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Economy 2014-03-27

Morocco, Mali plan B2B projects

By Hassan Benmehdi in Casablanca for Magharebia – 27/03/2014

Economic and trade co-operation between Morocco and Mali is moving toward concrete steps.

One month after King Mohammed VI led a ministerial delegation to Bamako, Moroccan and Malian economic leaders unveiled their 2014-2016 joint action plan.

The initiative unveiled on Monday (March 24th) provides for the organisation of the Bamako International Fair next September, where Morocco will be the guest of honour.

The Moroccan Centre for Export Promotion (Morocco Export), the Office of Fairs and Expositions de Casablanca (OFEC) and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Mali (CCIM) held two meetings this month to work on several collaborative projects.

In 2015, the two sides will organise Moroccan Business-to-Business Missions (B2B) in Mali in the construction and public works, information and communication technology, and textile and leather sectors.

Food and energy sectors will benefit from similar missions in 2016.

The action plan also brings Malian businessmen to Moroccan exhibitions in the construction, water, electricity, textile, and medicine sectors.

Badou Guey, a Senegalese journalist living in Casablanca, said that this initiative demonstrated that the Moroccan-Malian partnership was not limited to statements of good intentions.

''The plan illustrates the determination of both countries to strengthen economic co-operation as a model for South-South partnership," he told Magharebia.

For Khalidou Colibaly, a Malian businessman visiting Casablanca, the action plan reflects the desire of both parties to make sense of their economic co-operation. ''As for entrepreneurs, it is an opportunity to invest more in promising projects,'' he said.

Moroccan business leaders are also enthusiastic about the planned partnerships.

''Investment in sub-Saharan Africa is today a source of growth for Moroccan companies facing a limited local market,'' said Kamal Younsi, a manager for a construction company.

Abdou El Mellali, a real estate operator, said with conviction that Mali was "an important market in terms of housing".

Meanwhile, officials and business figures from Mali and Morocco are drafting a busy schedule.

According to the signed action plan, both parties will organise a student forum, to be held in Mali in 2016. Similarly, a Malian economic, commercial, and cultural day will be held on the side-lines of Mali's participation in the Ramadan trade fair in July 2014.

Malian officials will attend the Maroc Export event next month.

Trade Minister Moulay Hafid Elalamy declared that the main objective of this agreement was to assist Moroccan and Malian efforts to promote exports.

''This synergy will serve the national productive fabric of each country, boost trade relations between the Moroccan companies and their Malian counterparts, and facilitate the mutual development of their business,'' the Moroccan minister said.

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