MOROCCO – Top executives from Citi Bank, an American based multinational financial institution, have opined that Morocco’s unique geographical position will play a huge role in the country’s journey to economic recovery post COVID-19.

During a webinar hosted by Citi, focused on rebuilding economies as they emerge from the COVID-19 crisis, executives from the American Bank emphasized the importance of Morocco’s geographic position.

According to the Citi executives, the Maghreb country is well-positioned between Europe and Africa, which opens opportunities for future investments necessary to stimulate economic growth.

They highlighted an example of Morocco’s production of personal protective equipment for supply both domestically and internationally.

After securing enough supply for local demand, Morocco went ahead to manufacture and export over 18.5 million face masks to 11 countries.

According to the Ministry of Industry, approximately 33.6% of the exported masks went to France, followed by Portugal with 28.5%, and Spain with 14.6%.

The industrial move played two major roles in alleviating the intensity of the economic crisis: First by creating a source of revenue, and second by creating jobs and keeping laborers behind the machines.

Citi’s Head of EMEA Emerging Markets, Atiq Rehman expressed his “positive sentiments” when it comes to areas of investment and future opportunities in the country.

Last month, Morocco’s inter-ministerial commission for investments approved 45 investment projects for a total budget around MAD 23.38 billion ($2.42 billion).

The 45 investment projects are expected to generate 3,194 direct jobs and 5,406 indirect positions, of which Morocco is in need following the sharp COVID-19-induced deficit in economic activity.

The crisis left 726,000 formal sector employees jobless or temporarily suspended due to the crisis, according to Morocco’s High Commission for Planning (HCP).

Citi’s Country Officer for Morocco, Taoufik Rabbaa on his part expressed confidence that Morocco has major opportunities to recover from the crisis in sectors such as the automotive industry and aeronautics, in addition to the digital economy.

Morocco’s central bank, Bank Al Maghrib (BAM) announced on June a significant increase in industrial activities during the month of May, after the industrial sector witnessed a production deficit due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

BAM announced that production increased with a capacity utilization rate (TUC) standing at 56% during May compared to 47% in April.

In mid-May, the northern city of Tangier saw the resumption of industrial activities including textile, automotive, and aeronautics, which represent the backbone of the country’s economy, next to tourism.

During the COVID-19 crisis, Citi’s affiliate in Morocco, Citibank Maghreb, joined other private and public institutions in making contributions to the Special Fund for the Management and Response to COVID-19.

It mobilized resources through corporate social responsibility actions, including providing employees with opportunities to volunteer to support the community and individuals distressed due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact.

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