Saturday, January 24, 2015

Morocco Proposes a "Return Programme" for Expatriates

It is estimated that there are some five million Moroccans living abroad. The skills and knowledge of these Moroccans represents a valuable resource which Morocco is keen to tap into

While not all Moroccans living abroad are financially well-off, there are many who are able to invest at home or return with their skills. For those struggling with the social and economic problems in their countries of residence, the government has pledged that 2015 will see a continuation of the efforts it has already made to assist them. This will involve improved social services at consulates abroad, and development of the partnership with national associations working in the field of Moroccan expatriates and migratory affairs.

Authorities will also put in place a "return programme" to integrate returnees into Morocco's social and economic fabric. In addition, the government intends to provide suitable conditions to guarantee that Moroccans living abroad can easily contribute their skills to the various development projects launched in the kingdom. The minister responsible for Moroccan expatriates and migratory affairs, Anis Birou, has expressed this determination on several occasions.

Anis Birou, Minister for the Moroccans Residing Abroad and Emigration

The ministry plans to establish a detailed profile of the Moroccan diaspora, which is estimated at five million people. Up to now there have been general figures, but they would benefit from being broken down into more detail to give a clear idea of the Moroccans who have settled in the different host countries.

According to official data, more than 16% of Moroccan expatriates are studying or working in the best foreign universities and establishments. The Quebec region alone, for example, has more than 350 Moroccan professors. There are also some 8,000 doctors identified around the world, whilst Morocco has a shortage.

Birou says that the government is very aware of the importance of expats skills for Morocco's development. "Our country has launched some major projects and embarked on far-reaching reforms in all sectors, and those plans need greater involvement of the Moroccan expatriate skills base," the minister said. "Morocco has committed itself to some major projects, particularly in aerospace and the car industry, and yet has not managed to put together skilled human resources in these two specialist fields. This situation requires that we identify Moroccan skills, get them involved, listen to their needs and improve their networking capabilities."

Meanwhile, the minister for higher education, scientific research and management training, Lahcen Daoudi, indicated the time had come to review the methods aimed at attracting Moroccan skills abroad to contribute to the country's development. He announced his government was ready to finance scientific research and any other project put forward by skilled Moroccan expatriates designed to contribute to the country's development.

Karim Zidane
To achieve these targets, it will be necessary to adopt a national action plan involving all stakeholders to benefit skilled Moroccan expatriates. That message was underlined by Karim Zidane, who chairs the German-Moroccan Skills Network (DMK).

The objective is to bring together all the efforts and individual initiatives currently under way to increase the diaspora's contribution to the various development programmes, Zidane explained.

In the field of investment, the government has promised to provide guidance for Moroccan expatriates looking to participate in the kingdom's economy.

According to Bouchaib Rami, president of the Moroccan Expatriate Investors' Club (CME), administrative and bank procedures are no longer an obstacle to investment. He pointed out that efforts have been made by the public authorities and the banking sector, which has not held back from financing projects put forward by Moroccan expatriates.

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