Business Insider and the Africa Collective initiative it supports present an exclusive interview with Ali Seddiki, General Director of the Moroccan Agency for the Development of Investments and Exports (AMDIE).
In this interview, Ali Seddiki shared his insights on the current state of Morocco’s export market and the steps the agency plans to take to increase exports and diversify the country’s export base. He also discussed AMDIE’s vision for supporting small and medium-sized enterprises in Morocco and the agency’s plans for developing and strengthening partnerships with international organisations and governments to promote Moroccan investments and exports.
AMDIE is the national body in charge of promoting and developing the investment and export of Morocco. AMDIE provides a professional and free public service to all investors and exporters. It offers them a wide range of services to set up their business in Morocco and export to other countries through a professional team.
BI Africa: How would you describe the current state of Morocco’s export market, and what steps do you plan to take to increase exports and diversify the country’s export base?
Seddiki: First, it is important to recall that Morocco is a country that has always been open to international trade, a member of the WTO since 1995 and of the GATT since 1987. We have also concluded more than 50 free trade agreements with the world’s major economies, giving exporters from the Kingdom access to more than 2 billion consumers. Furthermore, over the last 20 years, the Kingdom has experienced profound changes in its economy thanks to the spectacular development of export-oriented industrial ecosystems. To give an example, Morocco has developed a production capacity of more than 950,000 vehicles per year, essentially oriented towards exports.
To evoke the last data relating to exports, I would like to specify that after a fall in 2020, Morocco has experienced a catching up of these exports in 2021 and 2022. By the end of November 2022, national exports had increased by more than 33% compared to the previous year. This increase was mainly driven by the increase in exports of phosphates and derivatives (+55%) and those of the automotive sector (+35%), which exceeded for the first time the 100 MMDH mark.
As for AMDIE, it is a public body in charge of promoting and supporting investors and exporters. As such, we develop an integrated end-to-end offer to support exporting companies. This support ranges from international promotion by allowing companies to present their products at the main events abroad, to referencing national products on marketplaces or realisation of market studies.
We also work in close collaboration with the Ministry of Industry and Trade through dedicated programmes such as the “Relance Export” programme to enable companies to diversify their markets and consolidate their position in promising markets.
We wish to diversify the base of national exporting companies and develop a new generation of first-time exporters. This is the meaning of our actions.
BI Africa: Can you discuss your vision for the role of the agency in supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Morocco and how you plan to help these companies grow and expand their export capabilities?
Seddiki: Morocco has adopted a new investment charter. This new charter will incentivise in a much more pronounced way the projects that meet the priorities defined by the new development model desired by His Majesty the King, May God assist him, and the governmental program. These priorities are clear: the creation of stable jobs, territorial diversification, the promotion of activities with high-added value and environmental sustainability.
This new charter includes a specific mechanism in favour of small and medium-sized enterprises. This mechanism will be finalised shortly and should allow for financial support and technical assistance for SMEs.
In the meantime, AMDIE is working on several axes to identify concrete investment and export opportunities for SMEs, offer additional capacities to start-ups and innovative projects, and support female entrepreneurship.
BI Africa: How do you plan to develop and strengthen partnerships with international organisations and governments to promote Moroccan investments and exports?
Seddiki: The Moroccan Investment and Export Agency plays a driving role in the sectorial promotion of the Moroccan offer, contributes to the creation of added value and jobs, and strengthens competitiveness throughout the territory.
AMDIE seeks to be an effective tool for promoting investment and export and manages to develop exhibition spaces aimed at promoting exportation by:
- Prospecting new international clients
- Networking Moroccan exporters with foreign contractors and institutional players in target markets
- Internationalization of Moroccan investors
- Export financing and hedging solutions
- Date and promising foreign markets
AMDIE has developed many partnerships with its national and international counterparts (Europe, Middle East, Asia…). Furthermore, the agency is part of different Investment international promotional agencies network, such as ANIMA Investment Network, WAIPA, Francophone IPA Networks and many other organisations.
We aim to promote and foster relationships between the kingdom and its international partners in all cooperation areas, such as information exchange, event co-organization, and mutual investment development through businessman delegations visits and co-working on long-term initiatives.
In addition, AMDIE is cooperating with united nations specialised organisations, for example, the international trade centre in Geneva, the UNCTAD in Vienna, and ODEC in Paris.
BI Africa: How do you plan to use events like the World Economic Forum (WEF) to showcase Morocco’s economic potential and opportunities to international investors, and what steps do you plan to take to connect these investors with local businesses and entrepreneurs in Morocco?
Seddiki: The world economic forum is a meeting that gathers together government, business and civil society leaders with the knowledge, expertise and clout to make positive change happen. Participating in the WEF enables us to raise awareness about Morocco’s investment platform among business decision-makers.
We want to spotlight the tremendous economic transformation the country has been going through over the past 20 years under the leadership of His Majesty King Mohammed the 6th.
In this context, Morocco is the right place to invest, offering a unique combination of factors that support economic performance and sustainable development goals: Morocco, now, is a low-carbon production platform open to the largest consumer markets, having a skilled and dedicated workforce contributing to high quality and cost performance and supported by governance committed to sustainable and inclusive development.
Therefore, we managed to schedule B2B meetings at Davos with CEOs of large corporations to discuss their challenges and highlight our offer. It confirms that Morocco has the right assets to support their economic performance as well as their sustainability strategies.
Once the contact is established, all the measures are taken to accompany the companies in their investment process step by step.
BI Africa: What specific goals or outcomes do you hope to achieve by partnering with initiatives like Africa Collective, and how do you plan to measure the success of these efforts in terms of their impact on Morocco’s economy?
Seddiki: Thanks to the vision of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, Morocco has placed Africa at the very heart of its priorities and has made the natural and strategic choice to promote South-South cooperation.
This vision has been supported by significant investments in Africa by Moroccan banks, which operate in more than 25 African countries, as well as investments by commodities, construction, energy, and telecom companies; a strategy to promote Casablanca as a regional transport and logistics hub; and a stronger partnership with Nigeria, another key regional player, on the basis of religious diplomacy and a mega gas pipeline project. Not only is Morocco the second-largest investor in Africa, but our government has also encouraged the private sector to invest in sub-Saharan Africa; Ethiopia and Ivory Coast were the prime destinations for Moroccan investment.
Morocco also seeks to establish itself as a major platform and hub linking Africa with the rest of the world, and would like to combine forces, resources and existing initiatives to create one big platform with other African countries, with much higher visibility and impact.
BI Africa: Can you discuss your strategy for promoting Morocco as a destination for foreign investment and exports and how you plan to position the country as a competitive player in the global economy?
Seddiki: Under the leadership of His Majesty King Mohammed the sixth (6th), Morocco has undertaken numerous reforms at the political, economic, and social levels to improve its business environment, build a competitive and low-carbon manufacturing platform as well as develop a world-class infrastructure.
These reforms have, without a doubt, helped Morocco to gain the confidence of international investors and have placed the Kingdom of Morocco as a strong player at the regional and international levels.
The Kingdom is a stable and democratic country with a clear and long-term Vision. Our political stability is ensured by our monarchy, our democratic institutions, peace, and security.
Our strategic location, coupled with more than fifty (50) free trade agreements, enable Morocco to link Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the US. This location is supported by the 1st port in the Mediterranean Sea, Tanger Med, at the crossroads of the main international maritime routes.
Morocco gives great importance to sustainability: Almost 40% of its electricity comes from green energy sources, and the objective by 2030 is to go beyond 50%. As one of the world’s most competitive “green” platforms, Morocco attracts many international investors to implement renewable energy projects, such as the ones in green hydrogen.
The Moroccan economic footprint in Africa reflects the Kingdom’s continental extension as the 1st African investor in West Africa and 2nd on the continent.
Morocco has the ambition to go a step further while being the most attractive destination to invest in the region.
BI Africa: Finally, how do you plan to support the development of local entrepreneurs and small businesses, and what steps do you plan to take to promote the growth of new and innovative industries in Morocco?
Seddiki: Our companies produce according to the global standards of their industry and with one of the most attractive price-quality ratios in the region. The examples are numerous; the testimonies of international groups based in Morocco systematically go in this direction.
It is important to promote these achievements and to change Morocco’s perception economically, including within the country. This is what AMDIE works to do through communication and business meetings.
At the same time, we must continue to support the competitiveness of our companies, particularly through energy and logistics costs or through training. This is part of the structuring reform projects that will accompany the implementation of the new investment charter.
The carbon neutrality strategies of the major industrialised countries also represent an opportunity for our national industry thanks to our natural wind and solar resources and the investments made since 2009. By systematising production from renewable energies, we improve the value of the product while reducing its manufacturing cost.
The majority of our competitors in international markets do not have the same advantage that is becoming a determining factor for our customers. In this respect, the recent signing of a Green Partnership with the EU, making the Kingdom the first country to conclude an agreement of this type with Brussels, further formalises this level of competitiveness.
**This post forms part of the Africa Collective initiative, for which Business Insider Africa is the lead media partner. Learn more about the initiative here.