The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Affairs Department will lead its first business mission to Morocco March 20-22, 2012, comprised of eleven companies. The Chamber delegation will link, for the first time, US companies with real opportunities in the renewable energy and port development sectors in Morocco. This equates to economic development and job creation in both countries.
"During this period of unprecedented change and opportunity in the Middle East and North Africa, Morocco's market stands to benefit considerably from U.S. private sector expertise in innovation and technology," said Lionel Johnson, Chamber vice president of Middle East and North Africa Affairs. "U.S. companies, large and small, particularly in the renewable energy and port development sectors, can help Morocco achieve its long-term economic development goals, creating jobs in both the U.S. and Morocco."
The trip will include two major signing ceremonies, where the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) will offer a $571,000 feasibility grant for the Marsa Maroc port authority with an estimated investment of $30-41 million. USTDA will also offer a $667,000 feasibility grant to the Moroccan Company for Transportation and Logistics (SNTL) with an estimated investment value of $21 million for the development of a rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) pilot project. Additionally, Maroc Export (Moroccan Export Promotion Authority) has will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Chamber.
Aziz Rabbah, Minister of Equipment and Transport, along with Mohammed Abdeljalil, Chief Executive Officer of Marsa Maroc Port Authority, will preside over the USTDA Signing Ceremony for Marsa Maroc Grant.
Moroccan officials have acknowledged that modernization of the Port of Casablanca is critical to enhancing its trade and transportation infrastructure, as it serves as an international platform between Europe and Africa. The government announced plans to invest $360 million to modernize the port by 2015, and is courting U.S. companies to assist with the project.
Additionally, as Morocco's economy continues to grow, energy demand now exceeds the nation's installed renewable energy capacity. Forced to import energy to meet more than 95% of the country's energy requirements, Morocco has launched a national campaign to achieve 6 gigawatts of installed capacity from renewable energy resources by 2020 and has planned to invest billions toward the effort.
The Chamber's delegation is comprised of representatives from Eaton Industries, First Solar, General Dynamics, Harris Corp., Honeywell International, Lockheed Martin, Manas Development Group, Petra Solar Inc., Raytheon, Sun Edison, SunPower Corp. and USTDA.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.
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