Faced with the challenges of today's world, the CRIs and Chambers of Commerce must present a customised offer at regional level, relying on digitisation and simplification of procedures for a greater regional attractiveness of investments inspired by the specificities of each territory

Medays2023: the territories and the development of investments in Morocco in the face of global challenges

Medays 2023 Marruecos
Medays 2023 Marruecos

On the occasion of the 15th edition of the Medays International Forum, organised from 15 to 18 November 2023 in Tangier, the Regional Investment Centre (CRI) and the Moroccan employers' association CGEM of the Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima Region, the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Services and the CRI of the Fez-Meknes Region took part in the symposium "Territories and investment development in the face of global challenges", in order to clarify their vision, each from their own position.

In a changing world marked by a succession of crises, Jalal Benhayoun, Director General of the CRI of the TTA region, emphasised the importance of synergy and complementarity not only between Fez-Meknes and Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima, but also between the different Regional Investment Centres and the Chambers of Commerce of the various regions of Morocco, which requires a decentralisation of the act of investing as a fragmented and transversal operation, he explained.

Starting from the concept that the CRIs represent a body that ensures the coordination of collective action, in harmony with the different economic actors and the combination of efforts and resources so that investors can improve their experience and succeed in the country, the CEO of the TTA CRI remarked that the role of the Centre is basically to respond to the investor's requirements and facilitate their integration into the regional market.

In its daily work, according to Jalal Benhayoun, the Centre aims to provide investors with the right information at the right time and in the right way, sometimes without asking for it, as well as to clarify leads and investment opportunities in the region.

Adapting to the virtual reality in the face of the challenge of new technologies, the CRI of TTA created a platform Manar Al Moustatmir, which is an updated window through which the investor can insert all the data of his project and make an estimate of the premiums that he can get, also a simulation of projects to know if they are viable or not in the region. 

Medays 2023 Marruecos
Medays International Forum

Another tool is the Project Bank, which facilitates all the financing mechanisms, according to the sector of activity, the territory where the investment is to be made and the size of the project, added the CRI director general.

Benhayoun explained how the TTA region has distinguished itself by anticipating and collectively building a comprehensive territorial offer that ensures all the necessary infrastructure to attract foreign investment. Thus, since 2020, the CRI has authorised more than 1,500 projects, investing more than €15 billion and creating 400,000 stable direct jobs. Thanks to the maturity of the ecosystems and since the entry into force of the New Investment Charter, 40 investment agreements have been concluded at regional level, and 9,000 jobs have been generated, he said.

Today, the TTA Region has 25 economic zones capitalising on infrastructure development programmes and human resources training; so that the investor finds everything he needs in terms of availability of land supply, labour and infrastructure that meets his requirements, the regional director of the Investment Centre in Tangier stressed.

Benhayoun shed light on Tangier as a locomotive city at the level of the automotive, textile, aeronautical sector; stressing that the TTA region is currently an economic hub that benefits the other regions of Morocco and that it is currently in competition not only with the regions of the Kingdom, but has become competitive with countries such as Portugal, Spain and Turkey. The challenge now is to continue to meet the imperative needs of investors and prepare the ground and human capital for the new professions imposed by Industry 4.0, he concluded.

For his part, the president of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Services of Fez-Meknes, Hamza Ben Abdellah, explained that the attractiveness of investment has become a challenge for all territories in Morocco to grow year after year in the context of multidimensional crises experienced by the whole world.

Ben Abdellah stressed that the Chamber of Commerce acts as an advocate for the interests of economic actors, traders, industrialists and investors in the region to improve the regional business climate. In order to meet the demand for employment of graduates from the public and private sectors who are looking for quality jobs, the Fès-Meknes region has, on the one hand, a university cluster that guarantees quality training and, on the other hand, has launched the first 4.0 zone that benefits both investors and regional skills in terms of the integration of skilled human resources. 

Medays 2023 Marruecos
Medays International Forum

In his definition of territoriality, the president of the Chamber of Commerce goes beyond geographical boundaries, insisting that they are complementary regions that compete to attract more investments and better accompany investors on their land; taking into account that the economic fabric differs from one region to another.

The president also pointed out the importance of creating partnerships in a framework of cooperation and coordination between the country's territories in order to generate added value together and ensure that each investment finds the right conditions to prosper, taking advantage of the specificities of each region.  

In this respect, adapting to the requirements of foreign markets represented by customers has become, according to Ben Abdellah, an obligation in order to face international competition and to attract investors, who often quickly become real economic partners. The reform of the administration and the simplification of formalities remain a real obstacle to be overcome, as complicating paperwork impedes the act of investing and the act of operating. Proof of this is the fact that 50 exploitation projects are currently blocked in the Fez-Meknes region for this reason, added the president of the Chamber of Commerce.

The regional president of the CGEM employers' association, Adel Rais, underlined that territoriality is fundamental today, although it has arrived late in Morocco compared to the United States and Spain due to the centralised French model. It is, he said, a global revolution that requires a study and planning to manage each region in a special way.

The private sector must support regionalisation without being afraid of competitiveness between regions, as it is a key tool that allows countries to grow and adapt very quickly through a balanced development and a dynamic and flexible system so that each region can emancipate itself and market its potential, Rais said.

For the CGEM representative, the big challenge facing regionalisation is to ensure balance between all parts of the same territory. This lack of coherence between the provinces of the same region, which represents the biggest problem of territoriality, can be remedied by homogenising the offer and combining all the components to achieve equitable development.

Speaking of the particularity of the TTA region, Adel Rais stressed that the city of Tangier had its economic history and its business strength before the Tangier Med port, thanks to its proximity to Europe; so that since the twenties and thirties the area has been integrating companies that are now global.

Amjad Kiti, the director of the Economic Impulse and Territorial Offer at the CRI of Fez-Meknes, stressed that territoriality, according to the real vision, is not only about being competitive with each other, but that each territory has its own particularities, as they are complementary regions that seek efficiency and synergy through their competitive advantages. 

Fez-Meknes is the pioneer region on a national scale in the agri-food industry and requires federating all economic actors including the National Council, the CRI, the Chamber of Commerce and the various ministerial departments to consolidate the regional offer and balance economic development in all provinces of the region, Kiti stressed, mentioning the Regional Development Plan planned in two stages, 2027 and 2035, which aims to create an industrial zone that runs entirely on green energy.

"With the Moroccan Agency for Energy Efficiency (AMEE), we have developed a programme of accompaniment for the investor by ensuring a personalised offer at regional level, in addition to carrying out an efficient follow-up and a comprehensive accompaniment of investors by betting on digitalisation and simplification of processing," concluded Amjad Kiti, also urging to channel and orient the human capital of the regions and adapt it with the skills of future professions.