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SPECIAL REPORT OVERVIEW


Jesko Hentschel, theWorld Bank’s director


for the Maghreb region, says that in a country where employment and skills is the “Achilles heel” of those in working age — and espe- cially the young — the job creation in TMZ is a “huge boost”. The city of Tangier, the capital of Morocco’s


northernmost region located 40kmto the west of Tanger Med port, has also benefited from the success ofTMZ. The city has grown from beingMorocco’s fifth largest byGDP contribu- tion in 2005, to become the second largest in 2019, afterMorocco’s business capital Casablanca.


Portprowess Since its inauguration in 2007, TangerMedport has grownexponentially to become the busiest by container volume and best connected across the whole of Africa, according toUnctad’s liner shipping connectivity index. The decision to build the port40kmeast of


Tangier on Morocco’s Mediterranean coast, just 14kmfrom Europe, has allowed it to be along major maritime routes from bothEast toWest, andNorthto South, “offering minimal vessel deviation for shipping lines”, says Chantal McRoberts, a principal consultant at Drewry, an independent maritime researchcompany. “Morocco has positioned itself withTanger


Medas one of themost moderntransshipment ports in theworld,” saysMrHentschel of the World Bank. “The top-quality infrastructure, shipping


companies, logistics and service providers to run the whole operation is a signal for the country’s development,” he adds. Withconnections to 186 ports in 77 coun-


tries, TangerMedhas also solidified its position as an attractive location forcompanies wanting to export intomarkets across Africa, Europe, the Americas and Asia-Pacific. In 2019,TMZposted record exportsworth$8.8bn,upby6%froma year earlier, and a more than20%increase from 2017, according toTMZfigures. Following the inauguration of a second ter-


minal at TangerMedin 2019, the container capacity increased to 9 million twenty-foot


equivalent units (TEUs), providing even further scope for export-orientedcompanies to setupin the industrial platform. Yasmina Abouzzohour, a visiting fellowat


the Brookings Doha Center, says that Tanger Medport stands out internationally,owing to its strategic location along the Strait of Gibraltar, withthe governmenthoping this will increase job creation and foreign investment. “In terms of youthunemployment and given


the growing population, Morocco requires upwards of 349,333 jobs to be created per year,” she adds, contending that the port is unlikely to meet these goals in the immediate term. While it might not meet immediate job crea-


tion goals, TangerMedhasmadea significant contribution to the increase in Morocco’s inward stock of FDI, which rose from $8.8bn in 2000 tomore than $66bn in 2019, according to data fromUnctad. This is higher than any other country within the Maghreb region.


One-stopshop Central to TMZ’s offering to foreign investors is that it is a single point of contact and simplifies Morocco’s sometimescomplicated legislative regime (see page 108). “Morocco has multiple legal regimes for


land, so it can sometimes be quitecomplicated for investorswhenchoosing a site as there are different stakeholders and ministries,” says Saad El Mernissi, a partner at global lawfirmDLA Piper,whohas advised inward investors to Morocco for over 13 years. “The one-stopshop offered [by TMZ] streamlines the process as inves- tors can discuss directly withthe free zone oper- ator on matters such as authorisation, contract agreements and tax,” he adds. MrMrhardy says thatnewtenants are also


“welcomed and supported by the immense pool of talents coming from our specialised training institutions, and universities, towork for high- performing corporations across a range of cut- ting-edge sectors of activities”. Specialised institutions for target industries


include Morocco’s automotive training school IFMIA, and the recently created renewable energy training institute IFMEREE.


MOROCCO HAS MULTIPLE LEGAL REGIMES FOR LAND, SO IT CAN BE COMPLICATED FOR INVESTORS


98 www.fDiIntelligence.com December 2020/January 2021


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