- Interview with Ambassador Chafik Rachadi of Morocco
Ambassador Chafik Rachadi of the Kingdom of Morocco in Seoul said that thanks to the respective booming economies between Korea and Morocco, cooperation opportunities abound and suffer no shortages between the two countries, Morocco being the 5th African economic power and Korea the 4th Asian economic power.
Speaking at a recent interview with The Korea Post media, Ambassador Rachadi said that there were many areas where the business organizations of the two countries can cooperate with each other for mutual benefit, including industry tourism, agriculture, fisheries and ICT. Excerpts from the interview follow:
|His Majesty King Mohammed VI|
Question: What would you particularly want to work on to strengthen the bilateral relations during your tenure?
Answer: What I wish to make known to the readers is that Morocco and Korea share much more than deep historic and friendship bonds. Indeed, it is important to note that, thanks to their respective booming economies, cooperation opportunities abound and suffer no shortages between Morocco (5th African economic power) and Korea (4th Asian economic power).
Korean businesses have more than ever an exclusive opportunity to accompany Morocco – a political and stable safe-haven in a region of turbulence and a highly competitive African Hub and gateway – in its ongoing trend towards emergence.
To name but a few instances, what Korean investors will find in my country is a breeding ground for opportunities provided namely by the impressive array of ambitious sectorial strategies in every vital areas such as industry (“Emergence Plan”), tourism (“Azur Plan”), agriculture (“Morocco Green Plan”), fishing (“Halieutis Plan”), ICT (“Morocco Numeric Plan”); etc.
The Moroccan Market is what we call “the next big thing” for Korean and foreign companies alike, given that large corporate groups from all over the world are currently experiencing success stories in Morocco, from Renault-Nissan, PSA Peugeot-Citroën to Boeing.
I am afraid I might take up more of the time allotted to this interview to give a general overview of the Moroccan Market and all the possibilities it offers! The doors of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco are wide open to anyone interested in having further details, specific information or guidance.
Being a previous Businessman myself, I can only understand most of the concerns and what needs to be done to conclude mutually beneficial partnerships. This is why I will personally spare no efforts to serve as a dedicated intermediary between my Country and the increasingly growing number of Korean businessmen who have massively expressed their interest in my Country over the last year. Besides, Morocco and Korea share areas of common interest such as infrastructure, ICTs, technical and scientific trainings, energy, water resources management, environment protection and the automotive and aeronautic industry.
|Ambassador Chafik Rachadi of Morocco|
Q: What can you say about the bilateral relations between your country and Korea?
A: As a new Ambassador of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, I consider myself lucky to have been nominated to serve one of Morocco’s strongest bilateral relations, that is to say with the Republic of Korea, a longstanding Brother and Partner Country.
This solid bond is, since and before the establishment of the diplomatic relations in 1962, not just a matter of longevity, but rather the result of content, deep friendship, respect and historical similarities which configured both Morocco and Korea to understand each other and to see eye to eye on many issues of national, regional, international and multilateral interest.
The good news is that, on top of their excellent state, the Moroccan-Korean bilateral relations have gained tremendous momentum throughout the last decade with an ever growing number of high-level visits, bilateral agreements, economic perspectives, technical cooperation, people-to-people exchanges the list goes on and spans through an unprecedented number of cooperation fields.
This is precisely what I will endeavor to deepen and uphold under my tenure for which I outlaid an ambitious roadmap of key actions to undertake for the qualitative strengthening of the bilateral cooperation and Partnership.
To quote Mr. Chung Hong-won’s words (when he paid an official visit to Morocco back in November 2014 as the then Korean Prime Minister): “If Korea as a partner can take profit from Morocco’s position, then the cooperation between both countries will be raised to a creative example of bilateral cooperation in the 21st century”.
So, it is safe to say that, today, the Moroccan-Korean relations have many grounds to cheer especially for the upcoming years which will put both our countries on a crucial strategic turning point. I am personally happy that this will be all the more enforced with the advent of the new Governments on both sides.
|National emblem of Morocco|
Q: What then can you say to Korean businesses about Morocco?
A: Actually, Morocco and Korea can be quite complementary as both countries have the ability to create winning synergies by combing Korea’s cutting edge technical expertise and state of the art know-how to Morocco’s young and highly qualified workforce and geostrategic position. Such cooperation would be the definition of a win-win partnership for Morocco and Korea as Korean companies would also gain in competitiveness and international prestige enjoy an excellent reputation.
In more concrete terms, now is a promising time for Korean companies to think about Morocco and all it has to offer: a flourishing democratic and social constitutional Monarchy of 32.5 million inhabitants; a constantly improving business climate; endearing investment incentives; a 4.9% average economic growth; cost competitiveness (low wages and low tax rates), strong and stable macroeconomic performances (resilience towards crises, controlled inflation); world class infrastructure (“Tanger-Med” Port, a highway network connecting the 10 major cities, 15 international airports, a wide network of economic activities Zones, telecommunications infrastructure with 129% mobile penetration and 16 million internet users); a qualified labor force; etc. Thanks to its proactive and strategic thinking, Morocco heavily invested in solar energy (with a strategic position and abundant solar resources of a potential of 2 600 kWh/m²/year), wind energy (with a huge potential in wind power estimated at 25,000 MW) while qualitatively modernizing its tourism, agriculture, fishing, logistics, retail and ICT areas.
I had several occasions to realize that what might shy Korean businessmen and investors away from venturing in my Country is often the preconceived fear of a “language barrier” which is fairly understandable. I wish therefore to reassure them and inform them that Morocco’s workforce has unique advanced linguistics capacities, with a large penetration of English among young people and management staff, with over 10 million French speakers, with over 6 million Spanish speakers and so forth. In reality, it is not a barrier but rather a strategic and an ideal economic springboard.
Moreover, with its geographic location and secular fraternity with African countries, Morocco has the ability to expand the successful cooperation with Korea to include Africa in a triangular “win-win-win” partnership.
This is why for me, cooperating with Korea offers two major assets: sharing the expertise of an advanced country and benefiting from an empathetic Partner who is sensitive to the needs of developing and emerging countries.
|Ambassador Chafik Rachadi of Morocco (left) with Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post media after an interview.|
Q: What is the current volume of bilateral trade?
A: According to the latest available figures dated 2016, the volume currently stands at $703,000,000 with a share of $544,000,000 exports and $159,000,000 for imports, which is quite encouraging for the future.
The Republic of Korea is the 39th client of Morocco and its 18th supplier. Morocco is Korea’s 77th client and 79th supplier. What Morocco mostly exports to Korea are: phosphates, fisheries, transistors, electronic parts or crude mineral, plant and animal products. Morocco primarily imports finished industrial and consumer goods, cars and auto-parts from Korea.
This shows that, while being on a foot of steady and substantive growth, the volume of bilateral trade is on its course to gain full potential with the new momentum gained by the level of economic interactions in trade and investment over the last years.
Q: Please introduce in detail the National Day of your esteemed country.
A: It is my pleasure to introduce, not the “National Day”, but the “Throne Day of the Kingdom of Morocco”, which marks this year, the 18th anniversary of the accession of His Majesty King Mohammed VI to the Throne. Major parades and festivities lull all the corners of the Kingdom celebrate during
This highly festive and symbolic event occurs, since 1999, every July 30th and bears a very deep and special meaning for all Moroccan nationals, in Morocco and all over the world. On top of the celebrated Anniversary, Moroccans also commemorate the renewing of the long-standing tradition of the “Act of allegiance” (Bey’a), which is a binding contract between the King and the People.
With such a deep symbolic, the Throne Day is a unique tribute to: the millennial and perennial King/People attachment; to the Unity of the Nation and the State; and to the belief in a future, compliant with the hopes of the Moroccan People to live in dignity, prosperity, peace, and security.
Forged by more than 12 centuries of History, Morocco’s Monarchy has always been the driver behind the Nation’s building and progress. This was made possible thanks to the lifetime achievements of the dedicated Kings of Morocco.
Since His enthronement, His Majesty King Mohammed VI has placed the Human element at the center of His policies, braving all difficulties and challenges ahead. Every Throne Day, since 1999, has been an occasion for the King to announce the launch of major upcoming restructuring projects and policies. Indeed, as a far-sighted King close to His people, He undertook the bet of insuring the well-being of all Moroccans through deep, long-term, and audacious reform campaigns.
To mention just a few of the King’s daring moves: He launched the revision of the Family Code (thus improving the legal status of women), the creation of the “National Initiative of Human Development (INDH)” (to adapt humanist, social, and economic considerations to solve precariousness), and recently, the new Constitution, adopted by referendum in 2011, which substantially reinforced the stability of the political edifice of Morocco.
To track Morocco on the path of Emerging countries, the Moroccan Monarch has spared no efforts to upgrade the country into a thriving Nation, where the fundamental values of democracy, human rights, justice, good governance, market economy and social development are cardinal hallmarks.
As a result, the last 18 years of the King’s reign have given birth to a “New Morocco” and to a leading regional and international hub.
With the belief that success is only sustainable if shared, the King’s actions were never exclusive to Morocco but always encompassed the African Continent, through strong longstanding bilateral relations and a relentless South-South cooperation, residing at the heart of the Moroccan Foreign policy. Morocco is also a member of the African Union and recently joined the ECOWAS community, as a result of its continued commitment to the wellbeing and development of the African Continent.
|Archaeological Site of Volubilis - UNESCO World Heritage Centre|
Q: Please introduce yourself and your hobbies.
A: Before taking up the hat of “Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of His Majesty the King” of Morocco, I was the incumbent Vice-President of the House of Representatives of the Moroccan Parliament where I was an MP for three consecutive terms from 2002 to 2016. In this framework, I lead and facilitated several projects and partnerships between the House of Representatives and other partners, such as the World Bank, Westminster Foundation for Democracy and the European Union in activities supporting and building the capacities of the Parliament in terms of legislation, evaluation of public policies, accountability, oversight and e-Parliament.
I was previously elected President of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Services (CCIS) of Settat-City and Vice-President of the Federation of Moroccan Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Services (FCMCIS); and first Vice-President of the Arab Labour Organization (ALO) between 2009 and 2011. Among other functions, I also served as President of the Industrialists Association of Berrechid (AIB) and General Secretary of the “Association of Professional of Trucks and Body Builders “GPLC”.
I actively participated in the management of the House of Representatives as a Member of the Board between 2007 and 2009 and managed to publish the first Magazine of the House of Representatives by the end of the October session in 2008. While working in the Parliament, I was deeply involved with technical and scientific studies for financial bills and the preparation and introduction of several bills.
After obtaining a Master in Finance and Management Control from Orleans (France), a BA in Business Administration from Montreal (Canada), and a Degree in international management from Fontainebleau (France), I obtained a Ph.D. in Private Law, with a specialization in industrial property, from Perpignan (France).
|Touristic attraction in Marrakech, a major city of the Kingdom of Morocco.|
Q: Please add whatever other details that we might have left out from our questionnaire.
A: Other than thanking you for this interview and congratulating The Korea Post on its 32nd anniversary, I can only wish more prosperity and eternal success to your magazine, your Readers and to the Republic of Korea.
Kim Sua firstname.lastname@example.org