A key pillar of Morocco’s industrial acceleration programme that ran from 2014 to 2020 was to advance the offshoring sector, the embodiment of the country’s transition from industrial to innovative technology-enabled growth.

Led by the Moroccan government’s national strategy on IT and software development, an attractive package of fiscal incentives is offered to prospective inward investors in the offshoring sector. These include uncapped income tax of 20%, labour tax relief and government support for new employment of up to Ä6000 per job.

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Tétouan Shore, which is one of the six activity zones across the Tanger Med Zones (TMZ) platform – was established as a dedicated park for small and medium-sized enterprises across 20,230 square metres, offering space for companies in sectors such as IT, business processing and knowledge process outsourcing. 

Companies that have set up in the offshoring-focused zone include Everis, a subsidiary of Japan’s NTT Data, and FD Solutions, a subsidiary of US-based Flow Designs.

Talent assistance

Frederic Sabbah, the director of Everis’s Moroccan operations, says that Tétouan Shore “offers ready-to-run facilities in terms of connectivity, telecoms operator and open and flexible spaces that can be set up according to the needs of each customer”. 

Central to the company’s decision to open an IT outsourcing service centre in  Shore was the availability of IT talent in the Tanger-Tétouan-Al Hoceima region, which has several universities and training centres, including the Faculty of Sciences of Tétouan, training centre OFPPT and Morocco’s national school of science. 

Mr Sabbah says that TMZ have made setting up easier by managing administrative activity and providing advice on IT talent sourcing. 

“We are satisfied with the technical skills of the talent that we are hiring,” he adds. “We invest in developing and reinforcing English and Spanish language skills but also soft skills to prepare the next generation of leaders who should lead our office of up to 500 professionals in the coming years.”

Morocco’s stock of IT professionals is estimated to reach 100,000 in 2020, according to TMZ figures.

Platform lift

While several multinationals and start-ups have set up in Tétouan Shore, there is further activity in the other zones within TMZ. 

In 2019, French outsourcing specialist MyOpla opened a 3200-square-metre customer contact centre in Tanger Free Zone, adding to its existing Tétouan Shore operations.

Belgian-based Digital Tech Consulting, a specialist in the creation and maintenance of software for the banking and insurance sectors, also moved to TMZ to develop IT services and better serve its national and international clients. 

The ICT sector across Morocco as a whole has grown substantially over the past two decades, from just 700 employees in 1999 to more than 68,000 employees in 2019, according to TMZ figures.

A benchmarking study of north African countries (excluding Libya) found that Morocco has the best quality ICT infrastructure in the region, according to investment destination comparison tool fDi Benchmark. Morocco also had the highest ICT expenditure as a percentage of GDP (13.54%) and the largest number of secure internet servers per one million people.

Meeting demand

Following increased demand from investors and the promotion of almost 80% of the existing 531,000-square-metre area in Tétouan Park, the TMZ authorities launched an extension of the area – Tétouan Park Phase 4 – in partnership with public institutions jointly backed by the US and Moroccan governments – namely, Fonzid, MCA and MCC Morocco. 

Tétouan Park Phase 4 will include, among other things, three rental warehouses to house female and young entrepreneurs and people with reduce mobility, green spaces and a 420 kWc photovoltaic park.

“Offshoring still has some room to increase and grow and we hope that many other companies of the sector will be following in our footsteps in this wonderful region,” concludes Mr Sabbah.

This article first appeared in the December/January print edition of fDi Intelligence. View a digital edition of the magazine here.