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North and South
YouwillbeabletoreadaboutBREXITdoomandgloomelsewhere. Inthisarticle I seek to share what I believe to be the opportunities available to Gibraltar in these times of change and challenge
Royal Gibraltar Regiment and the Moroccan Army’s Airborne Division in the regular Jebel Sahara exercises. School trips by Moroccan students over the years have also helped to foster this friendship.
Business organisations in Gibraltar should not under estimate the importance of educational links not just for the south but also with Spanish centres of learning.
In 2015 I was made an Honorary Professor of International Law and International Relations at the University of Cadiz. Under the leadership of the renowned Professor Alejandro del Valle, and one time Head of Chambers of the President of the European Court of Justice, the faculty has created excellent links with the Moroccan Kingdom and is clearly also keen to ensure that all avenues of co-operation with Gibraltar are explored.
The University of Cadiz has been at the forefront of such initiatives as the possible creation of European groupings of Territorial Co-operation (which would not require Gibraltar to remain in the EU, and so will survive Brexit).	For the last two years the University of Cadiz has invited the top specialists from Berlin and Brussels to advise on these opportunities.
The concept is simple and that is that, regardless of political shenanigans, the people who live in the three countries that surround the straits of the UK-Gibraltar, Spain and Morocco, should make the very best of the obvious opportunities that our geographical and strategic position gives to us. The use of Gibraltar as a bridgehead into Africa for the newly independent of the EU, UK, are obvious.
At the moment Charles Gomez & Co is putting together a number of exciting but realistic projects
Over the last few months my colleagues at Charles A Gomez & Co and I have been exploring opportunities across the Straits of Gibraltar in the KingdomofMorocco. InSeptember2016Iwas invited to speak at the OCP Policy Centre, a high powered think-tank and research establishment in Rabat. IwasleftinnodoubtthatMoroccois powering ahead in industrial and technological terms.
Its relatively young population and a clearly discernible national ambition to make the country a success contrasts somewhat with attitudes on the northern side of the Mediterranean where years of economic stability and a culture of entitlement has softened up large segments of the population and threaten to make entire swathes of Europe uncompetitive and dependent on immigration.
Morocco is a developing country, but it is and always has been sophisticated. It would be a monumental error for Gibraltar based businesses seeking to open up Moroccan markets to expect our neighbours to the south to adhere to our own comfortable notions how business should be done. There is no doubt that under the leadership of King Mohammed VI, Morocco is ploughing its own furrow and those wanting to do business there must understand that the new systems being implemented may be different from what we
have been accustomed to, but they are by no
means inferior. On the contrary, they reflect realities.	I heard a
hopefully apocryphal story of a delegation of people from the Gibraltar finance sector who came back saying that their counterparts in Morocco had “not yet reached the level of progress in finance centre matters that we in Gibraltar have achieved.” If the story is true you can choose whether to laugh
or cry. Our own exchanges with officials and business
people in Morocco convince us that the country has not only youth on its side but also a creditable legal system and a burgeoning ambition among its people that, absent any rude shocks, can only lead to success. For just one example, look at the Tanger-Med 1 commercial port which has capacity to operate 8,000,000 containers, 7,000,000 passengers, 700,000 trucks, 2,000,000 vehicles and 10,000,000 metric tons of oil products a year. By the time that Tanger-Med 2 is completed in 2018, it will be the busiest port in the Mediterranean.
That Gibraltar is well placed to be a bridge to the south is certain. There is moreover a strong feeling of friendship towards Gibraltar and the United Kingdom as a whole, which has been brought about not only by the existence of what is now a sizeable community of Moroccan origin among us, but also long historical trading ties and the excellent co-operation that there is between the
to bring this vision into reality.
Charles Gomez

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