Morocco's Minister of Industry and Trade, Ryad Mezzour, explained at the first edition of the National Industry Day, co-organised with the employers' association CGEM, that with the almost 100,000 jobs created so far this term, the country is on track to reach the target of 400,000 jobs in the industrial sector. A goal that will be achieved through vocational training, research and innovation. Everything is possible with our skills and our means," he added.
After reading a message from King Mohammed VI, which served to inaugurate this meeting between the government, legislators, public bodies and private sector companies, the head of industry recalled that 2022 closed with a total of 37 billion euros in industrial exports, an increase of 31% compared to 2021.
Mezzour stressed that the new industrial era in Morocco dates back to 1960, major infrastructure works were undertaken in the country to reach the mega-projects that are marking the current economic situation in Morocco as is the case of the Tangier Med port, "a pride for the country", without forgetting the records that Morocco has broken in terms of exports and in the automotive, textile and agri-food sectors.
For his part, Chakib Alj, president of the Moroccan employers' association CGEM (General Confederation of Moroccan Companies) explained that all those who form part of the private sector are mobilised to ensure that industry becomes the economic future of the country. To this end, he emphasised two main aspects: investment in R&D (Morocco invests 0.8% of GDP compared to other countries in the developed world, which invest 2.8%) and artificial intelligence.
Alj invited companies to take advantage of the 30 million euros made available by the Moroccan government to promote economic growth in 2023.
The leader of the Moroccan employers' association pointed out the objective of improving the competitiveness of Moroccan industry by turning towards the opportunities offered by Africa as an important supplier of energy and raw materials and increasing Moroccan exports to African countries.
In this first edition of the National Industry Day, the actors of the industrial sector and the institutions concerned attended to discuss the objectives, challenges and possible solutions for the good positioning of Morocco in the international arena in order to generate jobs and prioritise the quality of the product "Made in Morocco".
This first National Industry Day had a discussion programme divided into five main areas of debate, focusing on the levers to consolidate industrial competitiveness, social integration and "Made in Morocco", skills in the industrial sectors, decarbonisation and energy and water efficiency for industry, and finally the financing of productive investment.
Speaking of productive investment for the resumption of industry, Mouhcine Jazouli, Minister Delegate to the Head of Government in charge of investment, convergence and evaluation of public policies, explained the Investment Charter, which addresses three essential axes: Governance at the service of the development of local industry, the business climate and bonuses that encourage investment, which can be sectoral or territorial and are given for the number of jobs created, dedicating 30% of positions to women, working with the professions of the future, local integration and the durability of the company.
In his turn to speak, Mohamed Benchaaboun, Director General of the Mohamed VI Funds for Investment, spoke of the importance of having access to financing for the development of industry, maintaining that these funds accompany industrial companies and that the latter need to have sufficient infrastructure, industrial zones, energy policy, research and innovation, as well as intangible capital built by human resources trained through vocational training and research.
The Minister of Transport and Logistics, Mohamed Abdeljalil, clarified the close relationship between logistics and the development of industry and competitiveness. According to him, Morocco is consolidating this through its port strategy, reforms and transport services as an example, reflecting the growth of the Moroccan economy in all regions. As for the main dimensions of the action plan, Adeljalil cited three: continuing to develop the infrastructure, accompanying private operators and improving public and private governance.
The vice-president of the CGEM and president of the CGEM's Innovation and Industrial Development Commission, Mohamed Bachiri, insisted that both public authorities and private actors must work together to develop local industry in all Moroccan regions, with innovation in the pursuit of quality as the primary challenge. The president underlined that "the robot brings us employment and does not take it away".
The president of the Moroccan Federation of Plastic Materials Industry, Hicham El Haid, mentioned that the MIC has launched programs to give priority to the Moroccan product, stressing that the integration rate is an impacting factor in competitiveness to give sovereignty to the Moroccan industry.
For his part, Mounir El Bari, president of the Federation of Forest Industries, Graphic Arts and Packaging, stressed the importance of promoting the green economy and how industrial waste could be raw materials that can be reused by giving them a second life, and generating in effect more than 80,000 jobs by betting on green packaging, especially in vital sectors for Morocco such as agri-food.
In a special panel, Aouatif Hayar, the Minister of Solidarity, Social Inclusion and Family, highlighted the role of women in the economy, pointing out that women engineers account for 40% of the workforce in the industrial sector. The minister urged industrial actors to offer women living in the other regions of the country the opportunity and infrastructure to be able to work in their cities, by strengthening technology that can respond to the needs of these regions such as water, waste treatment, female competence and vocational training.
Younes Sekkouri, Minister of Economic Inclusion, Small Business, Employment and Skills, stressed that the challenge is firstly the question of human resources and the need for vocational training in view of the new needs of industrialised countries, secondly, the involvement of industry and the improvement of innovation in addition to good orientation and openness to new technologies in order to have high quality human resources.
In her speech as President of the Association of Moroccan Regions, Mbarka Bouaida, said that the best way to stimulate industry in the regions is to create economic poles capable of generating jobs, strengthen their infrastructures, domicile and create industrial zones, and create regional centres for training in professions and skills. Bouaida emphasised the need to have a territorialised industrial strategy in order to work on the particularities of each of the regions, stressing that Morocco does not yet have an industrial vision for its different territories.
Two agreements were signed during the day: one between the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MIC) and the CGEM and the Moroccan Office of Industrial and Commercial Property (OMPIC) to promote the project bank; and another agreement between the MIC and the CGEM to work together to improve the industrial sector and support Moroccan companies.
In the next panel on the competences of the industrial sectors, the president of the Moroccan Association of Textile and Fashion Industries, Anass El Ansari, spoke about the informal sector and the imports of the textile sector as the main industrial employer in Morocco.
While Mohamed El Bouhnadi, president of the National Federation of Agro-food Industries, spoke of the pharmaceutical sector as a strategic sector with 50 industrial laboratories, 12,000 pharmacies and 60,000 employees. El Bouhmadi clarified in this regard that the establishment of a regional pharmaceutical industry requires the creation of a "regional hub" by guaranteeing the regulatory aspect and the necessary infrastructure.
For his part, Adil Zaidi, president of the Automotive Federation, addressed the issue of "Made in Morocco" branding, an objective that requires, in order to be achieved, first of all to offer markets to companies, with the national market as an important factor to give strength to this concept, facilitating the processing throughout the life of the company and not only at its start-up. Zaidi insisted that Morocco produces, but is still looking for ways to get to sell and reach the consumer, and thus stresses the importance of getting on the international radars to make the Moroccan product visible.
As a representative of the Office of Vocational Training and Promotion of Work (OFPPT), Loubna Tricha underlined that the industry has the lion's share in the training centres of the OFPPT, being aware of the transformations of the economy and markets worldwide. In fact, they work with students on skilling, the industrial mindset, the green economy, the 4.0 economy and artificial intelligence for professions of the future.
For the president of the Moroccan Aeronautical and Special Industries Group, Karim Chaikhi, skills training is paramount to the needs of industry. Chaikhi gave the example of the Aeronautical Institute opened in 2011 in partnership with the public and private sector which has had 400 graduates at its inception to reach today to train 2,000 student per year in addition to its mission in continuous training dedicated to Human Resources departments.
The president of the Federation of Leather Industries, Azeddine Jettou, highlighted the growth rate of the leather sector in 2022, which reached 25%, describing it as a good result, but not satisfactory. He also underlined the problem that the sector suffers from because young people often underestimate it and do not see it as attractive. And as a solution, he proposed to perpetuate this industry by changing the traditional vision and training a new generation of young people capable of handling computer-operated machines; pointing out that in the region of Fez, a 50-hectare industrial zone is being set up for the high-tech industry.
In the field of decarbonisation and energy and water efficiency, El Hafidi Abderrahimm, director general of the Mohammed VI Foundation for the Protection of the Environment, stated that Morocco ends this year with a renewable energy consumption of more than 40%, of which Moroccan industry consumes 20%. And for Morocco to reduce its energy dependence, it must start on the path of decarbonisation, with strategies for storing renewable energies, reaching more than 50% of renewable energy consumption by 2030.
Mehdi Tazi, Vice-President General of the CGEM, brought to light the phenomena of the under-capitalisation of Moroccan companies, the informal sector, the effect of inflation and the successive crises that the world has experienced and their repercussions on the Moroccan economy. This is why ¨Tamwilcom¨ represents, according to its general director, Hicham Zanati Serguini, an alternative to open up the financing market in a partnership between the state and the private financial sector.
In this context, Youssef Alaoui, president of the CGEM group in the Chamber of Councillors, pointed to the "Crédit Daman" offered by the CGEM as an important support to companies.
Mohamed El Kattani, vice-president of the Professional Group of Moroccan Banks, emphasised the role of banks in supporting companies with projects. He affirmed that the real problem lies in the insufficiency of their own funds, pointing out that banks are also companies looking for resources and that the solution for Moroccan companies lies in the African market, thanks to the new free trade zone that gives them the opportunity to internationalise easily.
The Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Casablanca Stock Exchange, Kamal Mokdad, reported that there are currently 24 industrial companies on the Casablanca Stock Exchange with a capitalisation of 16 billion euros, which represents a third of the total of the Casablanca Stock Exchange. He concluded his speech with three recommendations for a dynamic and more accessible stock exchange: introducing the public leitmotiv, anchoring the stock exchange in the sectoral strategy and making it a national priority with the support of the public authorities.
Finally, the day ended with an emphasis on the different dimensions of the real message that calls on the actors of the Moroccan economy to enter the new industrial era by focusing on the relevant priorities: the creation of job offers, adapting university courses and vocational training centres to the needs of the Moroccan industrial sector, sustainable transition and territorial development.
The vice-president of the CGEM, Mohamed Bachiri, concluded the meeting by stating that the world is changing and the situation is becoming more complicated every day, which is why Morocco must adapt its economic potential in order to achieve health, food and energy sovereignty by improving industrial zones and training its human capital.