Naam Sayidi aazakallah
Your Majesty, King Mohammed VI
Your Excellency,Mr Edgar Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am deeply honored to speak today, on behalf of the Moroccan business community, at this very major milestone ceremony, in the presence of Your Majesty King Mohammed VI, and Your Excellency Mr Edgar Lungu.
Last Saturday, The first Zambia-Morocco economic Forum, held here in Lusaka, brought together entrepreneurs from both sides. They shared experiences, explored trails of cooperation and sought ways to build partnerships.
The Zambian economy’s new orientation towards diversification through an integrated approach is fully in line with the Moroccan economic roadmap.
On a regional perspective, Zambia’s positioning as a gateway to Three Regional Markets -SADC, COMESA & EAC- and Morocco’s positioning as gateway to Europe, USA and MENA, through 55 free trade agreements, opens for us access to global markets.
A number of sectors of collaboration and investment opportunities have been identified, building on our respective positioning, our mutual strengths and our experiences. They range from energy to modern agriculture, agro industry, mining, tourism, ICT, financial services, infrastructure and housing.
In the energy sector, Zambia has large hydroelectric production capacities. However, climate change requires diversifying sources of electricity supply.
Moroccan companies specializing in wind, solar energy and in electricity infrastructure can support the Zambia Scaling Solar Project, launched recently, and participate in developing electricity grid.
Agriculture is another area where we can forge synergies: The high potential of Zambia’s rich arable land is yet to be tapped and can rely on the experience of Morocco’s “Green Plan” : geared toward leveraging the potential of agriculture, through modern technology and inclusive approach.
Agro industry also offers an interesting floor for investment. Our country exports, for example, over 200 types of processed fruits and vegetables to Africa, Europe, Middle East and USA. Zambian and Moroccan businesses could develop joint ventures for producing and linking processed goods to regional markets.
In housing and real estate, rapid urbanization poses the challenges of designing urban strategies and providing standard housing. Morocco produces around 150.000 social houses per year. Zambia’s 1.5 million unit deficit in the residential segment, challenges Moroccan operators, who have implemented projects in Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Guinea and Mali.
In transportation and Infrastructure, Zambia has designed the “link Zambia 8,000” project to ensure that the country has adequate infrastructure. Moroccan companies have expertise in dry ports, roads, airports, dams, and logistics areas. Some of them have been active at a regional level for 30 years.
Finally, and to support this upcoming dynamic, our banks and insurance companies are major players in the continent and cover 26 countries. They have the ability to adapt to local realities: They support local investment projects and offer tailored products and services. They can participate to productive investments and infrastructure projects in Zambia.
Your Majesty, Mr President, Ladies and Gentlemen,
There is no doubt that the areas of complementarities and co-investment opportunities are multiple and must be captured. The Forum demonstrated that we can reinforce South-South economic integration which Your Majesty called for, in each of the 47 visits you made to 26 African countries.
We have agreed to set up a business council to further enhance cooperation between the private sectors in our countries; and we pledge to build a lasting relationship through invigorating our economic ties. In this respect, agreements will be signed today.
Common challenges and objectives draw us together: decent work to provide and sustainable, shared, growth to achieve. In a fiercely competitive international economic landscape, joining forces is central.
Today we have a duty to act for the future of our youth and to lift our continent to greater heights. Inclusion, innovation, entrepreneurship and responsible business are all levers to play. These are principles that, YourMajesty, have relentlessly advocated in your vision for our Continent.
We are confident that our businesses, that our women and men, Zambians and Moroccans alike, can achieve such lofty goals under your guidance, Your Majesty and Your Excellency.
Thank you for your attention.
Llahy barek fa amerSidi