Morocco's government was faced with a problem. Its food processing and textile industries – which combined represented more than half of the country's industrial GDP and almost three-quarters of its exports, according to figures from McKinsey – were facing increased competition from countries that were offering lower costs and better access to natural resources. With this in mind, the government went back to the drawing board and produced a strategy dubbed 'the Moroccan offer', the intention of which is to achieve new industrial growth by offering world-class infrastructure and qualified human resources to businesses keen on reducing their cost base.

With a view of the EU across the Gibraltar Strait, the government identified an opportunity for Morocco to become a leading provider of offshore services to European companies. “The government mandated McKinsey to complete a study on Morocco’s offshoring sector, and following its recommendations, MedZ Sourcing was charged, within the government’s strategy, with constructing and building offshoring zones around Morocco,” says Abderrafie Hanouf, director-general of MedZ Sourcing.

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Created as a subsidiary of the Moroccan public financial institution CDG Group, MedZ Sourcing is Morocco’s leading developer and designer of integrated business parks, with 65 hectares dedicated to nearshoring and new technologies based in well-known metropolises such as Casablanca, as well as up-and-coming cities such as Fez and Agadir. With investment projected to reach $1bn over the next five years, MedZ Sourcing aims to develop and manage competitive clusters that offer businesses cost-effective, efficient services and infrastructure.

“The offshoring sector generates $712m (Dh6bn),” says Mr Hanouf. “About 100 international companies have trusted us and established their business in our parks, and this has led to the creation of 20,000 jobs.”

Regionalisation drive

Regionalising development has been a key pillar of the government’s economic policy, and MedZ Sourcing’s move to establish a range of parks across Morocco exemplifies this diversification strategy. The choice to base Technopolis park at the heart of Morocco’s capital city, Rabat, illustrates the move to promote competitive business hubs outside of Casablanca. Intended as a platform to promote a synergy between higher education, R&D and enterprise, this technological park is representative of the government’s push to create hubs that offer investors high added value products and services.

"In 2011 the World Bank crowned Morocco as the Best Global Reformer," says Mr Hanouf. "Morocco’s dynamism can be found in our parks. We have created a very business-friendly environment for the companies operating there. For example, companies established within our parks are offered a reduced revenue tax scheme of 20%, from 38%, in their first five years of operation."

Satisfied customersTechnopolis has experienced notable success in attracting businesses, and as the US-based supplier of automotive seating systems and electrical power management systems Lear Corporation reveals, the unique business environment offered by the park presents international companies with unrivalled advantages of remaining competitive while providing their customers the best solutions. “As a global company with 200 facilities in 35 countries, we aim to enlarge our footprint worldwide,” says Aissam Chaouki, Lear Corporation’s plant manager in Rabat. “Morocco enables Lear to remain competitive as it gives our customers the best solutions.”

With the European market just three hours away from Rabat by air, the move by Lear to establish its electronic business plant in Technopolis, which started production in 2011, was strategic. “Lear’s success in Morocco is due to the collaboration between us and the government,” says Mariano de Torres, Lear Corporation’s European and African vice-president for electrical power management systems. “It helped us establish ourselves by doing everything it could, and we are convinced about the strategic value of the Moroccan footprint.”