Qatar and the Kingdom of Morocco have substantial economic cooperation between the two countries, with Qatar being one of the largest foreign investors in Morocco.
The bilateral trade between Qatar and Morocco stood at $70mn in 2015. In 2016, Qatar ranked fifth in direct foreign investments in Morocco.
Qatar is seeking to increase its investments in Morocco. In May of this year a joint meeting between Moroccan and Qatari investors in Doha concluded that the kingdom is a “promising investment market.”
The Qatar Chamber said at the time that Morocco offers attractive opportunities for Qatari investors due to its tourism market potential as well as economic privileges granted to foreign investors.
The agriculture, industry, trade, services and renewable energy sectors were the key segments emerged in the meeting as potential sectors for investments.
Currently, Qatari and Moroccan businessmen are involved in the investment projects in plastic products, aluminium, foodstuffs and furniture.
Some of the prominent Qatari institutions that are actively engaged in Morocco include the national carrier, Qatar Airways, Qatar Rail and Qatar International Islamic Bank.
In 2015, Qatar Airways and Royal Air Maroc further strengthened their recent business partnership with the launch of new code-share routes across latter’s extensive West African network, as well as on both airlines’ routes between Qatar and Morocco.
The joint business agreement benefits passengers by providing enhanced links between Qatar and Morocco, greater choice of flights and improved frequent flyer benefits.
The introduction of the new code-share partnership allow passengers to purchase a single itinerary combining flights on both carriers’ global networks, affording them the ease of one-stop ticketing and baggage check-in.
The agreement signed between Qatar Rail and the National Office of Railways of Morocco aims at developing relations between the two countries in rail transport through the activation of a partnership between the two sides.
Earlier this year, QIIB launched operations of its joint venture Umnia Bank in Morocco, which is the result of its partnership with Crédit immobilier et hotelier (CIH) and Moroccan Deposit and Management Fund.
The bank’s operations began through its branches in Casablanca and Rabat, where Umnia is considered the first bank of its kind to obtain the necessary approval of the Central Bank of Morocco to promote its products in the kingdom.
The joint venture in Morocco is among those pioneering Shariah-compliant banking in the kingdom.
QIIB expects Morocco to be its “launch pad” for business expansion in Northern Africa. The leading Qatari Islamic bank said a huge market is there to be tapped in North Africa, which is in need of Shariah-based, value-driven banking.
Reports suggest in Morocco, there is a huge demand for Shariah-compliant value-based Islamic banking.
Qatari investments in Morocco’s tourism industry are also part of the growing bilateral relationship between the two countries.
Recently, Moroccan Sovereign Wealth Fund had set up a joint venture with a Qatari financial institution, through which they are to partner in carrying out three large-scale tourism projects to be launched shortly in Morocco.
Reports suggest plans are in place to bring about a change in Morocco’s foreign investment law, which will facilitate more foreign investments into the kingdom. Currently, Morocco places limits on foreign investment in various sectors, allowing for only a minority stake.
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