In a special article entitled “Africa's Growing Rise: The Rise of Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa” published in Forbes magazine, Henri Al Helaly, corporate strategist, entrepreneur and Chief Operating Officer at Skytex Aero, highlights the major role of Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa in Africa's rise on the global aviation scene.
“Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa are spearheading Africa's rise on the global aviation scene. These leaders are driving the growth of private, commercial and military aviation, opening up vast global opportunities. The next frontier? Aircraft manufacturing, from private jets to military drones,” he begins.
For several years now, Morocco has been pursuing an active development strategy, seeking to attract the attention of private and public investors from around the world. Henri Al Helaly says that the Kingdom is now forging its own path in the aviation sector, marked by impressive growth. “With Airbus forecasting 3.6 % annual growth in passenger demand, the country's strategic location, combined with a favourable investment climate, makes it an attractive proposition for international companies in the aviation sector, including aircraft manufacturing,” he continues.
In his article, Henri Al Helaly draws up a list of best practices for entrepreneurs and companies wishing to enter the aviation sector in Morocco. First and foremost, it is important to build relationships and trust while respecting local traditions and the country's commercial norms. “Morocco values its rich history and diverse culture,” writes Skytex Aero's Director of Operations.
The next step is to make use of Morocco's progressive open skies policy, which offers opportunities for joint ventures and partnerships in the aviation sector. Partnering with local entities would also provide a better understanding of regulatory processes and the national market. It is also important to work with Moroccan educational institutions: investing in skills will ensure a competent workforce for any operation.
Finally, one of Morocco's strengths is investment in infrastructure. As Rabat seeks to become an aviation hub due to its strategic location, investing in infrastructure, both in major and emerging areas, will be a considerable asset.
Nevertheless, Henri Al Helaly is quick to point out that “doing business in Morocco presents challenges, including language barriers and different regulatory frameworks”. Al Helaly has a number of solutions to deal with these, including prioritising localisation and the hiring of local experts, as well as creating a climate of trust to forge lasting partnerships.
Morocco is not the only country on the list of African countries rising to prominence on the global aerospace scene. In Nigeria, the aerospace industry is taking off. “With a growing middle class and a robust economy, demand for air transport in the country is booming,” says Henri Al Helaly. According to the International Air Transport Association, Nigeria's air transport market is expected to grow by 174 % over the next 20 years under the “current trends” scenario. This would translate into 9.4 billion additional trips by 2037.
South Africa leads the way in the private aviation sector, with the most mature market on the continent, with over 120 private and public companies. Johannesburg is also shaping the continent's military aviation landscape. Its air force, the SAAF, equipped with state-of-the-art military aircraft, is testimony to the country's prowess in military aviation. “This experience and infrastructure provide an excellent basis for the manufacture of military aircraft and drones,” concludes Al Helaly.
“Looking to the future, I believe that the growth potential of the African aerospace industry is enormous”, says Henri Al Helaly. The opportunities for entrepreneurs and businesses in Africa are growing all the time. They accompany the rising growth of Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa in the aviation industry, a progression resulting from the conjunction of developing economies and the increasing purchasing power of populations.