Jun. 5, 2020

Hamid Benbrahim El Andaloussi


Hamid Benbrahim El Andaloussi

Founder & Honorary Chairman, GIMAS (Moroccan Aerospace Association)

“There are three major markets for aerospace in the world: the US, Europe, and China.”


Hamid Benbrahim El Andaloussi is Founder & Honorary Chairman of GIMAS (Moroccan Aerospace Association).

Can you provide a general overview of the aerospace sector of Morocco, which has grown exponentially in the last 10 years?

2020 represents the 20th anniversary of the emergence of the aerospace industry cluster in Morocco. Today, there are 140 companies, and the 2020 objective is 20,000 jobs, USD2 billion of export turnover, 40% of local added value, and 40% of women in our teams. We have had a growth rate of 17-18% on average in the last five to six years. Today, the Moroccan aerospace base is recognized as the most competitive base at the door of Europe, the second-largest aerospace market in the world. Morocco has attracted major players such as Boeing, Safran, Bombardier - Spirit (which acquired Bombardier), Stellia (Airbus subsidiary), Thales and Hexcel in the composite technologies, as well as many SMEs such as Tecalemit, GOAM, TDM aerospace and others. Today, we are moving on to Phase II of aeronautics that we are calling Aerospace 2.0. This phase is characterized by attracting new Ecosystems even more complicated such as the engine, composite materials, embedded electronics, 3D printing, fiber optics, and others. Phase II is about going faster, further and higher. The first one, faster, is about attracting new companies. In the beginning, we attracted many French companies, and today we are attracting American, Canadian, and even Japanese companies, in MIDPARC, the Moroccan Aerospace Cluster Casablanca Going further is about attracting companies beyond the field of aeronautics, namely defense, on-board, electronics, energy, composite materials, medical, and engineering… because these are aeronautic sisters industries. Going higher implies more added value, namely overcoming or “escaping the trap” of low-cost production and becoming a hub for technological research. 20 years ago, we started with a workforce asset; today, Phase II is intelligence, technological research, and engineering. If we want to boost our aeronautics, automobile, and electronics industries and make these sectors more robust over time and we must increase the local add value and attract technological research. Otherwise, in the coming years AI will destroy some of the jobs, and other more competitive countries will also pull in other industries from Morocco. To me, now in Morocco we have gone beyond the concept of manpower is, it is force power, and force power includes not only the cost of labor but also talents, added value dedicated people, flexibility... if today there is an aerospace industry in Morocco, it is because we have nearly 20,000 young people who are highly dedicated to their jobs.

What will make Morocco preferable to other countries then?

What makes Morocco different is its capacity to provide talents and solutions for SMEs, as they have technology and markets, but they need to be more competitive. How can they be competitive? There are two solutions: innovation and talents. Here, they can find the talents they need, which is why we built the Moroccan Aerospace Institute (IMA) Casablanca, with the high value aerospace cluster just across the road. We work with universities to provide training for the engineers needed for the aeronautical professions.

Does the public sector offer the specific training needed in the field?

This is one of my day-to-day concerns: creating more links with universities to be able to provide the talents that we need, namely young people with engineering education, the ability to use simulation systems, can speak English, and have the right skills. For our Aerospace Phase II, we will focus more on talents and highly skilled persons. When we talk about aerospace today, we are talking about a number of sectors, namely assembly ecosystems; for example, everything from aircraft and engine maintenance to electrical and engineering. However, we are in the process of adding other bricks to aerospace, such as engines, on-board electronics, composites, and manufacturing. Through the IMA, we train our engineers and give them the skills and the values. It is important that we teach all these young people an ethical sense and integrity, how to innovate, quality, responsibility, professionalism, delivery on time, customer orientation, and education.

How did Morocco become the most competitive base for Europe?

There are three major markets for aerospace in the world: the US, Europe, and China. To penetrate the US with competitive costs, one needs to have a part of their business located in Mexico, because the costs in Mexico are a third of the costs in the US. For Europe, it used to be Eastern Europe or Ireland, but in the last years Eastern Europe joined EU and prices increased, for the benefit of Morocco. Close to Europe, there is no more competitive region than Morocco; Turkey is 35% more expensive, while Tunisia is really small and does not have a large base . That is why in September 2017 Boeing signed an agreement for USD1 billion per year to outsource from Morocco to draw 120 companies and employ 8,700 people. The last two reasons for our success are because we have a dedicated cluster here, Midparc, and because we established IMA to supply talents.

What role has GIMAS played in the development of aeronautics in Morocco?

GIMAS represents the industry, the valued partner of the state to promote Morocco as aerospace industry base. We set up a join marketing and communications plans for international airshows and BtoB meetings, we receive yearly at least 40 missions from companies who come to Morocco to visit, and when they see what we do, it encourages them to invest here.