1st edition, 2015

Print Email

Focus on the Kingdom of Morocco

Interview with the Belgian Ambassador to Morocco, H.E.M. Frank Carruet

image003H.E.M Frank Carruet and Mr. Qaisar Hijazin

How do you look at Belgium-Morocco relations since you arrived in October 2013?

As you know, the bilateral relations between our two countries are more than excellent not only economically but also in the political and socio-cultural fields. This year, we celebrated the 60th anniversary of the emigration from Morocco to Belgium. To this end, various events were organized throughout the year in both countries to commemorate this special anniversary.

The Belgian-Moroccan community in Belgium is estimated upon 500.000 citizens concentrated around and in urban areas such as Brussels and Antwerp. At the most recent elections, 11 Members of Parliament from Moroccan origin were elected.

Since my arrival, the Embassy is overwhelmed by countless visits in all the different areas of cooperation and as well as at the federal and regional level.

Several companies such as Besix, Waterleau, DEME, Jan De Nul, and Puratos, to name but a few, are active in Morocco. In your opinion, what could be done to bring in more Belgian investments in the country, and what are the opportunities that Morocco offers to Belgian investors?

Indeed, since my arrival in Morocco, I have noticed that a vast number of Belgian companies are active in different fields such as infrastructure, consultancy, construction (architects), engineering, agroindustry, renewable energy, etcetera.

Moreover, the trade balance between our two countries is positive and is growing significantly. However, one year of observation has allowed me to come to the conclusion that there is a need for an action plan to concentrate our efforts into a few “booming” and attractive areas.

After a thorough investigation of the needs and strategic policy plans of the Moroccan authorities (port vision, renewable energy vision,…) we, together with the Consul General and the Trade Commissioners of the regions in Casablanca, identified a few “niches” where our companies can make the difference:

  • infrastructure projects(construction of new ports, building and housing projects,…)
  • renewable energy
  • logistics
  • education through transfer of know how or expertise

Through my contacts with the Moroccan authorities, I can only confirm that the demand for intense cooperation with Belgium is huge and durable.

On the other hand what are the specific strengths of Belgium to attract investments from Morocco?

Thanks to its central location in one of the most wealthy and developed regions in the world, the opportunities to export from Belgium are numerous and varied.

Considering Morocco as a hub to Africa, Belgium is seen as a logistic springboard to Europe mainly thanks to the highly developed logistic system (road, train, sea, waterways or multimodal transport) supported by world-class telecommunication infrastructure.

The Belgian workforce has one of the highest productivity levels in the EU combined with a well performing education system and the ability to speak multiple languages.

Last but not least, Belgium enjoys one of the best “quality of life” standards in Europe. Its major assets lie in household living space, advanced healthcare system, social services and the presence of a great number of excellent international schools. I strongly believe that Moroccans are very well aware of these assets since the link between both countries is intense.

On the event of the second session of the High Mixed Commission of the Belgo-Moroccan Partnership, in February 2014, an important delegation of Moroccan Businessmen and women, accompanied by the Moroccan Prime Minister and the main ministers of his cabinet headed to Egmont Palace where various conventions, memorandum, and agreements were signed. This testifies that Belgium and Morocco are enjoying a solid relation. Thus, as a last question, where do you see this relationship 10 years down the lane?

Indeed, in February 2014, the High Mixed Commission was organized in Brussels under the chairmanship of the two Prime Ministers. To this occasion, several agreements, conventions and memorandums were signed. For instance, as a result of this crucial meeting, a political dialogue will start as of January 2015 in order to have an exchange of views regarding different bilateral and multilateral issues.

I am convinced that by improving the communication assets of both countries, progress will yet be made in particular in the economical and commercial fields.

In the near future, we will work towards establishing on the one hand a better performing network of alumni associations who studied in Belgium and can be regarded as the best Ambassadors for our country. On the other hand, one needs to strongly convince the Moroccan community in Belgium to reinvest into their country of origin.

Furthermore, an emphasis needs to be put on the scientific and educational cooperation between our universities in areas such as bio- and nanotechnology and engineering.

Finally, I have a dream that Morocco could be joining the EU in the next 10 years…

More information on regulations, procedures and concrete investment opportunities

Visit:

Contact:

  • Casablanca Chamber of Commerce: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Belgian Embassy in Morocco: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Belgian Consulat in Morocco This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Moroccan Embassy in Belgium: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Economic and Commercial Attaché (AWEX) – Mr. Takis Kakayannis: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Economic and Commercial Attaché (FIT) – Mrs. Conny Van Wulpen: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Arab-Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Edited by Sonia Devergnies, 11 December 2014

Luxembourg: to deepen economic ties with Morocco

From December 7 until December 12 2014, the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce joined for the very first time an economic mission organized by the Arab Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce (ABLCC). It was a mission heading to the Kingdom of Morocco. In the following paragraphs, the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce (LCC) representative, Daniel Sahr, the African market advisor of the chamber, describes his impressions and shares his highlights.

image004Fltr: Mr. Takis Kakyannis, Mr. Mohammed Benayad, Mr. Qaisar Hijazin, Mr. Daniel Sahr

“When I saw on the ABLCC website that a mission was planned to visit the Kingdom of Morocco, I immediately recognized the great opportunity it would represent for the LCC to be part of that mission since we foresaw already for a while to organize an Official Mission by a Luxembourg Government representative to Morocco in 2015. After my first contact with Mr. Hijazin, the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce was even invited to become a co-organizer of this mission, a great honour which had to be accepted. This invitation underlined not only the excellent cooperation which exists between both chambers but offered to the LCC also a great visibility towards Moroccan counterparts. Today this proves already to be a real benefit in the preparation of our Luxembourg mission to Morocco.

Right after our arrival at Casablanca airport and on our way to the city centre, I was overwhelmed by the dynamism of this booming city, and this despite the fact that it was a Sunday. From the very beginning, starting with our first meeting at the Casablanca Chamber of Commerce, you felt the spirit of the warm Arabian welcome. The fact that French is widely spoken makes it very easy to communicate with Moroccan businesspeople and the authorities. However, it takes some time to be fully embedded in the Moroccan business culture, but with the great help of the Belgian commercial attachés, Conny Van Wulpen and Takis Kakayannis, based in Morocco, every businesswoman or businessman can find her/his way.

Looking at the various sectors, I must admit that for each and everyone Morocco offers opportunities. At every corner of the city you see new buildings popping up and in the near future they will host international companies looking to develop their presence on the African continent, using Morocco as a gateway into this huge market. Morocco clearly positions itself as THE hub towards Africa. But also outsourcing represents another niche. Not only in the industrial sector but more and more also in the services sectors, like ICT for example, you see European companies having their presence or opening new offices.

The lunch organized by the Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce in Morocco was therefore a perfect occasion for exchanges between the delegates and those Belgian and Luxembourg businesses that are already present for many years.

All these various meetings organized by the ABLCC were very helpful to gain a better understanding which sectors Luxembourg should focus on during the trade mission. Specifically the sectors of ICT and eco-technologies will be targeted and I believe that partnerships and cooperations can be forged in these fields. I learnt also that Morocco wants to develop its exports into the German and Northern European markets. Luxembourg can play an important role with regard to these developments.

Professionally and personally, my participation in this ABLCC mission was a great success. On top of the useful business contacts which were initiated in view of our upcoming Official Mission to Morocco, the social gathering and the networking with the Belgian delegates was an excellent opportunity to share views and experiences about doing business in Morocco. I am convinced that all these new friends will prove to be of great help in the coming months when we plan our mission.

Rarely Morocco has been considered by the Luxembourg business community but after this pre-mission, I believe that the LCC can be more efficient in bringing this rising country closer to them.

Last but not least, I would like to thank Mr Hijazin and Ms Devergnies for their great support and the excellent leadership of this mission.

Our Partners

ablcc-partners banner-off