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Morocco Continues to Attract Investments in Manufacturing – Jean R. AbiNader

* Expands potential for supply chain job-creation *

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Jean R. AbiNader, Exec. Dir., Moroccan American Trade and Investment Center

Jean R. AbiNader, Exec. Dir., Moroccan American Trade and Investment Center

Jean R. AbiNader, MATIC 
July 17, 2014

Morocco continues to strengthen its position as a leading platform for business development in Africa with the announcement of two new manufacturing investments. Although one usually doesn’t connect Morocco with the Farnborough Air Show, that’s where the announcements were made by Moroccan Minister of Industry, Trade, Investment, and the Digital Economy, Moulay Hafid Elalamy. And the investments are significant not only for the direct jobs that will be created but also for the hundreds more that will be generated by those companies supplying the facilities – ranging from commissary and cleaning services to housing and transportation for employees.

Aerolia, an Airbus Group subsidiary, will set up an assembly unit for large subassemblies and complex aero-structures as part of its global operations serving Airbus and other manufacturers. A significant factor in its decision is the growing opportunities in the aeronautics market in Morocco, which now includes Boeing, Embraer, Dassault Aviation, United Technologies, and Bombardier, with most operations in the industrial zones around Casablanca. The investment is valued at some $54 million and, in its first phase, will create 500 direct and 500 indirect jobs. As business expands, the company expects to increase its labor force and capacity.

Alcoa, which has a global presence in lightweight metal technology R&D, design, and manufacturing, will be expanding its existing presence in Morocco through an investment of more than $6 million in its Alcoa Fastening Systems Division, which will be expanding its business lines and attracting new customers for its precision fasteners, titanium fittings, and other products. Funds will be invested over two years, resulting in 250 direct jobs.

Recipe for Success

These investments follow on the heels of the recently announced $12 million facility being constructed by Eaton for its new production facility in Casablanca, which will employ about 300 Moroccans to manufacture circuit breakers and other telecoms components. How has Morocco been able to continue to attract aerospace, automotive, and electronics companies? By following the dictum, make it worth their while. Morocco has many incentives, including tax breaks and subsidies, which ease the start-up and maintenance costs of operations. As importantly, for companies that require highly-skilled workers, Morocco has set up the Moroccan Aerospace Institute (IMA) where employers, government, and other stakeholders design and develop skills -training programs to ensure a steady stream of qualified employees.

Morocco directly benefits from the presence of global companies, which, in turn, attracts other quality corporations. Additionally, there are many opportunities for job creation for Moroccan companies serving as the supply chains for these companies. Just as call centers in Morocco spun off home grown IT programming and IT design companies, large manufacturers increasingly need to source locally to contain costs. By engaging these international companies as potential customers, Moroccan entrepreneurs can create new lines of business and jobs locally. Increasingly, the government of Morocco understands that all stakeholders have to be part of planning if Moroccan companies are to take a greater role in the future growth of the country.  By streamlining the regulatory environment, building stronger sources of domestic private investment, and reducing burdens on small and medium sized companies, Morocco will drive the success of the manufacturing sector from supply to output.

Jean R. AbiNader is Executive Director of the Moroccan American Trade and Investment Center.

 

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