December 06, 2009
Morocco hosts wounded Guinean coup leader
A minor if interesting item, FT.com - Wounded Guinea leader flies to Morocco relative to Morocco and Africa.
Wounded Guinea leader flies to MoroccoWhat is if interest here is a small highlight of Morocco's West African connexions and ambitions, and from the business point of view, where actual current attention flows.
Guinea’s military ruler left the country for medical treatment on Friday after being shot and wounded by a member of his own presidential guard, officials said.
I frequently note, the "guys back east" in the Mashreq (using that to cover everyone from Egypt over) love to count in the Maghreb in their population and GDP pitches for "Arab World" investment, but the economic and cultural reality is that the exchanges are minimal, and little investment flows "West" to the Maghreb. Lack of genuine synergies. The real axis for the Maghreb is North to Europe and South to SS Africa,
especially West Africa where historical and religious ties combine with
a shared colonial heritage and better real economic synergies. (A word of caution then to those reading PPMs back east showing a grand geographic scope of investment...)
I do wonder if Morocco will get close to Camara (who desperately needs to be deposed as he's shown himself to be an ugly loon), or whether they will adopt a more neutral attitude.
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What you say about the SS Africa/Europe/Mashreq/Maghreb relations is true for Morocco but not for Tunisia actually. In the case of the latter, Europe definitely has more weight than the East - but the Gulf is significantly present in terms of investments and political connections (not to the same magnitude as in Lebanon but still) and the Mashreq culturally (actually perhaps more so than Europe ex 2+ generation expats), whereas SS Africa is totally off the radar (like talking about another planet).
Hmm, I grant that Tunisia has greater Mashreq exposure, but when I look at the trade flows (goods as well as tourism and other services) and actual realised direct investment, I see a rather similar picture to Morocco - with really only marginally more Gulf / Mashreq exposure.
On Africa, I agree that SSA is less "visible" in Tunisia talk, but I based on the funds and international focused firms with expansion ambitions (versus the Tunisians that are basically passive back-office operators for Italy and France), I hear quite a lot about SSA as a strategy. Very niche, I confess, and relative to Morocco much less visible in the public discourse, but it's there.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at December 8, 2009 06:20 AM