Interest in tertiary sector services surges in Fez-Meknes

 

Although agriculture, tourism and industry are all well-established sectors in the region and retain significant potential to function as motors for economy-wide growth, the region also has the opportunity to reinvent itself and expand through the entrenchment of new business activities, such as offshoring, ICT and renewable energy production.

Offshoring & ICT

Offshoring has gained traction in Morocco in recent years. In 2016 the sector grew by 7%, before accelerating to 10% in 2018, when it generated nearly 8000 jobs. International companies are increasingly looking to Morocco as the site of both business process outsourcing (BPO) – or subcontracting to third party vendors – and IT outsourcing (ITO) activities. Fez-Meknes has accordingly sought to leverage this promising national trend to attract foreign investment into its own offshoring sector. To incentivise such investment, Fez is offering job creation premiums for the offshoring sector. The Fez-Meknes region, the Fez municipality, the Regional Investment Centre for Fez-Meknes and Morocco’s offshoring leader, MedZ, have all signed a convention to subsidise spending for companies located in the Fez Shore Zone. A similar job creation premium has been put in place in Meknes, with the aim of providing new job opportunities, particularly to unemployed university graduates.

Fez Shore is a growing, integrated network of parks dedicated to computer services, data processing and IT business development. The second tranche of the site’s development, entailing the construction of a 20-ha park dedicated to BPO and IPO activities, is scheduled to launch by the end of 2019. Given the tax incentives that have been made available by the latest offshoring performance contracts signed with the state, as well as new job creation premiums, the marketing of the park is expected to attract considerable investor interest. There are good prospects for ITO expansion in particular, as ICT has been put forward as a strategic axis of development by the National Pact for Industrial Emergence. ITO brings together infrastructure management, software development and application maintenance, and nearly 80,000 people nationwide are currently employed in the sector. In Fez-Meknes ICT has significant potential to leverage the Fez Shore facilities, and in February 2018 CGI, a Canadian firm specialising in the delivery of ICT services, opened a centre for excellence at Fez Shore, contributing to the creation of an incubative ecosystem of ICT companies in the park, in addition to local players such as GiantLink.

Renewable Energies

Morocco has been particularly focused on investing in the solar and wind segments of its renewable energies portfolio. Their development is enabled by a trio of laws: Law No. 13-09 on renewable energies; Law No. 47-09 on the development of energy efficiency; and Law No. 16-09 establishing the National Agency for Energy. There are thus policies in place at the national, regional and municipal levels to develop facilities for the production and distribution of renewable energies, and to promote energy efficiency.

With regard to investment, a $1bn special fund for national energy development was created with donations from Saudi Arabia ($500m), the UAE ($300m) and, locally, the Hassan II Fund for Economic and Social Development ($200m), and the region has made it a priority objective to become a destination for these investments. Moreover, renewable energy projects in the provinces of Taza and Missour are well under way with the support of Chinese investors, and they are expected to be integrated into the local energy grid soon. The hope is for such projects to take advantage of the region’s significant potential in solar and wind, diversify its sources of income and develop a measure of self-sufficiency to reduce national spending on energy imports.

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The Report: Morocco 2019

Fez-Meknes chapter from The Report: Morocco 2019

The Report

This article is from the Fez-Meknes chapter of The Report: Morocco 2019. Explore other chapters from this report.