Morocco has now been included in the prestigious Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI) and the North African country also hosted the launch of the 16th edition of the international ranking body. The event was organised by the Casablanca Finance City. Report by Hind Filali.
Morocco entered the top 80 most competitive Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI) for the first time this year in 51st place, ahead of the Bahamas, Dublin, Malta, Madrid, Moscow and Lisbon. It came second in the African rankings after Johannesburg and before Mauritius.
The country built on its success by hosting the launch of GFCI 16th edition during a conference last month. Mark Yeandle, Associate Director at Z/Yen Group and co-creator of the Index, visited Casablanca to present the new report’s conclusions personally.
The meeting was organised by Casablanca Finance City (CFC). It is another sign that Casablanca is slowly but surely joining the global financial centre elite. Saïd Ibrahimi, Chief Executive of Casablanca Finance City, said: “Our entry into the ranking is recognition of the appropriateness of our position as an economic and financial hub dedicated to Africa.”
GFCI is one of the most prestigious indices because it is based on the key criterion of competitiveness, perhaps the most crucial factor for international investors seeking profitability and performance from their investments.
It is considered an accurate barometer for multinationals in search of financial centres able to serve their regional operations. The GFCI has two data sources. The first is to aggregate and incorporate 103 competitiveness indices, including those from the World Bank, WEF, UN and OECD. The second is based on assessments made by international finance professionals. The CFC team sees Morocco’s ranking in the global financial centre elite as a sign that the national strategy for the integrated development of the Moroccan financial sector is on track.
Establishing a financial centre in Casablanca capable of drawing investment to Africa and offering a platform that complies with best international standards is the cornerstone of the vision set out by King Mohammed VI to make Morocco a regional hub. All the country’s resources have been deployed over the past few years to implement the reforms needed to enable Morocco to play its role to the full.
Is Casablanca right in its ambitions, given the increasing competition from South Africa and also its neighbour Tunisia? Observers say the odds are in Casablanca’s favour but the city must remain vigilant.
It is important to analyse the global context in which the CFC was launched. Morocco’s geographical position makes it one of Europe’s main partners and it also offers an entrée to the US and the Gulf, acting as a bridge to the coveted African markets.
CFC can now legitimately position itself as a catalyst for attracting foreign capital or for financing projects in Africa and acting as a catalyst of Africa’s regional integration strategy.
As Ibrahimi highlighted in his speech, “it is about capitalising on the CFC’s ecosystem, by benefiting from the provision of financial services of the highest standard, and capitalising on promoting the region to international institutions and investors.”
Casablanca’s emergence as a regional financial centre will offer short-cuts and an attractive cost structure for African shares compared to London, Geneva, Paris or Brussels. The Casablanca Stock Exchange offers a dedicated framework for listing African companies that want to attract finance for their development.
Morocco’s entry in the GFCI ranking is perhaps one small step of many envisaged by the CFC, but it is a giant leap for the confirmation of Morocco as a regional hub into Africa or as an international financial centre.