When thinking of the United Arab Emirates, one thinks of opulent luxury: swank hotels, a myriad of dining options, the seven star Burj Al-Arab, exotic cars, the tallest building in the world, which are all symbols of wealth, progress and great success.
Each of the icons that come to mind has contributed to the identity of Dubai and made it one of the preeminent destinations for tourists across the globe. In the second quarter of 2013, MasterCard rated Dubai No. 7 in its index for Global Destination Cities, placing it before Los Angeles, Vienna, Barcelona and Rome.
However, other measures exist of the success economically, albeit not as visible to those not in the know.
Since is 2004 launch, the Dubai International Financial Center or DIFC has increased in size steadily making it today a global contender, beside the likes of Moscow and Beijing.
This type of success has not fallen on blind eyes in Casablanca, which is seeking to mimic the example set by Dubai in its hope to attract foreign investments and large international financial institutions.
The largest city in Morocco will attempt the construction of the CFC or the Casablanca Finance City, which would be the first of its type and size in North Africa.
For a location to be called an international financial center its must be a global city playing a significant role in different capital markets and have a large number of financial institutions that are significant at the international level.
Of an important note are the financial centers designated as free zones or special economic zones in order to give incentive for business activity that relates to the financial segment.
In 2009, the Brookings Institute wrote that the progress politically under King Mohammed VI in Morocco was stagnant and was merely the equivalent of old wine inside new bottles.
However, since the onset of the Arab Spring, the king agreed to new elections and made amendments in the Kingdom’s constitution.
Recently a leading business magazine credited the strategic position geographically and its stability politically, especially in comparison to the rest of the Middle East and North Africa is the key reason why Morocco is attracting many foreign manufacturers that include Dell, Bombardier Aerospace and Renault.