October 29th, 2010
02:26 PM GMT
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October 29th, 2010
10:58 AM GMT
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If vibrant colors, sights and sounds were rated as indicators to attract business and foreign direct investment, Marrakech and Morocco in general would win that competition hands down.  Entering the giant market square Jemaa El Fna a half hour before sunset takes one to a bygone era. Traders, craftsmen and the odd purveyor of black magic potions are all too willing to do a deal.

Thirty minutes outside the central square, we all gathered for the World Economic Forum regional meeting on the Middle East.  The distance from the Gulf - a full nine hours from Dubai before a transfer from Casablanca - served as a deterrent for many.  In fact, not one political leader decided to make the journey to a place where caravans would spend weeks crossing the Sahara to sell their goods.  

Even the King of the host country, Mohammed VI decided to leave this global event to others, which many attending saw as a sizable mistake.

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