Magharebia (Washington DC)

Morocco: Industrial Jobs Boost Local Economy

Tangier — Morocco's industrial sector could provide the country with the economic impetus it needs.

Prospects for Morocco's industrial sector are looking good, business leaders agreed in Tangier.

Morocco is on the right track, particularly in terms of global activities, Industry and Trade Minister Abdelkader Amara said February 20th at the National Pact for Industrial Emergence.

Offshoring and the automotive, aeronautical, electronics, textiles, leather and agribusiness industries created 100,000 jobs since 2009, Amara said.

"The national industrial sector has made significant progress in 2012, despite the world economic crisis," the minister said.

Investors are being asked to grasp the opportunities offered by free trade agreements with, among others, the European Union and the United States to support the on-going trend for development seen in Morocco, Economic and Finance Minister Nizar Baraka said.

The international partnership is important for meeting the targets which have been set, economist Samira Cherrafi said.

Morocco is aware of this and has recently increased the number of high-level meetings with a number of countries to boost economic co-operation, she added.

"According to official figures, 2012 saw an inward flow of direct foreign industrial investment worth nearly 8 billion dinars (718 million euros). That's a good showing under the present economic climate," Cherrafi said.

She also called for greater economic integration across the Maghreb as soon as possible to build upon the synergies of industry in the region and create greater added value and employment for young people.

Young people need training to meet the needs of the labour market, she said, adding that all players need to be involved at the national level in re-launching industry.

General Confederation of Moroccan Business chair Meriem Bensalleh Cheqroun called for commitment from public and private players to work together and pull off one of the greatest economic challenges facing Morocco: to "establish itself as an industrial nation capable of playing a role on the regional and global economic stage".

Nevertheless, she was keen to underline the problem of the availability of building land and the recurring problem of improving the business climate.

Meanwhile, the banking sector expressed its readiness to work with the industrial sector. The commitment was made by Moroccan Professional Banking Group head Othman Benjelloun.

According to official figures, the banking sector has been able to contribute 720 billion dinars (64 billion euros) to financing the Moroccan economy, which had an average increase of 8.2% from 2010 to 2012.

"Banking establishments have a confident, optimistic view of the prospects for the national economy and that of the whole African continent. The banking sector is working to speed up the completion of the work which has been started and to identify new areas for growth generating new jobs," Benjelloun said.

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