The first stop was Rwanda for the 2nd edition of African Business Connect. A business forum organized by BMCE Bank of Africa and Morocco Export.
It was the first large-scale business mission to visit the country, which is still associated with the genocide that occurred on 7 April 1994.
A delegation made up of more than 120 people, from nearly 80 companies came to explore economic opportunities in Rwanda, the land of a thousand hills and one of the most dynamic countries on the African continent.
For the President of the Rwandan Private Sector Federation, Benjamin Gasamagera, if there is “Made in Morocco”, then “Made in Rwanda” is also possible.
He told euronews:
“It is a program that is very close to our hearts and it is one for which we have high expectations. It is a transformative program and the Rwandan private sector is looking for ways to develop this program and make it a reality. “
The 2nd stage of the business mission was held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania around 1400km away from Kagili.
Two hundred and twenty local companies responded to the Moroccan delegation’s invitation. Over 1100 meetings between entrepreneurs were conducted, that’s twice the number organised in Rwanda.
We caught up with Zanzibar’s Minister of Finance and Planning – Khalid Salum Mohamed- who explained:
“Bringing investors and business communities from the two sides will help exchange, you know, views; exchange experiences; know the opportunity that exists between, you know, these two countries. And in that respect we will forge cooperation in the area of trade and investment which is being emphasised.”
The Moroccan delegation left Dar es Salaam (which means “the home of peace”)and set off for Antananarivo in Madagascar, the third and last stop for African Business Connect in Southern Africa.
This third stage was marked by the participation of nearly 350 Malgasy companies operating in various sectors including energy, transport, basic infrastructure, agriculture and water.
Olivier Mahafaly Solonandrasana, Prime Minister of Madagascar offered insight into what the event means to the country, saying:
“Today’s meeting is a symbol of the success of South-South cooperation. Morocco has already made considerable progress in economic terms and we in Madagascar want to keep up with Morocco’s so that we can boost our economy”.
The objective was also to showcase the potential for cooperation between Morocco and these countries in various fields including the metal industry, financial services, construction, real estate, health and energy. Several meetings were held in this way to highlight Moroccan companies’ export and internationalization potential. And the outcome of these meetings was more than positive
Hicham Bendahir, a Business Unit Manager with m2m Group said:
“We want to explore partnership possibilities with Malagasy operators in order to accompany them in the digital domain in which we are pioneers”.
We then got the chance to talk to, Hafid Khedidj, a global export manager at Energy Transfo. He outlined his hopes for what the event will bring:
“The precise aim of this mission is to explore new markets on which we are present indirectly via European distributors.These markets are unknown to us, these are markets we had a lot of apprehension about much more compared to our Asian competitors.”
Moroccan entrepreneurs have expressed their intention to invest in growth sectors such as public and private construction, new technologies, energy and pharmaceuticals.
For the co-organizers of this Business Road Trip, Morocco Export and BMCE Bank of Africa, the results obtained far exceeded expectations. And a new business mission in the region is already being studied.
Zahra Maafiri, General Manager of Maroc Export told euronews:
“We are all committed to helping each other, exchanging information and expertise, developing certain industries, certain sectors – together for these countries and even for the whole region.”
80% of Moroccan operators would be interested in investing first in Rwanda. In Tanzania, less than 20% are ready to take the plunge. Madagascar, on the other hand, has attracted more than 60% of the potential Moroccan investors.
African Business Connect will continue to utilise BMCE Bank of Africa Group’s networks and expertise for the development of Moroccan companies abroad by organising new missions to other regions of Africa.
The Moroccan delegation returned to Casablanca on a positive note after a 14-hour-flight from the Malagasy capital.