Q: How is Morocco performing in terms of attracting FDI? Are you happy with its performance this year, and what advantages does Morocco offer foreign investors?
A: We have witnessed a 25% annual increase in FDI, and we are really happy with that. We have also established free-trade agreements with 56 countries, so an investor in Morocco can invest and export without incurring [double] taxation.
We offer a lot of other things. First of all, Morocco’s position between Europe and Africa makes it very strategic. Second, we have a well-educated population and that is very important for companies. Third, the labour costs in Morocco are lower than in a lot of other countries. For example, consider China: over the past five years the salaries paid have increased. The minimum salary now in the east coast of China is $500, and that will further increase by 13% a year in coming years. Yet in Morocco, the minimum salary today stands at $300.
In addition, we offer [prospective companies] financial support. We cover 15% of a company’s investment in order to help companies implement their subsidiary in Morocco. While this is very important for them, it is also important for Morocco because it helps create more jobs.
Q: Who are some of the notable investors that you have attracted to Morocco, and which sectors are you seeking to promote?
A: A few weeks ago, we secured a project with [the US-based company] Eaton, which is a world leader in aerospace, particularly in security, electronic and mechanical technologies. Its turnover is $22bn and it employs more than 100,000 people. It decided to invest in Morocco and build a new company. While in the first stage Eaton has directly employed 500 people, it has also indirectly created more than 1500 roles as its supports an ecosystem around the company's aeronautics work.
[We also attended] the Farnborough Airshow in the UK to meet Alcoa, which is a leading producer of aluminium. This [US-based] company, has more than 61,000 collaborators and is worth $23bn, and is very important for our [aeronautics] ecosystem. It will create a company in Morocco which markets its products to the aeronautical industry. This investment is worth $6.7m and it will employ 200 people. Additionally Aerolia, which is the first French subsidiary of the Airbus Group, with a turnover $1.5bn and an international staff of 10,400 people, will invest $54m in Morocco. It has customers such as Bombardier, Embraer and ATF Aerospace, and at first it will directly employ 500 people. Additionally 1500 jobs will be indirectly created, because Aerolia will also bring with it about seven other companies as part of its ecosystem.
Aeronautics is a very important sector for Morocco. We host more than 110 aeronautical companies from all over the world, including Airbus, Boeing, Safran and Eads. However, we are also working hard to promote more sectors in Morocco. Another interesting sector is construction and automotives. For example, we host more than 200 automotive companies in Morocco. Additionally we have a very strong textiles sector.
Q: What are some interesting global economic trends that Morocco will work to leverage and capitalise on?
A: China’s new strategy to promote domestically driven growth, as well as boost domestic wages, is important. The shift to increase salaries alone has led China to export jobs elsewhere – about 85 million jobs have been exported to other countries. While this shift in strategy is a good dynamic for China, it is also good for several other countries and Morocco will look to capitalise and take advantage of this trend.