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Business News of Note in Morocco – Offshoring Projects Growth Prospects, OCP Broadens African Ventures, and IFC to Fund Medical School – Jean R. AbiNader

Jean R. AbiNader
May 22, 2019

Although automobile manufacturing in Morocco is often cited as the model for economic diversification and job creation through public-private partnerships in the Maghreb, the first sector for technology innovation was offshoring. Even before Morocco negotiated its FTA with the US, European companies had moved or started their large call centers to the country to take advantage of the linguistic talents of Moroccans and a wage structure that was business friendly.

This was borne out recently in a report from The Federation of Information Technologies, Telecommunications, and Offshoring that the industry was planning to invest some $150 million in the sector by 2020. This is in line with goals set in the 2014-2020 Industrial Acceleration Plan, which seeks to boost investments, expand industries, and generate well-paying jobs. The overall goal is to reach total revenues of $1.8 billion dollars by 2020, and the sector is more than halfway there. And, as an article in La Tribune Afrique noted, “The contribution of offshoring goes beyond finance and also covers the employment sector,” as “Offshoring is one of the first sectors that contribute to job creation. It has an extremely important socio-economic impact in terms of contribution to value added,” according to Abderrafie Hanouf, General Manager of MEDZ Sourcing.

Between 2014-2018, close to 70,000 jobs were created, making it the third largest employer in Morocco after the auto and textile sectors. Investments under the plan have already reached $100 million and it will require an expansion in training and recruiting in order to meet its 2020 national goals. Areas included (?) in the sector are: CRM (Customer Relationship Management), BPO (Outsourcing of Business Processes), ITO (Outsourcing of Information Technology Trades), ESO (Outsourcing of Engineering and R & D Activities), and KPO (Outsourcing Industry Data Analysis).

A recent announcement from the Office Cherifien des Phosphates (OCP Group), the largest company in Morocco, outlined a multi-year partnership agreement with the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC), and the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P) “to collaborate on the engineering of new fertilizer technologies, improvement of crop and soil specific fertilizer recommendations, development of value chains and market systems, and research and implementation of fertilizer systems to benefit African farmers.”

As a key player in the Kingdom’s economic diplomacy in Africa, OCP has been a consistent leader in innovative agreements with African countries in agribusiness and applications of fertilizer production for the specific and diverse requirements in Africa. A report in TheNorth Africa Post pointed out that “With almost a century of experience and revenues reaching US$ 5.95 billion in 2018, OCP Group is a leader in the phosphate rock and the world’s first producer of phosphate-based fertilizers. It provides a wide range of well-adapted fertilizer products to enhance soil, increase agricultural yields, and help feeding the planet in a sustainable and affordable way.”

According to Mostafa Terrab, OCP Chairman and CEO, “This important partnership with IFDC confirms and advances our ambition to mobilize world-class resources in research and innovation for the benefit of Africa in general and African smallholder farmers in particular.” It is committed to developing the next generation of researchers and scientists to develop and adapt fertilizer technology to the many challenges facing farmers in Africa and elsewhere. As the article noted, “This new partnership will make use of the unique abilities of the consortium members to combine research and education with implementation under real life conditions. The collaboration will develop science-based interventions, produce a large body of scientific publications, and create the next generation of trans-disciplinary trained scientists who can bridge the gap between science and implementation.”

Another bit of good news for growing professional employment is that theInternational Finance Corporation (IFC) is providing a loan to help develop the medical profession in Morocco, which is greatly underserved as demonstrated by the labor strife in that sector in the past two years. It signed a $15.6 million loan with KMR Holding Pédagogique (KMR), a leading pan-African higher education provider, to expand medical training in Morocco and Senegal, and increase the number of health professionals in the two countries.

In Morocco, KMR will use the financing to set up Morocco’s first private medical school at l’Université Privée de Marrakech (UPM), one of the country’s leading private universities. “The project is part of IFC’s strategy in Morocco to help strengthen human capital development, bring private sector innovation into tertiary education, and support regional integration,” reportsThe North Africa Post.

“IFC supports higher education providers to help provide the job market with highly skilled youth,” said Xavier Reille, IFC Maghreb Country Manager. “Tertiary education is a strategic priority for IFC in Morocco, where we want to support Moroccan education champions to bring new and innovative private sector solutions to improve access to education and employability.”

With a comprehensive commitment to increasing investments in sectors with well-paying jobs ranging from new and expanded vocational and technical training to enhancing post-university employment, Morocco is making a serious effort to build a stronger and more sustainable labor economic model.

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