As Adil Rais, president of CEMAES and CGEM Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima, explained to Atalayar on the occasion of the event "Doing Business in Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima Region"

25% of Spanish companies established in Morocco are Catalan

PHOTO/ATALAYAR/GUILLERMO LÓPEZ - Adil Rais, durante su participación en el “Doing Business in Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima Region”
PHOTO/ATALAYAR/GUILLERMO LÓPEZ - Adil Rais, during his participation in the "Doing Business in Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima Region"

The Morocco-Spain Economic Council (CEMAES) is a business council created at the initiative of the Confédération Générale des Entreprises du Maroc (CGEM) and the Spanish Confederation of Business Organisations (CEOE), promoted after the visit of King Juan Carlos I to Mohammed VI in July 2013. CEMAES brings together businessmen and economic organisations from Morocco and Spain who wish to develop a common economic area. For this reason, its presence and participation in this business event to promote investment in the Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima region is essential. 

Taking advantage of his participation in the event "Doing Business in Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima Ragion", Atalayar spoke with Adil Rais, president of this organisation and of the CGEM, about the prospects for investment by Catalan and Spanish companies in this region of Morocco. 

What is the relevance of holding this "Doing Business" event here in Barcelona to raise awareness of the investment and business opportunities in a region such as Tangiers-Tetouan-Al Hoceima? 

The first thing we have to say is that, for us, Catalonia is very important. Within Spain, Catalonia plays a very important role. As I said in my speech at this forum, 25% of the Spanish companies that are established in Morocco are Catalan, and many of them are based in Tangiers. For this reason, we attach great importance to Catalonia, since we know that there are possibilities for joint investment that is Moroccan in Catalonia and also Catalan in Morocco and, specifically, in Tangiers.  

I believe that Catalan companies that are able to invest in Morocco will increase their competitiveness and open up new markets on the African continent and in the Arab countries. We are here to try to explain, to give the necessary information to Catalan companies that intend to invest in Tangiers. We are here in terms of business, but also in terms of friendship and history. Tangier has Tanger Med, which is a very important port in the Mediterranean, like Barcelona. Both ports play a key role in the economy of the two countries. There are many similarities between Spain and Morocco, there is really a mutual possibility to work and to build a better future together.

The fact that CMAES, CGEM, CEOE, PIMEC, Foment del Treball... are working together is paying off. Trade relations between Spain and Morocco are increasingly important, more than 22,000 million euros and rising. Can they be increased, can they be improved, should we go further? 

The latest figures for 2023 indicate that the figure will exceed 25 billion euros. In any case, the trade flow may be temporary, but what we want is for Spain, with Catalonia, and Morocco to have a deeper relationship. And this depth can be achieved by trying to have more common interests, by investing more in Morocco, by hiring Moroccan labour so that they do not need to go to Spain to look for work, by trying to make Catalan companies more competitive, by opening up the African market to them.  

All of this is very important, but what we really want is for Spain and Catalonia to invest in Morocco. We have not yet reached the level we would like: we have a tremendous margin for improvement and we want to take advantage of this margin to improve investment.

PHOTO/ATALAYAR/GUILLERMO LÓPEZ - Adil Rais, durante su participación en el “Doing Business in Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima Region”
PHOTO/ATALAYAR/GUILLERMO LÓPEZ - Adil Rais, during his participation in the "Doing Business in Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima Region"

With the new Investment Charter approved by the Moroccan government, there are all the guarantees, all the possibilities and a very open door that benefits these investments. 

The Moroccan state is modernising quite a lot: the new Investment Charter brings new things, among them it establishes subsidies up to 30% and it is important for companies to have the advantage of knowing what subsidy contribution there may be in a project. The Tangiers-Tetouan-Al Hoceima region also has export processing zones, with minimal administration, less paperwork, more facilities, and this attracts more interest from Catalan investors. I believe that if there is a region in Africa where Catalan businessmen can invest, it is Tangiers.

Moreover, you can do business and have an excellent quality of life: schools, restaurants, golf courses? 

There is an almost common culture: although it is not the Catalan language, but almost everyone speaks Spanish in Tangiers. There is a common history between Tangier and Spain in general, and there is an important proximity to Catalonia, with many Catalans living in Tangier and living well, with schools, golf, forests, sea, proximity to Spain... everything. 

And excellent gastronomy. 

Moroccan cuisine is very good, as is Spanish cuisine. That's another issue that brings the two countries closer together.