Hubs for an economic partnership towards Africa and Europe

Under the theme “Morocco-Belgium & Grand Duchy of Luxembourg: hubs for an economic partnership towards Africa and Europe”, the Moroccan Association of Exporters (ASMEX) held a webinar in collaboration with the Belgian Chamber of Commerce -Luxembourgeoise au Maroc (CCBLM). The meeting was held in the presence of Hassan Sentissi, President of ASMEX, Edwin Sluismans, President of the CCBLM, Abdelaziz Mantrach, Vice-President of ASMEX-CCBLM, the representative of HE Mr. Marc Trenteseau, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium in Morocco, as well as a panel of experts specializing in trade between Africa and Europe.

Quoted in an ASMEX press release, Abdelaziz Mantrach, Vice-President of ASMEX-CCBLM underlined that “ the collaboration between Morocco and the Belgian-Luxembourg region is an opportunity to create win-win partnerships and a sharing of value between our countriess ”. Indeed, Morocco is considered an essential hub from Africa to Europe, as well as a gateway to the African market. And Belgium and Luxembourg are right at the crossroads of European and extra-continental sea, road and air routes, says ASMEX.

The same source continues that representatives of the regions of Wallonia, Flanders and Antwerp, true Belgian economic hubs, underlined their central position and their direct connections to thousands of ports in the world. Quoted by ASMEX, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium in Morocco said in a letter addressed to the participants: “There is room for a rise in our respective countries and a significant development of our activities towards Africa and Europe.“.

Indeed, investing in the Moroccan hub comes with many advantages in terms of access to the entire African continent, according to ASMEX. She emphasizes that through the creation of ” joint ventures’ and other partnerships, Belgian-Luxembourgish exporters can benefit from better port rates as well as tax-free zones, particularly in terms of storage of goods. Road and sea lines are also facilitated, with quick turnaround times and very interesting logistical traffic, explained Nicolas Rougerie, Sales and Marketing Director of TIMAR.

Morocco is therefore positioned as a connector between Africa and Europe, believes the association, and allows European operators to benefit from an export platform to African markets. Moroccan banks also play a role of locomotive and support.

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In addition, ASMEX and CCBLM are working together to encourage trade between the two countries. Indeed, the CCBLM has accompanied dozens of Moroccan companies to the European market, especially in the retail sector, indicates the association. Sluismans, quoted in the press release, specified that Moroccan products have proved to be extremely competitive but that it is nevertheless important for companies interested in this market to take into consideration the processes of regulatory convergence and European standards.

The Moroccan Association of Exporters did not fail to recall that the Kingdom of Morocco is currently positioned as the 42nd customer and the 51st supplier of Belgium. Exports of goods from Belgium to Morocco increased by 37% between 2011 and 2019. They nevertheless experienced a decrease of 12.9% between 2019 and 2020, falling from 981.7 to 854.9 million euros. . Imports from Morocco increased by 18.7% between 2019 and 2020, from 382.1 million to 453.5 million euros.

In terms of products traded, the most exported goods from Belgium to Morocco are base metals (22.2%), machinery and equipment (19.4%), and chemicals (18.5%). In terms of services, the main sectors are communications (27.9%), transport (22.7%) and financial services (10.3%). Morocco, for its part, exports mainly chemicals (37.1%), transport equipment (18.3%) and machinery and equipment (10.5%). The Kingdom also exports services, particularly in the tourist traffic (45.4%), communications (22.9%) and transport (10.6%) sectors.

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