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Morocco is a key player in the African Continental Free Trade Area

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Morocco is a key player in the African Continental Free Trade Area

Atalayar | 23rd February 2023

By Marina Blinda

Morocco can serve as a real lever for the creation of the desired African Continental Free Trade Area (ZLECAf) with more than 1 billion consumers, thanks to the sectors it covers such as agriculture, renewable energies, banking, telecommunications, real estate, etc. ...., according to the daily Les Inspirations Eco.

Carolina Freund, Global Head of Trade, Investment and Competitiveness said: "The creation of a continent-wide single market for goods and services, business and investment will reshape African economies. The implementation of the AfCFTA would be a major step forward for Africa, showing the world that the continent is becoming a leader in promoting global trade.

Morocco is Africa’s leading investor, characterised by strong economic fundamentals, and this means that the African Continental Free Trade Area can only be operational if Africa has large African multinationals manufacturing and exporting across the continent. According to the daily Inspiration Eco: "It is the weight and contribution of these African champions that can boost intra-African trade. Today, along with Africa and Egypt, Morocco is one of the few countries with large national groups that have succeeded in exporting outside their countries in various fields".

The Moroccan infrastructure thus offers significant advantages in terms of "distribution logistics, capacity to develop distribution centres, as well as very high level logistics consultancy," adds Bank of Africa Europe CEO Mohamed Benchaib.

According to the latest estimates by the Economic Commission for Africa, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will increase intra-African trade by approximately 40%, with huge benefits for the transport sector, however, if fully implemented, the AfCFTA should increase traffic flows. However, the conflict between Ukraine and Russia has unleashed a wave of inflation that has pushed up prices, especially in energy products. The Moroccan government’s actions have also responded in this direction. Through the Transport Support Programme, the executive helps national transporters to maintain market supplies and price stability for products.

Les Inspirations Eco reminds that "African exports are more composed of raw materials, to be processed outside the continent, and then resold in African markets with added value".

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) could allow African countries to lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty. In any case, intra-African trade is more diverse than international trade, as these intra-African exports include twice as many processed goods (40 per cent) as exports to the rest of the world (20%). Morocco has no oil revenues, but relies on its strengths in agribusiness, tourism, textiles and phosphates, while diversifying into new sectors.

Fitch Solutions notes: "We are now more optimistic about exports given the economic conditions," and demand for Moroccan automotive products is expected to increase by 7.6% by 2023.

"In fact, we believe that demand for Moroccan manufacturing exports will remain sluggish, as indicated by the recent industry survey by Bank Al-Maghrib, which showed a marked slowdown in new orders in the second half of 2022," said Les Inspirations Eco.

If African countries were to move their own production and exchange it with each other, the level of intra-African trade would automatically increase. Morocco has managed to lead in many sectors, thanks to the economic growth it has achieved in recent years, and in this sense, it can even serve as a locomotive.

 source: Atalayar