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Morocco Week in Review 
May 14, 2022

Virtual Magazine of Morocco on the Web

Morocco Aims to Become Most Competitive Decarbonized Industrial Platform in The World (Minister)

May 13, 2022 Marrakech

Morocco aims in the coming years to become the most competitive industrial platform in the world in terms of green energy, said Thursday in Marrakech, Minister of Industry and Trade, Ryad Mezzour. This ambition is achievable thanks to the potential of the Kingdom to produce clean energy, one of the three largest in the world, said Mezzour at a panel held as part of the Business Forum of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), under the theme "Business climate in Morocco under the new sign +Morocco Now+". Morocco, he added, is already a decarbonized industrial reference base in the region, highlighting the profound changes that the country has experienced in the field for an inclusive and sustainable growth. In this regard, the Minister highlighted the achievements that have been undertaken by the Kingdom to place clean energy at the heart of the competitiveness of the industrial economy and national economy, welcoming in this sense the efforts made in training, support and public-private partnership to back investment in the sector.

For his part, director general of the Moroccan Agency for Development of Investment and Exports (AMDIE), Youssef El Bari, recalled that the brand "Morocco now", which was launched last October as part of the Universal Exhibition of 2020 (Expo Dubai), aims to have a tool to communicate on the strengths that Morocco has as a platform for investment and export. El Bari also addressed the current challenges facing the world in the post-Covid international context, characterized by a reconfiguration of value chains and a climate emergency, stressing in this regard the need to encourage domestic production and reduce regional dependence, while involving a rather decarbonized production.

Minister of Economy Holds Talks with EBRD President

May 9, 2022 Rabat

The development of financial and technical cooperation between Morocco and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) were at the heart of a meeting held Monday between the minister of Economy and Finance, Nadia Fettah, and the EBRD President, Odile Renaud-Basso. During this meeting, the two sides welcomed the quality of the relations between Morocco and the EBRD, and discussed issues of common interest, including the prospects for the development of financial and technical cooperation, as well as institutional relations between the two partners, says a press release by the Department of the Treasury and External Finance (DTFE), under the ministry of Economy and Finance.

This meeting takes place on the occasion of the convening of the 31st Annual Meeting and Business Forum of the EBRD, held under the High Patronage of His Majesty the King, from 10 to 12 May 2022 in Marrakech, under the theme “Responding to Challenges in a Turbulent World”. On this occasion, Mrs. Fettah and Mrs. Renaud-Basso, who was accompanied by Sarah Fountain Smith, Director representing the Kingdom of Morocco at the EBRD, were delighted with the organization of this event which is being held for the first time in Africa, recalling the importance of these annual meetings, which represent an opportunity to discuss the Bank's strategic orientations and to bring together the international business community. Morocco, a founding member of the EBRD, became a country of operations of the Bank in 2012, recalls the same source, noting that the EBRD has already invested more than 3 billion euros in the Kingdom through nearly 80 projects.

Food Security in Africa, Priority for Morocco under Joint African Action - Ambassador Tells AU PSC

May 9, 2022 Addis Ababa

Food security in Africa is a priority for Morocco within the framework of the joint African action, said Monday in Addis Ababa, the ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Kingdom to the AU and the UNECA, Mohamed Arrouchi. The Moroccan diplomat, who was speaking at a meeting of the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) devoted to food security in Africa, stressed that the Kingdom is a committed actor in the task of consolidating regional security and stability and is determined to strengthen its contribution to the defense of the vital interests of the continent.

Food security is becoming an urgent issue due to the combined effect of population growth, the scarcity of natural resources and concerns about food quality, as well as climate change, Arrouchi noted, stressing the urgent need for economic and social development, and sustainable production systems. The sustainability of food systems and good nutrition are key areas of Morocco's policy and commitments to South-South and triangular cooperation at the continental and international levels, he said. Besides its place in bilateral cooperation, it is at the center of pioneering initiatives launched by His Majesty King Mohammed VI during the Africa Summit for Action held on the sidelines of COP22 in Marrakech in 2016, the diplomat recalled.

In line with its commitments, the Kingdom has placed food security, nutrition and sustainable development at the heart of its new development model for 2035, he added. Morocco's efforts to combat food insecurity and eradicate hunger have been crowned by the adoption of a number of strategies, including the National Sustainable Development Strategy 2030, the National Water Strategy, the National Energy Strategy 2030, the National Disaster Risk Management Strategy 2020-2030, the National Climate Plan 2030, and the National Strategic Plan for Adaptation to Climate Change, Arrouchi argued.

The Moroccan delegation stressed the need for joint action in favor of a resilient Africa and master of its destiny, through subregional and regional approaches.
In that regard, it reiterated the responsibility of host countries of refugee camps who are called upon to collaborate with the relevant international bodies and agencies to urgently carry out the census and documentation of the refugees in order to protect their fundamental rights and to avoid the misappropriation of humanitarian aid, while securing appropriate access to food, humanitarian aid and assistance. The delegation also stressed the requirement to address the effects of climate change, adopt the necessary policies to catalyze Africa's economic and structural transformation and accelerate initiatives to build the continent's resilience to the effects of climate change.

Morocco Partakes in 4th Meeting of Arab Coordination Mechanism for Disaster Risk Reduction

May 9, 2022 Cairo

The works of the 4th meeting of the Arab Coordination Mechanism for Disaster Risk Reduction started on Monday in Cairo with the participation of Morocco. The Kingdom is represented at this meeting by a delegation led by Morocco's Ambassador to Egypt and Permanent Representative of the Kingdom to the Arab League, Ahmed Tazi.

For three days, the meeting will focus on several topics including the follow-up of the implementation of the Statute of the Arab Coordination Mechanism for Disaster Risk Reduction, the report on the follow-up of the implementation of the Arab Strategy for Disaster Reduction and its program of action, as well as the project for the implementation of an Arab network for environmental radiological monitoring and early warning. In his opening address, the chairman of the meeting, Lotfi Talbi, called for coordinating efforts and strengthening the capacities of Arab countries to adopt effective approaches and strategic plans aimed at reducing the disastrous consequences of natural disasters and the impact of climate change and similar phenomena.

For her part, Deputy Director of the Department of Habitat, Water Resources and Disaster Reduction of the Arab League, Shahira Wahbi said that this meeting is part of the preparation for the first inter-ministerial meeting on disaster risk reduction scheduled for next Thursday. The upcoming meeting will address issues that relate to the follow-up of natural disasters and the provisions of the Arab Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction as well as the preparation for the seventh Global Forum on Disaster Risk Reduction and the establishment of Arab and regional contingency plans, she added.

The Moroccan delegation includes officials from the Ministry of Interior, the Directorate General of Civil Protection, the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, the Ministry of National Territory Planning, Land Planning, Housing and City Policy, and the Ministry of Economy and Finance in charge of the budget.

Morocco Pledges to Strengthen E-learning, E-gaming Industry

Minister Bensaid appears set to further invest in Moroccan youth to tackle rising unemployment especially among those without a diploma.

Oumaima Latrech May 12, 2022 Rabat

Morocco’s Minister of Youth, Culture, and Communication Mehdi Bensaid has highlighted the importance of training young people who do not have an academic degree to ensure their social and economic integration. Speaking at a ministerial meeting in Rwanda on Thursday about “E-learning Africa,” Bensaid said that such a step would facilitate the integration of people without a degree into the labor market in accordance with their qualifications. Bensaid also pointed out the necessity to adopt a unified African vision to provide solutions and help African youth overcome the persisting challenges related to employment. 

The meeting seeks to promote the use of digital tools in the continent and encourages the exchange of experiences among African Union countries in the fields of technology and innovation. On the sidelines of the meeting, Bensaid held talks with Rebecca Stromeyer, founder and CEO of Elearning Africa, the Pan-African Network and Conference on Technology for Education, Training and Skills.  The pair discussed ways to improve digital services in institutions dedicated for young people in Morocco, particularly the gaming industry.

In recent months, Morocco has shown considerable interest in the e-gaming industry, with plans to invest in the technology-driven sector alongside youth centers, theaters, and cinemas. Bensaid has previously highlighted the importance of encouraging Moroccan youth to develop technological skills and gain expertise in the field, as it is becoming an essential tool in the international job market. With many Moroccan game developers preferring opportunities in foreign countries, Bensaid insisted on “creating opportunities for youth to invest in their skills and develop themselves in their home country.”

During his working visit to the Rwandan capital Kigali, Bensaid is expected to hold bilateral talks with his Rwandan counterpart Rosemary Mbabazi, as part of ongoing cooperation between the two countries.

Morocco, MENA Region Expect Further Growth in Phosphate Exports

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has significantly impacted the global market for phosphates.

Callum Sutherland May 12, 2022 Rabat

Days after Brazil discussed plans to obtain fertilizer from Morocco, Peru’s Minister of Agrarian Development and Irrigation, Oscar Zea, also announced on May 6 a new deal for phosphates, including exports from the North African country.  Business with Brazil would provide Morocco with significant profit, as the South American country imports 75% of the phosphate that it consumes. Morocco’s Foreign Exchange Office also recently announced that Moroccan profits from phosphate had doubled between March 2021 and March 2022. This trend is expected to remain according to the Office Cherifien des Phosphates (OCP), who forecast strong and consistent demand throughout 2022.  The OCP Group had even seen a significant rise in profits for 2021, as it reported an increase of 272% in profits compared to 2020.  Other countries in the MENA region have experienced similar increases in phosphate sales. Saudi Arabia announced a 246% increase in the first quarter of 2022, as Jordan’s sales even saw more than a 1000% rise during the same period. 

Rising profits can largely be explained by the increased prices and disrupted supply chains as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. However, the volume of sales is also seeing upward trends. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has significantly impacted this trend.  Since the beginning of the conflict in February, numerous countries have imposed economic sanctions on Russia. This has disrupted Russian exports whilst increasing the price even further. As a result, buyers have been turning to other countries for phosphate fertilizer.  As the world’s fourth-largest producer of phosphate, Morocco has seen an increase in demand. In March, the OCP Group announced that it aimed to increase production output by 10% in 2022. There is clear room for potential here as well, as the Kingdom is home to 72% of global phosphate reserves.

Plastics Manufacturer Erum Expands its Tangier Factory

The factory specializes in the manufacturing of plastic products for the clothing sector.

Oussama Aamari May 12, 2022 Rabat

Plastics manufacturing giant Erum has completed an expansion of its Tangier factory, inaugurating the new facility on Wednesday May 11. The facility specializes in making plastic products for the clothing sector, such as plastic hangers. The new expansion, which has cost more than MAD 235 million ($23 million), is set to nearly double the factory’s production capacity from 111 million units a year to 202 million units in 2023. The expansion is an effort by Erum to “meet the needs of its customers and the Moroccan textile and clothing sectors,” and is poised to create a total of 700 new direct jobs.

The inauguration ceremony was attended by Morocco’s Minister of Industry and Trade Ryad Mezzour, as well as the Chairman and CEO of Erum Group Blanca Erum, and the group’s Director in Morocco Carlos Mulero. The new factory is equipped with “high precision equipment,” Mezzour said during the inauguration, which cements Erum’s move towards “Industry 4.0.” Industry 4.0, also referred to as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, refers to the use of smart automation, interconnected devices, and data collection to enhance the manufacturing process in factories.

Minister: Professional Equality Is a Must For Women’s Economic Inclusion

The minister pledged to implement more initiatives aimed at helping companies promote a balanced representation of women and men while increasing youth employment.

Oumaima Latrech May 13, 2022 Rabat

Morocco’s minister of Economic Inclusion, Small Business, Employment and Skills Younes Sekkouri has stressed the need to ensure professional equality and the inclusion of women to boost economic development. Speaking at the 2022 Professional Equality Trophy in Rabat on Thursday, Sekkouri highlighted that working towards equality in the workplace and pay equity would strengthen women’s economic empowerment.

Launched in 2016, the annual event is an initiative that supports private sector companies’ efforts to achieve gender equality in the workplace. The minister unveiled the government’s plan to provide companies with educational material on gender equality within the professional world, such as guides, fact sheets, and performance-oriented arguments. He also spoke about the positioning of professional equality as a field of social dialogue while encouraging companies to hire more women while promoting inclusive and equitable practices.

The Director General of the Millennium Challenge Account-Morocco Agency (MCA-Morocco), Malika Laasri, said that the selection criteria for the choice of distinguished companies are part of international standards of gender equality. Laasri highlighted the ministry’s commitments to attract foreign investors to ensure employment especially for women and young people. Yesterday’s ceremony featured awards for CDG Capital, Renault, and BMCI as a recognition of their efforts to promote equality in the workplace. The 6th edition of the event was held with the support of the MCA-Morocco Agency as part of the implementation of the “Compact II” cooperation program, funded by the US and represented by the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).

Created in 2016, the MCA-Morocco is in charge of implementing the program covered by Compact II, signed on November 30, 2015 between Morocco and the US. The MCC allocated a budget of $450 million for the Compact II, which seeks to improve the quality of human capital and land productivity. Morocco’s contribution to the cooperation program represents nearly 15% of the US contribution.  The Compact II is set to finance two projects, namely “Education and Training for Employability” and “Land Productivity” over a period of five years, with an aim to contribute to Morocco’s economic growth and foreign investment.

Morocco’s ‘1337’ School Ranks 1st in Africa in Coding Challenge

1337 is the first open and free coding school in Morocco.

Souad Anouar May 5, 2022 Rabat

Moroccan coding school 1337 ranked first in Africa in the CodinGame Spring Challenge for 2022 which took place from April 21 to May 2.  “Our School has been placed 5th worldwide and 1st in Africa in CodinGame Spring Challenge 2022! Congratulation to our students for doing a wonderful job at this highly competitive event!” 1337 tweeted on Tuesday.  The University of Wroclaw in Poland came first in the challenge -- ahead of 42-Paris, the University of Tokyo, and 42-Nice. 
More than 18,000 gamers participated in the challenge. Moroccan participant “Twelve0” from school 1337 ranked first in Africa and 51st in the event ahead of his colleagues “5H4dy”,“Hellio”, and “ael-bekk” who completed the challenge in the 64th, 94th, 100th positions in the global ranking.

Morocco Has Great Potential to Promote Local Manufacturing of Lithium Batteries - Scientist

May 9, 2022 Casablanca

Morocco has great potential to promote the local manufacture of lithium batteries, said Moroccan scientist and inventor of the graphite anode for lithium-ion batteries, Rachid Yazami. In an interview with M24, MAP's 24h rolling news channel, Yazami expressed his wish to launch structuring projects in Morocco with the contribution of foreign and Moroccan stakeholders similar to the Masen project which focuses on integrated development of renewable energy facilities.
In the same vein, the scientist highlighted the importance of renewable and clean energy in the development of industries, economies, and ecosystems, stressing the major role of scientific research in boosting inventions. Scientific research is the key to any society's path toward the future, Yazami said, highlighting the role of institutions and universities in encouraging and supporting young people in this direction.

Morocco, Saudi Arabia Ink MoU on Renewable Energies, Cooperation Agreement on Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy

May 9, 2022 Riyadh

Morocco and Saudi Arabia signed, on Monday in Riyadh, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on renewable energies and a Cooperation Framework Agreement (CFA) on the peaceful uses of atomic energy. The two agreements were signed by the Minister of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development, Laila Benali, and Saudi Minister of Energy, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, at a ceremony attended by Morocco's Ambassador to Riyadh, Mustapha Mansouri, and several officials of the Saudi Ministry of Energy.

Cooperation between the two countries in the field of peaceful uses of atomic energy and renewable energies aims to meet their needs in terms of developing new energy resources, confirms shared concerns about the importance of security of energy supplies for both parties, and also supports joint efforts to develop civil and peaceful uses of atomic energy in a way that ensures the safety and environmental protection.

The MoU on renewable energy aims to develop cooperation and exchange of information and experiences in policies, legislative regulations, preliminary studies, and project proposal mechanisms related to the sector. It also consolidates efforts to localize value chains and encourages the review and discussion of investment and financing opportunities in both countries to support efforts to localize renewable energy-related industries and develop their projects. The agreement endorses R&D cooperation and human skills development. It also promotes the review of opportunities to raise the level of renewable energy technologies and their applications between the two sister countries. In turn, the CFA on peaceful uses of atomic energy provides for cooperation in several areas, including basic and applied research in the field of peaceful uses of the atom, and topics related to nuclear reactors.

Morocco, Switzerland Discuss Means to Strengthen Economic Cooperation

May 9, 2022 Rabat

The means to promote economic relations between Morocco and Switzerland were at the center of talks, Monday in Rabat, between the minister Delegate in charge of Investment, Convergence and Evaluation of Public Policies, Mohcine Jazouli, and the Swiss State Secretary and Director of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen Fleisch. During this meeting, which was attended by the Swiss ambassador to Morocco, Guillaume Scheurer, the two sides discussed the possibilities to give new impetus to joint investments in various sectors and expressed the wish to strengthen their ties through the organization of regular meetings and dialogue between the business communities of the two countries.

Speaking on this occasion, Mr. Jazouli highlighted the richness of the partnership that binds the two countries and underlined Morocco's resolve to further promote and strengthen bilateral economic relations in accordance with the High Royal Guidelines to make investment a driving force of growth and development.
"This meeting was also an opportunity to present to the Swiss official the various investment opportunities offered by Morocco, particularly in the pharmaceutical, chemical, agri-food, electronics and financial sectors as well as the assets of the Kingdom as an attractive land for investment", he told M24, MAP's continuous news TV channel, on the sidelines of this meeting, noting that Morocco and Switzerland have economic potential and complementary assets that can help consolidate bilateral economic and trade relations.

For her part, Mrs. Ineichen Fleisch deemed the economic relations between Morocco and Switzerland as "excellent", expressing the wish to see more Swiss companies settling in Morocco and the same for Moroccan companies. "During this interesting and pleasant meeting, the focus was on the possibilities of having closer cooperation between the two countries," said the Swiss official in a similar statement. In addition, the two sides discussed the prospects for cooperation in terms of convergence and evaluation of public policies.

Morocco Among Best Positioned Countries in Green Hydrogen Revolution (EBRD President)

May 12, 2022 Marrakech

Morocco is one of the best positioned countries in the green hydrogen revolution, thanks to its abundant solar and wind resources, said Thursday in Marrakech the President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Odile Renaud-Basso. "Morocco is today one of the best-positioned countries in the green hydrogen revolution, a technology for which it could offer some of the lowest production costs in the world," underlined Renaud-Basso at the opening of a session of the EBRD Business Forum, dedicated to investment prospects in Morocco.

"Morocco approaches the green transition in a particularly relevant way from our point of view as a means of responding to environmental challenges, reducing costs and ensuring energy security". In addition, the EBRD President noted that Morocco's green energy potential also gives it a strategic advantage in regional integration, adding that this "is all the more true at a time when geopolitics is pushing Europe to speed up its energy transition". The Kingdom has been at the forefront with large-scale solar and wind capacity, she pointed out, adding that its ambitions to reach more than half of its energy mix in renewables by the end of the decade are impressive.

Recalling the importance of the climate component which has become the EBRD's main strategic compass, Ms. Renaud-Basso said that "the Kingdom is one of our countries of operations which has the most ambitious objectives in the fight against climate change". Placed under the High Patronage of HM King Mohammed VI, the 31st Annual Meeting of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which will run through May 12 in Marrakech, brings together representatives of the 73 countries and institutional shareholders of the Bank, including Morocco. The event is held under the theme “Responding to Challenges in a Turbulent World”.

Energy Security: Morocco Can Offer Real Opportunities at Regional Level (Minister)

May 12, 2022 Marrakech

Morocco, with its undeniable achievements in the field of renewable energy and its proximity to Europe, can offer real opportunities to strengthen energy security at the regional level, said Thursday in Marrakech, Minister of Economy and Finance, Nadia Fettah. Speaking at the opening of a session of the Business Forum of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), under the theme "Morocco Now: What prospects for energy transition?", Fettah explained that "the Ukrainian crisis, and the tensions it has generated on the global energy market, confirms, now more than ever, that our future depends on renewable energy and the urgency of accelerating the energy transition".

These are, in fact, the best alternative to cope, quickly, with the pressures on the supply of gas and oil and limit our exposure to rising prices of these resources, said Fettah. "Morocco, fortunately, and thanks to the farsighted vision of His Majesty the King, has launched for years already, an ambitious strategy of energy transition aimed at diversifying its energy mix, strengthening energy efficiency and taking advantage of the potential of regional integration in the field of clean energy," she recalled. She added that this proactive strategy, while pursuing the achievement of concrete gains in productivity and efficiency, allows our country, today, to "serenely pursue its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and consolidate its resilience in terms of energy production, without mortgaging its ability to achieve its economic and social development projects”.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development's Business Forum, held in conjunction with its 31st General Assembly, stands out as an ideal platform to explore investment opportunities and forge lasting business ties. Placed under the High Patronage of HM King Mohammed VI, the EBRD's 31st General Assembly, which runs until May 12 in Marrakech, brings together representatives of the Bank's 73 countries and institutional shareholders, including Morocco.
The first in-person gathering of the EBRD since Sarajevo in 2019, this event, held under the theme "Meeting Challenges in a Turbulent World", is an opportunity to discuss global challenges such as supporting economic growth, combating climate change and strengthening the business environment in the regions where the Bank invests.

Marrakech: CNDP Signs Partnership with its Mexican Counterpart

May 13, 2022 Marrakech

The National Commission for the Control of Personal Data Protection (CNDP) and the Mexican Institute for Transparency, Access to Information and Protection of Personal Data (INAI) signed, Thursday in Marrakech, a partnership agreement named "DATA-TIKA-CONFIANZA". Signed by president of the CNDP, Omar Seghrouchni, and the Commissioners Josefina Roman Vergara and Francisco Javier Acuña Llamas of INAI, this agreement aims to continue to deploy the program "Data-Tika" at the international level.

This partnership will allow both parties to exchange experiences and deploy joint actions at national, regional and international levels. It should be noted that INAI chairs, since the General Assembly of October 2021, the GPA (Global Privacy Assembly) which is the global association that brings together supervisory authorities of personal data protection at the international level. The CNDP was elected at the same general assembly as a member of the eight-member executive committee.

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