Blog by Rudroneel Ghosh, a Delhi-based journalist working for the Edit Page of The Times of India, on the relations between India and Morocco.
“New Delhi and Rabat enhancing bilateral economic cooperation makes perfect sense”
In my previous blog I had mentioned the potential for solar energy cooperation between India and the north African nation of Morocco. Now, in a major takeaway from the ongoing India-Africa Forum Summit, the Moroccan Firms General Confederation (CGEM) and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) have inked a memorandum of understanding to boost trade relations between the two countries. The MoU seeks to increase trade missions and information exchange to enhance business ties between India and Morocco. It also aims to establish a platform of exchange in the areas of investment, industry and tourism.
This is welcome as it exemplifies efforts to diversify the existing phosphate-centric trade relations between India and Morocco – the latter is the largest exporter of phosphate in the world. In fact, areas such as pharmaceuticals, automobile and textile are highly conducive for bilateral trade, investment and cooperation. Add to this Morocco’s strategic location on the western edge of north Africa with both Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines. Its proximity to Europe – only 14 kilometres – also makes Morocco an ideal hub for exports into European markets.
But the real reason that makes Morocco an attractive investment destination is its political stability. It was one of the few countries in the Middle East, North Africa (MENA) region to successfully navigate the turbulence of the Arab Spring wave. This was because Morocco’s popular monarch, King Mohammed VI, had immediately directed political reforms that included a new constitution and devolution of greater powers to the elected Parliament. In fact, in subsequent general elections in 2011 – which this author had the privilege to cover for this newspaper – the moderate Islamist PJD party came to power for the first time in Morocco’s history.
It’s on the basis of such democratic foundations that Morocco has been able to emerge as the most competitive economy in north Africa. Aiding this economic potential are Moroccan government policies which have ensured competitive costs for exports – approximately $595/container – and low tax rates – taxes paid by companies represent only 49% of their profits. Plus, initiatives like the Casablanca Finance City aim to position Morocco as a regional financial hub and a premier gateway into African markets.
On top of all this, Morocco has strong ties with sister Francophone African nations in the Sahara and Sahel regions. Taken together, with India seeking to boost its own economic growth through better ties with Africa – as revealed by finance minister Arun Jaitley – it simply cannot ignore Morocco. New Delhi and Rabat enhancing bilateral economic cooperation makes perfect sense.
Source: Times of India, Rudroneel Ghosh