Momentum in Morocco

AMDIE: Driving economic growthThe recently established Agence Marocaine de Developpement des Investissements et des Exportations/ Moroccan Investment and Export Development Agency (AMDIE) is driving Morocco’s economic growth.

AMDIE is responsible for promoting Morocco as a foreign investment destination, supporting Moroccan exporters and assisting Moroccan companies investing abroad.

The agency is the result of the 2017 merger of Maroc Export, the Moroccan Investment and Development Agency (AMDI) and the Office des Foires et Expositions de Casablanca/Casablanca Exhibition Centre (OFEC). Operating out of Morocco’s capital, Rabat, AMDIE is driven to fulfil its mission of creating economic opportunities in Morocco and the region.

The gateway to Africa

A member of the African Union, Morocco is today working closely with organizations across the continent. Investors are referring to Morocco as “the gateway to Africa” as the country is well-positioned to provide companies with access to Africa’s 1.5 billion potential consumers.

The Moroccan economy is also driving growth across the region. Innovations in technology and infrastructure, political stability and the government’s growth strategy have enabled Morocco to become a strong regional economy. With no customs duties placed on Moroccan registered enterprises doing business in neighboring countries, international businesses from Europe, North America and Japan are investing in Morocco.

“Intrinsically connected to Africa and on Europe’s economic doorstep, Morocco is fast-becoming the best regional investment destination,” said Hicham Boudraa, acting CEO of AMDIE.

Six growth drivers

Automotive products are currently Morocco’s No. 1 export.

Phosphates are the country’s second-largest export, with two-thirds of global reserves located in Morocco.

Textiles are becoming a leading export commodity once again as companies in India and China relocate textile and fabric production to Morocco.

The pharmaceutical sector is experiencing growth with many local companies and multinationals expanding their activities in Morocco.

Aerospace is Morocco’s best prospect industry with diverse opportunities including supply inputs, finished aircraft, maintenance and airport infrastructure. The Moroccan government is placing great emphasis on developing the country’s aerospace industry. The industry is seeing annual double-digit growth and more than 120 technology-driven aerospace manufacturing companies have been established.

Agribusiness — While investment is needed, this industry remains important for Morocco.

“It is estimated that by the middle of this century, Africa will provide approximately 60 percent of the world’s food needs,” said AMDIE Acting CEO Hicham Boudraa. “Agricultural development is a priority for Morocco as we have favorable weather, ideal soil conditions, knowledge, technology and land availability. While we currently sell raw produce to Europe and then purchase finished goods, there is huge potential for transformation. If the production of finished goods can be moved to Africa, profits can be directed to businesses across the continent.”

The Japan connection

Japan recognizes Morocco’s potential. While South Africa is home to the highest number of Japanese companies of any African country, Morocco comes a close second. Today the largest private employer in Morocco is a Japanese company.

“A strong value-offering is required to attract Japanese investors as they no longer simply relocate their businesses to reduce operating costs,” said Boudraa. “When considering a new market, Japanese investors need to see the values that country’s society holds dear in order for them to consider managing and operating their business from there.”

“AMDIE showcases the values which Moroccans hold dear to convince our Japanese partners to select Morocco as a place to do business. Today there is a dynamic relationship between Morocco and Japan in many areas and the Japan-Morocco partnership is becoming even stronger.”

Tanger Med Port, the largest port on the Mediterranean and in Africa by capacity.   |  © AMDIE

The agency is working closely with the Japan External Trade Organization, Japan International Cooperation Agency and the Embassy of Japan in Morocco to promote the country’s competitive advantages. Morocco’s minister of industry visits Japan every year to attend high-level meetings and promote important sectors within the Moroccan economy that are ripe for investment.

“We understand that the Japanese analyze every decision they make and that important decisions can take time,” said Boudraa. “Once a decision has been made, Japanese executives stand by their decision and things can then move quickly. Economic stability is a key consideration for Japanese investors; while factors such as logistics and financing are important, stability is a must.”

“Our political system remains stable in what has been described as a turbulent region of the world,” said Boudraa. “The King of Morocco Mohammed VI is responsible for this and despite different governments holding power over the years, he has stayed true to his vision for the future of Morocco.”

Future-ready industrial growth

Local companies and multinationals will play a role in the expansion of the Moroccan economy and AMDIE is committed to ensuring that Japanese investment continues to flow into Morocco.

“In the coming years we will focus on further developing the country’s dynamic industries,” said Boudraa. “For example, we will support the automotive industry which is founded on a firm ecosystem comprising industrial parks such as the ones found in Kenitra and Tangier in the north of the country. The burgeoning aerospace industry will also continue to receive our support in addition to private investment.”

“Japanese investment banks and fund management companies continue to visit Morocco and we are confident that these visits will lead to tangible results,” Boudraa said. “Japanese firms are interested in large energy and infrastructure projects as they have the technical know-how required to bring these projects online. Once a Japanese construction company invests in Morocco, suppliers will follow and relationships can then blossom.”

Regional opportunities

Moving forward, AMDIE plans to provide investors with a better understanding of Morocco by promoting the 12 regions of Morocco individually. The agency will deliver tailored information on each region’s proximity to markets, transport and logistics, manpower availably and associated costs. Continuing to create business momentum It is important investors recognize that Morocco’s success as a nation is based on the country’s stability and the king’s vision.

“Our political stability and our king’s long-term vision have empowered Morocco on its journey to becoming a successful and vibrant economy,” said Boudraa.

“We are looking for foreign direct investment partners and real growth-drivers who can contribute to the future of our great country by initiating projects to create business momentum across Morocco.”

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