The agility of the Moroccan private sector in adapting its production chain to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic was highlighted in a recent report by the Oxford Business Group, which stressed Morocco’s “significant strides” in diversifying and strengthening its economy and industry.
The London-based institute commends Morocco for its early and swift response and for being capable of building on its industrial assets to meet its needs in terms of anti-Covid equipment amid a global supply chain disruption and rising demand.
“Morocco boasts a robust and diversified industrial base, developed through years of heavy investment, that was able to support the country’s actions to control the pandemic and mitigate supply chain disruptions,” OBG said in a report co-authored with Moroccan Agency for Investment and Export Development (AMDIE).
When the pandemic broke out, the North African Kingdom could reap the benefits of its industrial plan, one of the strongest in Africa, with 54 industrial clusters, created in segments such as automobiles, aeronautics, agri-business, textiles and pharmaceuticals.
The report cites in particular Morocco’s ability to satisfy its domestic needs and export surplus in terms of facemasks. Between May 21 and June 8, sixty-nine Moroccan firms produced and exported 18.5m masks to 11 countries, including France, Portugal, Spain and Germany.
“Textiles producers were not only able to overcome immediate challenges, but managed to capitalize on new opportunities brought on by increased demand,” the document said.
Aeronautical companies switched production to ventilators, key to saving lives infected by Covid-19.
“The device was manufactured with cost-competitive and readily available domestic components, and its technical characteristics and performance meet all relevant international medical standards. In addition, the consortium made available detailed instructions for how to make the respirator to allow production to scale up quickly,” OBG said.
The investment friendly climate and robust infrastructure with Africa’s fastest train, Morocco is likely to benefit from manufacturers looking to relocate Asia-based production, as supply chain disruptions have resulted in many companies pursuing a strategy of nearshoring, the report said.
“Morocco’s position as a regional manufacturing leader and its strategic location joining Europe, Africa and the Middle East provides opportunity for further expansion, namely building on existing partnerships with European and US firms. At the same time, the pandemic has demonstrated the importance of manufacturing self-sufficiency and local content, both of which could provide opportunities for aeronautical manufacturers that already have advanced capabilities to produce key equipment,” it said.
On the back of such developments, Morocco ranked 53rd out of 190 countries in the World Bank’s 2020 ease of doing business index, with this ranking largely attributed to wider adoption of digital solutions in the public sector.