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Aruba, September 11, 2014 Mention Morocco and most would first think of the exotic markets of Marrakech, the desert dotted with ancient kasbahs and, of course, the classic 1942 wartime film "Casablanca."

But Casablanca, the main port city of Morocco, is among the places being tipped by experts as emerging future global financial centers.

As the gateway between Europe and Africa, Casablanca aims to take advantage of its geographical position and also act as a hub for North, West and Central Africa, said Hicham Zegrary, director of operations and institutional affairs at the Casablanca Finance City Authority (CFCA).

The CFCA is working hard to position Casablanca as an international financial center, he said, by building its technology infrastructure and improving the legal environment in which business is done. Zegrary added that due to Morocco's many partners throughout Europe, North America and Asia, for investors "it is easier to do business with African countries from Morocco." Since its inception four years ago, the CFCA says it has attracted over 100 companies including BNP Paribas, AIG, Clifford Chance, Silk Invest and Boston Consulting Group to name a few.

While Casablanca's ranking is still relatively low overall (62 out of 83) in a recent Global Financial Center Index report, it's significant that it debuted on the list and it signals a larger growth in the region. What's more, GFCI asked international financial services professionals which cities they believed will likely become more significant in the next few years: Casablanca was the name that came up most.

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