Interview: Mohammed Drissi Melyani
What steps are being taken to accelerate digital transformation in Morocco?
MOHAMMED DRISSI MELYANI: Morocco’s digital transformation is a major initiative, and the government is working to create a suitable environment for its implementation. The goal is to work alongside both the public and private sector to digitalise the national ecosystem, with a focus on administration, business and society.
In terms of administration, the government has introduced a series of measures to help achieve its objectives, developing a strong digital culture, encouraging public institutions to utilise digital technology, and promoting of e-governance policies to improve the transparency, openness and integration of processes. The government is also supporting the growth of digital infrastructure such as cloud services and cybersecurity, adapting digital regulations, and creating a coherent and proactive strategy for legal monitoring of new technologies. The country’s digital transformation is also combined with a roadmap for the development of human capital at a national level, to support the development of new technologies.
How can technology strengthen the competitiveness of the economy?
DRISSI MELYANI: Two main factors contribute to Morocco’s competitiveness: internal factors relating to the structure of the economy, which is largely made up of micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs); and external factors that attract investors to its ecosystem, such as infrastructure, human capital, training and innovation, access to finance, taxation and business climate.
Faced with the challenges of economic openness and globalisation, Morocco is looking to increase the productivity of its MSMEs, improving competitiveness on an international scale and aligning itself with international standards. This can be achieved by integrating new technologies across all sectors and initiating innovative projects to add value to the digital chain. It is from this perspective that Morocco has launched a series of major projects to develop an ICT-oriented industry, including the creation of a network of offshore multinational IT firms and the establishment of technology parks for incubating start-ups. These policies also aim to improve the competitiveness of MSMEs by modernising information systems, training managers on new technologies and offering financial support for IT projects.
In order to better implement technology, it is first necessary to identify the main obstacles encountered by each sector. These challenges fall into several categories, including finance, administration, culture and security. There is still a lack of knowledge of the technologies on the market, a shortage of local technical expertise, concerns about the safety and confidentiality of digital services, and a resistance to change. Also, new technologies are expensive in terms of implementation, which is an additional deterrent.
In what ways can international companies participate in Morocco’s digital transformation?
DRISSI MELYANI: Morocco benefits from several factors that make it an ideal location for foreign investors, with a broad range of investment areas, a qualified workforce and a government strategy to promote openness to the global economy. Big data and data analysis have already improved business performance and increased profitability in a range of sectors, including industry, health, security and smart cities. When it comes to the development of digital infrastructure, the use of public-private partnerships can be effective, particularly in terms of meeting financing needs. This model makes it possible to benefit from the private sector’s expertise, and ensures an optimised sharing of risk. This participatory approach also helps to facilitate the country’s digital transformation and improve social inclusion.
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