Casablanca is set to join the ranks of the world’s leading shopping destinations with the opening next week of The Morocco Mall, which boasts 350 stores and covers more than 70,000 square metres.

The centre, which the developers say has already sold 98% of its commercial space, will have the African continent's first Galeries Lafayette and FNAC stores, as well as 40 restaurants, the country's first IMAX theatre and an ice skating rink. The centre will also house a number of Inditex's banners, Gap, New Look and Banana Republic as well as luxury brands including Gucci and Dior.

It said that with the opening of the Morocco Mall on 5 December, some 21,000 indirect jobs and 5,000 direct jobs will be created.

The mall is a joint project carried out by the AKSAL and Al Jedaie groups, the companies said the centre will offer a "unique 'retailtainment' experience".

"Morocco Mall is the true essence of a destination mall mixing shopping and leisure. We wanted to go that extra mile, to place ourselves in a new league to traditional shopping centres. Our vision and desire was to offer the people of Casablanca, Moroccans and visitors to the Kingdom a unique and magical place that could be found nowhere else on Earth," said AKSAL chairman Salwa Idrissi Akhannouch.