With an increasing focus on value-added export industries in manufacturing, industry in Morocco has transformed in recent years. This is in large part a result of the 2009 strategic plan to bolster six designated segments by investing billions of dirhams and facilitating new investments. The result has led to Morocco becoming one of Africa’s leading countries for industrial foreign direct investment (FDI).
However, while the plan has drawn in sizable injections of capital and seen an increase in manufactured production, due to strong performance by the automotive and aeronautics sectors, other areas, such as textiles and pharmaceuticals, have seen less impressive growth. This is partly a result of the fact that, much like the rest of the economy in Morocco, export-dependent industries have suffered from the European downturn in recent years. Indeed, while the industrial sector has greatly changed for the better over the past 10 years, 2013 proved difficult, with mostly marginal growth. Nevertheless, industrial sectors continue to stimulate GDP and job growth, and indicators for the future point to an encouraging outlook for 2014, thanks to improved productivity and an upswing in global activity.
INDICATORS: The broadly defined industrial sector contributed 14% to Morocco’s GDP in 2012. The sector also added 5000 jobs, which is critical for a country that eagerly seeks to slash unemployment rates. While the economy overall grew thanks to the agriculture sector, the non-agricultural sectors, especially several within industry, demonstrated weak growth.
According to the High Planning Commission, Morocco’s industrial production index (base=1998) slightly decreased at the end of the third quarter of 2013 to 98.4, down from 98.9 year-on-year (y-o-y). The most significant y-o-y change occurred in the textiles sector, which has been one of the worst-performing industrial sectors over the past several years as competition from lower-cost Asian exporters erodes demand. Textile industrial products performed the worst, falling 93.4 from 87.9, or -5.9%, while clothing and furs dropped from 107.3 to 98.5, or -8.02%. The best-performing sectors were automobile and tobacco manufacturing, which increased by about 2% and 2.9%, respectively. Agro-industry products remained flat at 0.3%, as did the chemicals sector, whose price index increased by 0.7%.
FORWARD PLANNING: In many of the emerging markets in the MENA region, government strategies – while grandly announced and regularly lauded – often have only a modest impact on performance, and implementation generally lags targets. Morocco’s National Pact for Industrial Emergence (Pacte National pour l’Emergence Industrielle, PNEI), however, is very much an exception. Launched in 2008 as a more robust successor to 2005’s Emergence Plan, which had similar goals, the plan seeks to bolster six key sectors of the economy, including the aeronautics, automobile, agro-industry, offshoring, textiles and pharmaceuticals industries, with the aim of increasing exports and modernising its local industries. By 2015 the PNEI hopes to create a further 220,000 jobs in the industrial sectors, add Dh50bn (€4.4bn) to the country’s GDP in terms of private investment and generate an additional Dh95bn (€8.4bn) in export volume.
“The industrial sector has transformed itself in the past several years by moving its focus away from traditional sectors like agro, textiles and leather and towards the automotive and aeronautics sectors. Each sector covered by the PNEI is moving ahead but at different rates,” Adnane Loukili, partner at consultancy Mazars, told OBG. Across all six industries, jobs increased by 3% in 2012, to 445,000 from 366,000 in 2009, according to the Moroccan Investment Development Agency (Agence Marocaine de Développement des Investissements, AMDI).
The PNEI has been successful in attracting foreign investors to four of the targeted segments, with firms ranging from Renault to EADS to Bombardier to Safran Group. In 2012 the industrial sectors accounted for the largest portion of FDI to Morocco, reflecting the success of the PNEI. The textiles sector – which is one of the country’s largest employers with an estimated 200,000 employees – and the pharmaceuticals industry – which is the second-largest on the continent – have seen more modest growth in foreign capital.
The strong performance in the PNEI’s targeted segments has been key in boosting the industrial sector’s overall investment levels. According to the UN Conference on Trade and Development, Morocco was the largest recipient of FDI in North Africa in 2013, reaching a total of $3.5bn, a 24% increase. According to AMDI, as Morocco is performing well compared to other countries in the region, there are a number of European companies that are interested in investing in the kingdom and using in it as an export hub to their different markets.
TRADE AGREEMENTS: In order to stimulate trade Morocco has signed several free trade agreements (FTAs) with a variety of partners, ranging from the Greater Arab Free Trade Area to Turkey, as well as with the EU – its biggest trade partner, accounting for 67% of total volumes. The country has already inked an Association Agreement and an agricultural agreement with the EU, and benefits from advanced status, which will bring Moroccan legislation in line with that of the EU’s and fully integrate Morocco into the European internal market once complete. In December 2013 Morocco and the EU agreed upon an action plan spanning 2013 to 2017 to implement Morocco’s advanced status.
A new round of FTA talks began between the European trade bloc and Morocco in 2013 under the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) to further improve Morocco’s gradual integration into the EU single market, by targeting a streamlining of Customs processes, investor protection and intellectual property. A report commissioned by the EU estimated that a DCFTA would boost Moroccan GDP by as much as 1.6% and exports by a whopping 15.3%. Currently, Morocco mainly exports clothing, agricultural products, as well as machinery and transport equipment to the EU. In 2012 the European trade bloc imported Dh9.1bn (€808.1m) in goods from Morocco, while the EU exported Dh16.9bn (€1.5bn) worth of goods to the kingdom. Morocco has also signed bilateral trade agreements with the US. In 2006 an FTA – the first in the region – with the US came into force that led to 95% of tariffs on goods being eliminated, and at present, Morocco imports $3.5bn from the US, while the kingdom exports $900m to the US.
A 2009 study by Morocco’s Ministry of External Trade on the impact of FTAs showed that FTAs signed by the kingdom have in general had a negative impact on boosting local employment, in part due to an influx of foreign competition. Tariff reductions have also been demonstrated to push imports up faster than exports, due to increases in the purchasing power of households, higher demand in the domestic market for imported products, and also the difference between the year in which the tariffs on Morocco’s export products are dismantled in trade partner countries and the year in which the tariffs on foreign products are removed in Morocco.
INDUSTRIAL PLATFORMS: The Moroccan government has established a number of free trade and sectoral production zones in recent years in an effort to attract major foreign manufacturers to establish operations in Morocco. The industrial platforms fit within the PNEI plan, which foresees a total of 22 platforms to be created, centred primarily around Casablanca, Kenitra, Tangiers and Oujda, targeting in particular the automotive, aeronautics, electronics and offshoring sectors. Firms that establish operations within the industrial platforms benefit from a one-stop shop for administrative procedures, as well as on-site professional training for workers. Within the 16 platforms, there are four free trade zones in Kenitra, Nouacer, Tangiers and Oujda, which benefit from 0% tax rate for the first five years of operations followed by an 8.75% tax rate over a 20-year period. The industrial platform sites are developed and managed by MedZ, which is a subsidiary of Caisse de Dépôt et de Gestion (CDG), a public financial institution, which manages long-term savings as well as territorial development in Morocco.
Efforts have been made to bolster the local aeronautics and automotive industries, and the strategy has proven successful with the arrival of Renault and Bombardier in 2012 and 2013, respectively. To continue to build its local aeronautics industry, the government opened Midparc in 2013, which specialises in the aeronautics, electronics, and defence and security industries. The new free trade zone, which is situated outside of Casablanca, will have 126 ha of land and will result in an investment of Dh900m (€79.9m). Firms that establish operations will receive a 100% tax exemption for five years, which increases to 8.75% thereafter over 25 years.
In 2013 Tangiers Automotive City, a free trade zone aimed at the automotive industry, completed the first phase of its complex, which represents 55 ha out of a total 300. It is a subsidiary of the Tangiers Free Zone, a 3000-ha free trade zone that launched in 2009. The zone is located in Chrafate, which is near the new Renault plant. The new zone represents a Dh860m (€76.4m) investment, which will increase once the remaining phases are completed. The Atlantic Free Zone is a 340-ha zone in Kenitra, north of Casablanca, and is currently in the process of opening for business. The Lear Corporation, an American company that specialises in auto parts, is currently building a factory in the zone.
HEAVY INDUSTRY: Heavy industry firms in Morocco are active in a variety of areas, from chemicals to metals to large-scale manufacturing. Steel represents one of the busier fields of activity with 68 companies. Maghreb Steel, a privately owned and publicly traded local company, is the largest producer, with an estimated 2.9m tonnes of steel output annually and 1650 employees. The steel sector has been facing difficulties because of an oversupply of steel on the international market in general due to other countries, such as China, becoming major exporters. In 2012 the situation worsened when European steel manufacturers – which were struggling with a 27% drop in output and a 10% drop in employment between 2007 and 2011 – were blamed for dumping steel on the local market below cost.
To protect local steel production, in 2013 Moroccan government implemented a temporary duty on steel of Dh0.55 (€0.05) per kilo, $64 per tonne for orders above 37,000 tonnes of wire rod and 10,500 tonnes of reinforcing bars. Maghreb Steel received a Dh5.7bn (€506.2m) public sector investment to boost its production capacity. According to the Moroccan authorities, the decision is in accordance with World Trade Organisation rules and aimed to protect local steel manufacturers. However, ArcelorMittal contested the government’s decision and questions have been raised about the level of competitiveness of the local steel industry.
“The impact of the tax remains to be seen. Lots of sectors were suffering from excess dumping, especially in the beginning,” Karim Gharbi, an analyst at CFG, told OBG. Gharbi predicts the protectionist tax will remain in place as long as excess steel continues to be produced in Europe, but according to the Federation of Metallurgical, Mechanical and Electromechanical Industries, a compromise to reduce the tax and simultaneously protect Maghreb Steel may be concluded in 2014.
PHOSPHATES: According to the US Geological Survey 2011, Morocco possesses 77% of the world’s phosphate deposits (see analysis), with the local phosphate sector dominated by state-owned Office Chérifien des Phosphates Group (OCP), one of the largest three operators by exports in the world. Such is the size of OCP that according to the Ministry of Industry the firm represents as much as 69% of total industrial activity. The past 12 months have been very challenging for the sector, given the fluctuations in global prices. The price for phosphate fell in 2013 to $145 per tonne versus $185 the previous year, representing a drop of 21.62%. OCP experienced a decline in profits in 2013, with a 46% change in net profit half way through the year, to Dh3.6bn (€426m). As a result, phosphate exports in Morocco slowed by 21.8% by November 2013, with Dh34.82bn (€3bn) exported as opposed to Dh44.53bn (€3.9bn) the previous year, according to Office des Changes.
PROMISING SIGNS: While exports may have declined in 2013, the sector is anticipating general growth for the years ahead. To this end, OCP, which owns four mining centres and two processing plants, is aiming to double its annual capacity of phosphate between 2007 and 2017 by expanding current mines and launching new ones, with a particular focus on improving downstream activity. The kingdom will invest substantially between 2010 and 2020, which will translate into a total production of 50m tonnes, a rise over the current 30m tonnes. OCP will invest Dh130bn (€11.5bn) between 2011 and 2020, with Dh15bn (€1.3bn) and Dh28bn (€2.5bn) having already been invested in 2011 and 2012, respectively. The OCP investments will be partly used for constructing a phosphate cleaning plant in Merah, a 235-km-long pipeline between Khouribga and their Jorf site, and the opening of three new mines at the Khouribga mining site, which will expand production from 18.5m tonnes to 38m tonnes by 2020.
Unsurprisingly, OCP’s focus on increasing local and downstream processing will provide a major boost to the chemicals sector, which contributes around 16%, or Dh50bn (€4.4bn), of the industrial sector’s contribution to national GDP. Although OCP has a large presence in the sector through the production of phosphate derivatives, some 1627 companies are nonetheless active and together account for around 26% of the industrial sector’s exports.
In 2013 the government signed a contract programme to help the sector grow its capacity, in order to generate Dh100bn (€8.9bn) by 2023. With the additional funds, the sector aims to improve the competitiveness of the plant chemicals, fertiliser, cosmetics, plastics and phosphorous chemicals sectors, as well as develop an industrial recycling industry. The government has set aside Dh1.07bn (€95m) out of a total Dh1.56bn (€138.5m) to be disbursed over the 2013-20 period.
CEMENT: With the range of construction projects currently under way in Morocco, the building materials sector has generally benefitted from high margins, making it profitable for the five cement firms operating in Morocco, namely Ciment d’Atlas; Holcim, a subsidiary of the Swiss group; Lafarge Maroc, which is part of a French multinational; Asment Témara, a subsidiary of Portuguese firm Cimpor; and Ciments du Maroc, a subsidiary of Italy-based Italcementi Group. However, the past 12 months were slightly more difficult. According to the Ministry of Habitat and Urban Planning, cement sales dropped 6.3% in 2013 for the first time since 2009, thanks to a slowdown in construction due to heavy rains and a move by banks to reduce their exposure to the real estate sector. Some 14.87m tonnes were sold in 2013, a drop from 15.87m in 2012.
As is the trend in many other sectors, Moroccan cement producers have set their sights on expanding operations elsewhere on the African continent. In 2011 Ciments de l’Afrique (CIMAF), for example, was launched by Anas Sefrioui, the CEO of Moroccan developer Groupe Addoha. CIMAF started operations in Côte d’Ivoire in 2013 and aims to produce 120m cement bags, 10m of which will be destined for the local market. The firm announced the opening of a grinding centre in Douala, Cameroon in 2014, and expects to begin operations in Burkina Faso, Congo, Gabon and Nigeria over the next two years.
PHARMACEUTICALS: The pharmaceuticals sector in Morocco is the second-largest in Africa, with 32 production sites churning out between 250m and 300m units in recent years, and strong growth potential, due to rising demand at home and in North and West Africa. While the scope for future expansion is significant, current growth rates average around 4%, which is moderate compared to the averages of between 10% and 15% elsewhere in Africa. Some 65% of local consumption is produced domestically, with per-capita consumption hovering around €40 a year, although specialised treatments and care such as oncology are still generally dependent on imports. Imports have been increasing in recent years.
Roughly 8-10% of local production is currently being exported to countries in Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Indeed, according to the Moroccan Association for the Pharmaceutical Industry, exports rose by 16.1% by the end of November 2013, and look set to grow further on the back of an announcement by French pharmaceuticals firm Sanofi that it plans to open a €20m logistics facility in Casablanca to both supply the domestic market as well as export to neighbouring countries.
TEXTILES: The textiles industry is one of the country’s most established industrial segments with 1600 companies operating in the kingdom. Traditionally a major source of exports, it has grappled with an increase in competition from Asian producers including Thailand and China. The end of the multi-fibre accord, combined with the subsequent slump in demand from Europe, the primary export destination, has forced a number of producers to shift attention towards fast fashion – a field where the country’s fortuitous proximity to consumer markets in Europe and the Middle East gives it an edge over Asian competitors. The sector still represents a key component of the country’s economic landscape, accounting for between 175,000 and 200,000 jobs in total and 40% of industry sector jobs, as well as 7% of the country’s GDP, according to the country’s textiles association. The sector also exports Dh31bn (€2.8bn) worth of goods annually. However, 2013 was still a challenging year, and AMDI data shows that by November clothing and stocking exports were down 2.9% and 11.9% y-o-y, respectively.
In order to revive the industry, the government laid forth its 2025 Textile Programme, which is expected to be implemented in 2014 and will aim to triple its current export revenue to Dh90bn (€8bn) by 2025. To this end, the government promised to invest Dh30bn (€2.7bn) into the sector. According to government projections, export revenue would only increase to Dh40bn (€3.6bn) without a strategic plan. The plan will also seek to bolster its focus on clothing, adding a further spotlight on home- and lifestyle-use textiles, as well as technical textiles, which are, for example, used in the agricultural, medicinal and automotive sectors.
Finally, the plan will seek to increase its profits through more domestic consumption, which it hopes to achieve by developing national brands as well as national retail chains. However, achieving the targets will required sustained intervention from the government to improve inclusion and technical capacity, particularly among smaller producers, given the size of the segment’s informal sector, which constitutes around 80% of the industry.
AUTOMOTIVE: The automobile manufacturing sector has been one of the economy’s best-performing in recent years and in 2013 in particular. The industry has benefitted from sustained support from the government through targeted special economic zones and incentive packages, as well as through the PNEI – all of which have sought to boost not only assembly and manufacturing activities, but also component suppliers throughout the value chain. Projections are optimistic for the mid-term. “The sector is growing exponentially, but now it has to fill the order books and meet demand,” Abdelaziz Meftah, the director of Moroccan Association for the Industry and Trade of Automobile, told OBG. According to a report by PwC, the kingdom will be the 19th-largest vehicle producer in the world by 2017. Most production is destined for export, given the limited size of the Moroccan market, where the average number of units sold hovers around 130,000 a year for the population of 33m, roughly 10% that of much more mature markets in Europe. Obada Nassereddine, the CEO of Hyundai Morocco, told OBG, “The Moroccan car market should shrink by 10% in volume in 2013 before recovering and recording steadier growth in 2014.” The sector contributed Dh25bn (€2.2bn) in 2012 to Morocco’s total exports and Dh30bn (€2.7bn) in 2013, representing 35% of the country’s overall exports. Sector exports rose by 19.2%, or Dh4.5bn (€366.6m), by the end of November 2013, with assembled automobiles representing the largest share, at 59.6%, or Dh4bn (€355.2m) of total exports. This figure is expected to increase to Dh45bn (€4bn) between 2014 and 2015.
Job creation has steadily climbed, and between 2010 and 2011 jobs created in the sector jumped by 27%, with a further 20,000 added between 2011 and 2013. To ensure the sector has a well-trained workforce to meet growing demands, three educational institutes have been set up under the Institut de Formation aux Métiers de l’Industrie Automobile umbrella. Two are located in the Tangiers Free Zone and the Atlantic Free Zone to support equipment manufacturers, while the third is near Casablanca to support Société Marocaine de Constructions Automobiles (Somaca), an automotive production site in which France’s Renault owns an 80% share.
Morocco produced a total of 108,743 vehicles in 2012, according to the International Organisation of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers. This was up 83% from the previous year, positioning the kingdom as the largest car manufacturer in North Africa and the second-largest car manufacturer in Africa, behind South Africa. Production and exports are set to rise even more dramatically thanks to the launch of a new production line by Renault, which holds a controlling position in the two main car assembly factories: Somaca and a factory at Mellousa in the Tangiers Free Zone, which is co-owned by Renault and a state-backed fund, CDG, on a 52:48 split. Mellousa, which manufactures cars under Renault’s low-cost Dacia brand, recently underwent expansion through the launch in October 2013 of a second line, doubling annual production capacity to 340,000 units, with further expansions set to raise capacity to 400,000.
Adel Ben-Khaled, former CEO of Leoni Morocco, a firm specialising in wiring solutions for an array of applications, mostly focused on the automotive sector, told OBG, “The development of Renault’s activities has started a virtuous cycle in Morocco by attracting a plethora of high-quality suppliers, allowing more value to be added locally.” The need to attract more suppliers was echoed by others in the sector. “Auto industry suppliers need to pool their activities and collaborate on sourcing in order to encourage new entrants into the Moroccan supply chain and help local value addition.” Abdeslam Benjelloun, managing director of automotive component manufacturer Yazaki Kenitra, told OBG.
AERONAUTICS: A decade ago Morocco’s aeronautics industry was non-existent, but today it is growing rapidly. The segment has benefitted from the Emergence Plan and the PNEI, as well as the establishment of vocational schools targeting the sector, such as the Moroccan Aeronautical Institute, and dedicated industrial zones like Midparc, outside of Casablanca. In 2013 the aeronautics industry represented 5% of Morocco’s GDP, according to the Group of Moroccan Aerospace Industries, yet this figure has been growing at 20% annually. In 2012 the sector represented Dh6.6bn (€588.8m) in exports. The sector employs 10,000 people – a figure expected to double by 2018 – in more than 100 firms, including subsidiaries and affiliates of Airbus, Boeing and EADS. In 2012 the aeronautics industry reached Dh6.5bn (€577.2m), representing 12% of exports, and by September 2013 that figure had increased to 18%, according to AMDI. By November 2013 exports rose by 12.2%, or Dh800m (€71m).
The field has received a steady spate of investments in recent years, with the arrival of Bombardier’s manufacturing plant among the most prominent. The Canadian manufacturer built a 13,935-sq-metre factory located in Midparc, which will be fully operational by the end of 2014. The company projects injecting $200m in investment in Morocco, and by 2020 it will create 850 jobs. The company will use the Moroccan production plant for its CRJ series plane as well as its Learjet 70 and 75. Sagem, a subsidiary of the French firm Safran, will build a new 4000-sq-metre, 150-employee components facility by 2015, with an investment of Dh56m (€5m). Eaton, an international industrial conglomerate, signed a memorandum of understanding with the Moroccan government in 2013 to establish a factory in the Nouacer Midparc free trade zone in 2014 through a $4m investment, which will create 100 jobs.
AGRO-INDUSTRY: In 2008 the government launched the Green Morocco Plan (Plan Maroc Vert, PMV) to boost agricultural output through mechanisms such as increased private investment, improved efficiency and greater downstream processing. The PMV had the target of attracting from Dh110bn-150bn (€9.9bn-13.3bn) into as many as 900 different projects. According to the government, total sector investment increased 117% from 2008-13, rising to more than Dh70bn (€6.2bn). Private sector investment alone rose from Dh3.3bn (€293m) in 2008 to Dh6.3bn (€559.4m) in 2013, more than a 90% increase. Between 2015 and 2020 the government forecasts Dh125bn (€11.1bn) in investments, with Dh52bn (€4.6bn) coming from the private sector.
Exports for the sector increased by 5.1%, or Dh1.5bn (€133.2m), by November 2013, driven by agro-industry, which witnessed an increase of 9.9% in exports, or Dh1.6bn (€142.1m), according to AMDI. The food processing sector has transformed in recent years, with Moroccan brands such as El Jaouda, a diary company, and Agro-Food Industrie, which specialises in halal baby food, increasingly appearing on the shelves of both local and foreign grocery stores.
The industry saw something of a buying spree in 2013, in which major international players acquired local brands. The French brand Danone finalised a deal with Centrale Laitière to increase its stake in the Moroccan dairy firm to 67%, representing €543m, while the US multinational Kraft Foods acquired outright Bimo, a Moroccan biscuit producer, through a $151m deal. Previously, Wilmar International, a major Asian agro-industry group, purchased 27.5% of Cosumar, which specialises in extracting and packaging sugar and had Dh5.8bn (€515m) in revenue in 2010, from the Moroccan holding group Société Nationale d’Investissement.
With turnover of some Dh14.8bn (€1.3bn) in 2013, Société Marocaine des Tabacs (SMT) is the country’s top local agro-industry company. The firm has invested Dh700m (€62.2m) in modernising the industry over the past five years and it works with more than 3000 tobacco growers in Morocco. Paul Leggat, the CEO of SMT, told OBG, “Smuggling has increased over the past 18 months – especially in cigarettes – as a consequence of the increasing taxes in the formal market.” To combat the surge in smuggled cigarettes, SMT recently unveiled two new products for the local market.
ELECTRONICS: The electronics industry, also a key pillar of the PNEI, has provided a hefty source of revenues, equalling Dh7bn (€621.6m) in 2013, with exports growing by 11.9%, according to the Ministry of Finance. Consumer electronics account for a limited part of the total activity, given the modest scale of the domestic market, with a focus on providing electronic components for the aeronautics and automotive sectors. According to press reports, targeted investments could boost the sector’s GDP contributions to Dh3.5bn (€310.8m) by 2015, allowing for the creation of 9000 new jobs, provided the field can expand as a supplier for the still-growing automotive and aeronautics industries through investments similar to Nexans’ $10m Mohammedia plant, which produces some 21,000 km of electrical cable.
SMES: Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have also benefitted from major manufacturers, such as Renault and Bombardier, entering the market in Morocco, as they require subcontractors for their manufacturing needs. “Renault’s new factory in Tangiers was a boost to SMEs. For example, it has provided significant additional business to Moroccan wiring companies. The same is true for Bombardier’s new operations in Morocco,” Saad Hamoumi, the president of the SME committee of the General Confederation of Moroccan Companies, told OBG.
While representing 95% of businesses in Morocco, SMEs find it a challenge to obtain financing for projects, prompting the government to launch programmes to improve their scope for growth. Micro-enterprises have been aided through the Moukawalati programme, which guarantees up to 85% of a bank loan, and an interest-free advance of 10% of investment costs, or a maximum of Dh15,000 (€1332) during the start-up phase. The Imtiaz programme provides an investment allowance of up to Dh5m (€444,000), or 20% of start-up costs. A third programme called Moussanada seeks to bolster SMEs’ competitiveness by enhancing their overall strategy and organisation. The programme can contribute Dh1m (€88,800) to up to 500 SMEs per year. The government is in the process of creating a national observatory to collect statistics on the sector.
OUTLOOK: The industrial sector has seen slower growth due to a challenging exogenous climate, especially in the EU, its biggest trade partner. Growth in some sectors bordered on stagnant. However, some segments saw more robust growth on the back of higher production capacity. The automotive and aeronautics sectors, along with phosphates and derivatives, are expected to continue to perform exceptionally well. Other sectors such as agro-industry will likely see more modest performances as efficiencies and consumer demand stabilises, while textiles will continue to face a competitive global market which could weigh on performance in the mid-term.