Sovereign’s Ejaz Niazi and Ravi Viroomal were delighted to attend the official opening of the Gibraltar Morocco Business Association (GMBA) office in Tangier by Dr John Cortes, Gibraltar’s Minister for Environment, Education and Culture, on 12 June.
The ceremony, infused with traditional Moroccan music, featured speeches by Cortes, together with Joshua Lhote, GMBA President, Steven Marin, Managing Director of the Gibraltar Morocco Business Exchange in Tangier and GMBA Secretary, and Brahim Krikaz, President of the Strait of Gibraltar Association in Tangier and a GMBA board member.
Dr Cortes emphasised the deep historical ties between Gibraltar and Morocco and expressed the gratitude of the people of Gibraltar for the support they had received from their southern neighbours after the closure of the frontier with Spain in 1969. He stressed the importance of fostering and expanding social, cultural and economic links between the two regions.
The GMBA is a non-profit organisation that was co-founded by Clive Reed over a decade ago. It aims to strengthen commercial relations between the business communities of Gibraltar and Morocco, promote investments and trade, as well as to encourage social, artistic, educational and cultural exchanges.
Following the Brexit referendum, Steven Marin proposed the establishment of an office in Morocco to explore commercial opportunities outside the European Union. The GMBA office in Tangier, which is located on Youssef Ibn Tachfine Street, a central area close to Tanger Ville port and the city centre, commenced operations in November 2019.
However, the formal opening, which was originally scheduled for March 2020, had to be delayed due to the Covid pandemic and the closure of the Moroccan border. Nevertheless, the Tangier office continued its work throughout the pandemic, notably arranging charter flights and sea transportation for Gibraltarians stranded in Morocco.
The opening of a commercial office in Tangier has the potential to serve as a conduit for trade in both directions. It meets the GMBA’s mission to promote and preserve the alliance between Gibraltar and Morocco and will provide an opportunity to foster business relationships through its seminars, workshops and exchange programmes.
During the ceremony, Dr Cortes presented the first-ever Duke of Edinburgh International Award certificates to be awarded in the Kingdom of Morocco. The recipients – Salim Akhchich, Louay Jeloul, Soukaina Chahbar, Oualid El Haddad and Aroua Benmessaoud – were trained by volunteers from the Tetouan Scouts.
A donation of £2,500 was also presented to the Tangier School for the Deaf. It was part of the £17,000 recently raised by the Strait of Gibraltar Association from a camel trek, which saw 11 riders travelling along the Atlantic coastline, for the benefit of both Moroccan and Gibraltarian charities.
“We welcome the establishment of this office because we recognise that the GMBA will not only strengthen trade relations between Gibraltar and Morocco but will enable Gibraltar and Moroccan businesses to expand in to markets across the world, leading to increased opportunities for all,” said Ravi Viroomal, Director of Sales at Sovereign.
“Sovereign is ideally positioned to facilitate business between Morocco, Gibraltar and the UK and we look forward to growing our relationship with both Morocco and the GMBA,” said Ejaz Niazi, Business Development Manager at Sovereign Trust (Gibraltar).