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Diversification and creation of added value: a winning strategy for the Souss Massa region

Rabat, July 2021:

Oxford Business Group (OBG) is preparing to publish, in partnership with the Regional Investment Center (CRI), a new Focus Report entitled ‘’The Report: Morocco – Souss Massa 2021’’, exclusively focused on the Souss Massa region, in southern Morocco. Historically known for its tourism activity, which contributes to approximately 15% of Morocco’s tourism GDP, the region has nonetheless resisted the economic crisis due to the Covid-19 pandemic, thanks to diversification efforts made in recent years. The new report from the economic intelligence firm looks back on the programmes to support key sectors, such as tourism, agriculture, or fishing that have been set in motion in the region; and on the medium-term growth strategies that have been adopted. OBG benefited from the support of many important actors for the realisation of this study, namely the region of Souss Massa, the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises, Aveiro, Agadir Innovation City, Afri Equipment, Edco International, Al Omrane, Taiba Group, and Moza Partners.

The report is now ready to view and download at

https://oxfordbusinessgroup.com/news/focus-report-opportunities-value-addition-souss-massa

In addition to an inventory of the Souss Massa economy and the most promising sectors, as well as analyzes of the various development programmes, the report offers case studies dedicated to public and private operators in the region, namely the city ​​of Innovation of Souss Massa, the companies Vetcam, Aveiro Maroc, Afri Equipment, Edco International, Al Omrane, Taiba Group, and Moza Partners. Key actors from the economic and political spheres, such as Marouane Abdelati, Director General of the Regional Investment Center, Brahim Hafidi, President of the Souss Massa Region; and Majid Joundy, President of the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises-Souss Massa, also provided their expertise and discussed short and medium-term growth prospects during featured interviews.

While the Covid-19 pandemic severely affected international tourism, which is one of Souss Massa’s key sectors, other activities protected the region from greater negative economic consequences. The agriculture and fishing sectors, those on which the region’s economy resides, have been relatively untouched by the crisis. The investments made under the Industrial Acceleration Plan have also contributed to the modernisation of the region, and to creating added value in these sectors. Souss Massa is now an important industrial hub thanks to the development of industrial areas, where not only are represented the food processing industries –canning factories and chemical industries, in particular, for which the region is known– but also five emerging sectors with high potential: automotive, leather, plastics, offshoring and construction materials. In addition, due to investing in human resources, the region is now positioned as a leader in the ICT sector and relies on startups to boost its entrepreneurial and digital ecosystem.

Marouane Abdelati, General Director of the Regional Investment Center of the Souss Massa region, welcomed the modernisation of the region, accelerated according to him by the Covid-19 crisis: “The pandemic intensified an appreciation for digital transformation and its benefits. In Souss Massa we understand that digitisation means improved transparency, less bureaucracy, and the creation of a forward-thinking business environment. The use of digital tools helps companies be more efficient, and thanks to the pandemic, the region has embraced a digital-centric value system prioritising digital tools.” He seems equally optimistic regarding perspectives on economic development of Souss-Massa, seeing this recent difficult period as a chance to reflect, which gave way to redefining priorities for the region and refining a growth project. Regarding tourism, public investments to promote the sector for an amount of up to Dh48m dirhams, have been announced. The initiated diversification strategy must continue, in order to no longer depend exclusively on mass tourism, with an emphasis on various market segments and with the region currently developing its offer of sports, cultural, and nature holidays; including eco-responsible and sustainable tourism, and the luxury segment.

According to Brahim Hafidi, President of the Souss Massa Region, “the region has not realised its full economic potential, due to a number of obstacles hindering its further development (…)  Similar to many regions in Africa, Souss Massa is threatened by water scarcity, so managing our water resources is likely to be our greatest challenge.” Other obstacles remain to be overcome to ensure successful diversification, such as “adequate training for the modern labor marketplace”, he added, mentioning the construction of schools specialising in key sectors of the economy in the Souss Massa region.

OBG’s Africa Regional Editorial Bernardo Bruzzone welcomed the release of this new report which highlights a region full of opportunities, saying: “The Souss Massa region is very attractive for investment. Benefiting from a strategic location between North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, it is much more than a touristic destination and an exporter of agricultural and fishery products. The Regional Development Plan launched in 2017 is already bearing fruit, with the creation of more added value for key sectors of the economy and diversification resolutely underway. “

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