Moroccans walk near the Koutoubia minaret and Jamaa el-Fna Square in Marrakesh, Morocco. Simon Martelli/AFP/GettyImages
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Beyond the walls of a palace outside Casablanca owned by Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, Moroccans are buying housing plots that one of the Middle East's biggest construction firms will fold into a new mini-city. The $346 million plan by Jeddah-based Saudi Binladin Group will turn 250 hectares of former local-authority land into homes for 150,000 people, hospitals and an artificial lake.The capital inflows are a boost for Morocco as it seeks to diversify sources of economic expansion beyond agriculture with a focus on automotives, renewable energy and infrastructure, said Dauba-Pantanacce. Reducing the economy's reliance on farming is Morocco's biggest challenge, he said.Acknowledging the diversification efforts, Moody's Investors Service last month changed Morocco's rating outlook to stable from negative.The IMF approved a $5 billion precautionary credit line in August to enable Morocco to weather unexpected economic shocks after a previous facility expired this year.
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