OPPORTUNITIES ABOUND

Morocco 2020/21 | ECONOMY | INTERVIEW

By supporting Moroccan companies to diversify, adapt, and open up new business lines, AMDIE strives to encourage growth opportunities for local businesses.

Hicham Boudraa
BIOGRAPHY

Hicham Boudraa has been the Acting General Manager of AMDIE since 2015. He had integrated Invest in Morocco in 2011 as CFO in charge of all the support activities of the agency. With over 20 years of experience in public and private institutions, he began his career as a management controller in the textile industry. He then joined GlaxoSmithKline (Pharmaceuticals) as a financial controller and a member of the executive committee. He also occupied the position of CFO as well as member of the executive committee at the National Office of Tourisme for almost six years. Boudraa is an Alakhawayn alumnus. He is a holder of an MBA degree with a major in finance and a minor in management. He obtained the CFC ISCAE certificate in accounting and financial audit in 2003.

What makes Morocco a good destination for investment?
Morocco's political and economic stability is the number-one reason why investors choose it over other countries. The Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy, which gives us stability and a clear shortand long-term vision. All the necessary short-term strategies are in place, including sectorial and ministerial strategies, to oversee the yearly performance of programs and initiatives. Then, there are long-term strategies guaranteed by the monarchy. For example, it is not possible for a new government to make changes to the tax regime easily. This guarantees stability to investors. This stability has wide-ranging effects on the overall economy, including macroeconomic indicators and the exchange rate. Furthermore, Morocco has state-of-theart infrastructure, a key geographical location, and FTAs that give access to more than 1.3 billion consumers in 56 countries. We also recently signed agreements with several African countries, and in 2019 we ratified the establishment of the new African Free Trade Zone (AFTZ). In addition, Moroccan offers highly skilled and talented human resources.

What are the main opportunities for Moroccan exporters?
There are opportunities to be found in any crisis so we must be ready to seize and track them anytime and anywhere. The consequences of COVID-19 have resulted in a global reshaping of value chains all over the world, in particular in the Mediterranean. This is particularly the case for the EU, which might start reviewing some of its positions and economic alliances on the international stage. The EU could consider reestablishing its existing model of the automotive or even aeronautics in other sectors of activity. Here too, Morocco continues to claim a number of advantages for European operators. Despite higher production costs than in other Asian countries, the kingdom offers unbeatable geographic proximity and logistical efficiency. In addition, thanks to its extensive network of free trade agreements (direct access to more than 1.3 billion consumers in 56 countries), Morocco presents itself as a re-export platform to several other countries and continents. In addition, the government offers technical and financial support as well as tax exemptions for the set-up of foreign investors, not to mention its highly specialized and equipped industrial acceleration zones. Another main point is recommending and identifying together the tools, which will combine foreign investment in Morocco, national investment, and the development of the Made in Morocco export. Furthermore, this pandemic could undoubtedly offer one of the main cross-border collaboration beneficiaries for Morocco: accelerating the major global process of nearshoring.

How is AMDIE helping SMEs?
In the current economic crisis, AMDIE is accelerating its efforts to support Moroccan companies in their search for new niches for growth and international business performance. We are recommending and promoting diversification, adaptation, and opening up to new business lines, as well as focusing on export added value. These new strategies can be a successfully leverage to remain productive and competitive in these harsh times. Our goal is to create the groundwork for growth opportunities for Moroccan businesses. If these capacities are acquired and implemented by SMEs, it could help to capture new deals and lower the risk of a potential shutdown. In June 2020, the Ministry of Industry, Trade, Green and Digital Economy launched a set of full support tools and programs dedicated to the Moroccan industrial SMEs. The objective is to give a strong boost to their growth and com