Strategic choices and sector-specific initiatives have allowed Morocco to enter an era of sustained growth, perhaps most notably as a result of the National Pact for Industrial Emergence. Some 110,000 jobs were created between 2008 and 2011, while exports rose by 22% and infrastructure was upgraded. Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Morocco has also grown at an average annual rate of 23% since 2009. Consolidating the existing foundation of the sector and reinforcing Morocco’s role as a crossroads are both imperative to fully exploiting the industrial potential of the country.

Morocco must ensure its economy can absorb 1m workers over the next decade; work to grow industry’s contribution to GDP to 23% by 2020; expand quantitative and qualitative export capacity; upgrade the ability to host companies in terms of both infrastructure and reactivity to investors’ needs; and boost productivity via concrete support for the sector. Taking into account the magnitude of these challenges, the new Plan for Industrial Acceleration (Plan d’ accélération industrielle, PAI) aims to make industry a major contributor to economic growth.

The PAI has set two major goals to be achieved by 2020: the creation of 500,000 jobs through greater FDI and increasing industry’s contribution to GDP by nine points, from 14% to 23%. The first set of measures aims to strengthen the sector and build a better-integrated industry following an “ecosystems” approach dedicated to creating new dynamics between big firms and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). By reducing disparities, new collaborations between industrial leaders and SMEs should make the sector a major provider of employment, especially for youth. The ecosystems model is expected to optimise the social and economic impacts of public procurements through industrial compensation (offset), which represents 20% of GDP This will in turn increase investments, build capacity and improve the balance of payments by fostering the purchase of local products and services. To meet the challenge of matching skills to business needs, there will be a generalisation of the Cherifian Office of Phosphate’s experience with its skills programme. Two mechanisms will be put in place: a bank of human resources and a pool of inter-contracts.

The second component of the PAI seeks to establish tools to provide support and boost competitiveness. The improvement of SMEs’ competitiveness is a crucial issue. The PAI provides a set of measures that should inspire firms to adopt innovation and quality improvement by providing them access to investors, financing and markets.

The Fund for Industrial Development, worth Dh20m (€1.77m), will allow industry to consolidate and modernise its capacity and substitute imported products. Another Dh800m (€71.04m) from the Hassan II Fund is allocated to the chemicals and pharmaceuticals industries to financially back up investment projects. A competitive and integrated financing offer will be implemented in partnership with the banking sector, which has renewed its commitment to assisting industrial companies and project developers. Furthermore, we will offer industrial parks for rent in order to make them more accessible to businesses. Each new park will include a one-stop shop for handling all paper work.

The third set of measures aims to improve the competitiveness of Morocco’s exports by assisting sectors with high export potential. Closer follow-up on ongoing free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations and strict implementation of existing FTAs are on the agenda, as the objective is to turn FTAs into opportunities rather than threats to the national industry.

The PAI also aims to establish a culture of “deal making” in order to attract higher FDI and prepare Morocco to seize new business opportunities. The plan proposes to further enhance Morocco’s African ties, which are set at the highest level, by developing partnerships geared at reinforcing shared values.