Abdelghani Youmni’s roadmap of Moroccan economic recovery advises the building of a resilient domestic industry alongside PPP-driven foreign investment.
Economist Abdelghani Youmni highlighted the potential of public-private partnerships (PPP) and foreign investment in facilitating Morocco’s post-COVID economic recovery.
Youmni, who specializes in public policies in the MENA region, said the two tools can serve as motors for economic recovery after the global health crisis in an interview with Maghreb Arab Press (MAP). The two are inter-related as PPPs are a potent method to attract global investors, explained the economist.
Europeans should, according to Youmni, be pragmatic about their trade deals. It lies in the geostrategic interest of Europe, with a “developed but aging” population, to consider integrating its business dealings with a “younger but less advanced” arena south of the Mediterranean, he continued. Morocco is geographically the closest of the envisioned southern partners.
Each of the business partners will then contribute according to their expertise, with the West bringing “capital, technology, and managerial know-how,” while Morocco will supply “land, buildings, infrastructure, non-penalizing taxation (…), and a flexible, qualified and vigorous workforce.”
Youmni also referred to the model of IBM’s partnership with OCP as an example for future PPPs. At the same time, the economist—echoing Nezha Lahrichi, a prominent Moroccan economist who also expressed opinions on a post-COVID Moroccan economy—stressed the crucial importance of the North African country strengthening its domestic output, especially in the wake of growing global environmental awareness.
The manufacturing industry, and in particular “the automobile, aeronautics, textiles, pharmaceuticals and food industries,” should be specialized internally, according to Youmni. An industrially strong Morocco could be a reliable partner where environmentally responsible European companies could establish joint ventures, he added.
Youmni also warned against Western-style loan-based economic growth, public procurement, and over-reliance on the primary industrial sector. Instead, industrial systems with high added value should flourish, which will help reduce social inequalities in Morocco, he concluded.
The issue of economic recovery after COVID-19 is now a trending topic among Moroccan economists. There seems to be a general agreement over the fact that the global health crisis poses an opportunity for restructuring the Moroccan economy both domestically and internationally.
Both Nezha Lahrichi and Omar Kettani laid out their plans for Morocco’s economic recovery. The two university professors pointed at the need to support domestically produced goods, but with different foci. Lahrichi advocated for a degree of strategic industrial autonomy while Kettani focused on supporting rural development with funds and training.
Moroccan authorities, together with the country’s business sector, have contributed to nationwide solidarity efforts. Damane Oxygene, a program launched on March 27 to protect businesses against COVID-induced financial hardship, is gradually expanding and clarifying available benefits.