with opportunities and businesses with capital, Youssef Amrani called for enhanced cooperation between the Moroccan financial center and Wall Street.

“Such a partnership could be a real game-changer that would help not only deepen US-Morocco cooperation in the financial market sector, but also boost our wider strategic alliance within the African continent and the Middle East”, he stated.

For his part, the director of the Casablanca Stock Exchange indicated that this visit aims to bring the market and American investors closer to the opportunities offered by the Casablanca financial center and the Moroccan market.

It also aims to examine the possibility of an exchange of skills, concerning the launch of derivatives markets to which Morocco is voluntarily committed and which it will carry out this year, Tarik Senhaji told MAP.

He noted that today’s visit is specific as it prospects cooperation with leading financial infrastructures in New York, like the New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq and the International Continental Exchange.

The visit “is an opportunity for us and for the operators accompanying us”, mainly the regulators and the banks to establish partnerships with American counterparts, he continued, adding that stock exchanges play a leading role as sources of financing but also as an important promotional tool for countries.

Source: map

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