Israeli agri-tech giant Netafim is the the first, and only, Israeli company on record to undertake a greenfield foreign investment into the Arab world, according to fDi Markets, a data service that has monitored FDI worldwide since 2003.

Since at least 2003, there has been no official greenfield foreign investment between Israel and and the Arab World, and vice versa, finds fDi Markets. However, this changed in mid-2017, with Netafim’s $2.9m subsidiary set up in Morocco, thereby creating 17 jobs.

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“The opening of the new subsidiary [in Morocco] is part of growth in the market and our desire to improve the quality of our service and our assistance to our customers and partners in Morocco,” Shavit Dahan, Netafim’s director for North and West Africa, told the French-Israeli Chamber of Commerce.

Israeli records shows $37m worth of commerce with Morocco in 2017, according to data released by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) this year. Of Israel’s 22 African trading partners, Morocco is within the four top nations from which it imports, and ninth in terms of exports, according to CBS. These links are not new, with $149m worth of trade between 2014 and 2017, according to CBS.

Relations between Israel and certain Arab nations have been improving in recent years. For example, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's recently visited Oman’s Sultan Qaboos bin Said, the first such trip since 1996.