In April 2010, King Mohammed VI launched Casablanca Finance City (CFC) and then the appointment of its General Manager, Said Ibrahimi. Since the African financial hub, which celebrated its 10 years of existence yesterday Tuesday March 16, has gained more attractiveness thus positioning the Kingdom Morocco at the forefront of emerging nations in Africa, thanks to this regional financial platform.
Naturally and throughout the decade, it has never ceased to attract capital and intends, in addition to maintaining its positioning, to support economic and financial players through an offer that simplifies the conduct of their business on the continent from Casablanca. For ten years, considerable development has been carried out around the legal and regulatory framework of CFCs. It made it possible to set up a first offer aimed at facilitating business, with subsequent developments intended to meet the needs of member companies and to cover other aspects, such as the sharing of expertise, networking, etc.
“We want to remain the first African financial center and progress in the world rankings. It is undeniable the fact that Morocco, having been placed on the European gray list while citing CFC, was negative in terms of image. This is negative publicity for us. This is also why during the last ranking we went back a little but we hope that the ranking at the end of 2020 will be positive and that we will maintain our positioning. Our competitiveness is intact ”, Said Ibrahimi said during a virtual conference under the theme ” ten years of existence and major achievements ”. The recent EU decision to remove Morocco from the gray list of tax havens has been received as a relief and should help maintain this competitiveness.
The Director General also regrets the impact of the health crisis on CFC members and businesses, like several companies. CFC conducted a community-level survey to analyze the impact of Covid on businesses. According to a survey at the level of the CFC community, a decrease in turnover ranging from 20 to 25% in 2020 compared to 2019 was observed. ” The impact of the crisis was more or less important depending on the sector of activity. Everything that is hospitality and aviation suffered during this period. Their activity has been reduced to almost nothing », Said the CEO. ” On the other side, we have the Telecoms which behaved very well, as well as the law firms which had a lot of activity, on contracts in Africa. “, he added. The CFC tower nevertheless remained open in 2020, “ even at the peak of containment “, Underlined the CEO who indicated that” there was a low level of occupation at the start of the pandemic but it quickly picked up afterwards. The tower is now occupied in an almost usual way “.
In addition, and still in the context of the crisis, CFC’s ambition to reach 500 member companies by 2025 has been revised downwards. Maintaining the momentum in 2019 has been made impossible by the crisis. In December 2019, the level of 200 CFC member companies had been reached as agreed, having welcomed 40 members during this fiscal year and around 20 companies in 2020, despite the health context that impacted the global economy. ” At the start of 2021, the rate of recruitment of 40 to 50 new members was restored “, He said, estimating that there will be enough space to accommodate a large number of businesses.
On the other hand, the financial center is growing. CFC has developed three buildings to accommodate new members, including deliverables in 2021. As part of this development drive, the Casablanca financial center is in partnership with 19 African investment promotion centers and 15 international financial centers, including the last is that of Hong Kong (Casablanca Finance City Authority (CFCA) and the Financial Services Development Council (FSDC) of Hong Kong recently announced the signing of a partnership aimed at strengthening collaboration).
In addition, CFC was very early engaged in the promotion of green and sustainable finance in Africa. As early as 2016 and on the sidelines of COP 22, CFC organized the first Climate Finance Day on the continent in partnership with Paris Europlace. CFC currently co-chairs with Toronto Finance International, the Financial Centers For Sustainability (FC4S, an international network under the aegis of the United Nations. It is the first international network of financial centers for sustainable development. The financial center has also joined the Global Green Finance Index (GGFI), while its green ecosystem has grown with new members operating in this sector, notably the Africa50 fund and Green of Africa.