Textiles-apparel industry biggest employer in Morocco
The Maroc in Mode trade show serves as the showcase for the Moroccan textiles industry. For more than 50 years, AMITH, the Moroccan textiles association, has been representing the interests of a sector with more than 1,600 companies. AMITH plays a leading role in the promotion and development of the industry. Director-General Fatima-Zohra Alaoui speaks to Paulami Chatterjee.
Can you give us an overview of the Moroccan textiles and apparel industry?
The Moroccan textiles and apparel (T&A) industry is a highly strategic sector of the country's economy. Making garments is part of our DNA. The T&A industry is the top industrial employer, providing jobs for more than 185,000 people and accounting for one-fourth of exports of goods amounting to €3.6 billion in 2018. With more than 1,600 companies, the industry has an annual production capacity of 1 billion pieces.
What are some of the biggest textile & apparel projects undertaken either by the government or private sector companies that the country is currently focusing on?
The industry jointly designed and implemented with the Moroccan ministry of industry an ambitious strategy in 2015 to enhance the added value of the sector and support the transition of Moroccan manufacturers from CMT to FOB production. One of the objectives of this strategy is to turn the T&A industry from an order taker to a solution provider. As a result, significant investments were made over the past four years, including those in new technologies and sustainability. Today, the focus is on strengthening the upstream of the Moroccan textiles value chain as the industry currently imports most of the materials and accessories it uses to make garments. This will definitely enhance the competitiveness of Moroccan manufacturers and improve even more their already strong speed-to-market capabilities. Another area where the focus is strong is sustainability with investments being undertaken not only in the denim subsector with technologies such as ozone, eflow and laser being put in place, but also in the whole industry with upcoming investment projects to set up a comprehensive circular ecosystem in Morocco.
Which are the biggest investments that Morocco has received through FDI?
The past few years have seen a surge in FDI in Morocco in all segments of the textiles value chain. The country's political and social stability, its strategic geographical location and its state-of-the-art infrastructure are all assets that make Morocco attractive to FDI. As a result, investors from Spain, Turkey, Portugal and China, to name a few, have made significant investments in the Moroccan textiles industry to benefit from this conductive business environment. In addition, given the overall industrial strategy put in place in Morocco, with sectors like the automotive and the aerospace industries recording exceptional growth, we are confident additional FDI will flow to Morocco to build on the synergies the Moroccan economy can offer, including in technical textiles.
What was the number of visitors for this year's edition of Maroc in Mode? What is the trend you are noticing every year? Who were the new additions?
Maroc in Mode is in its 17th edition this year. We received more than 1,000 visitors from several European countries, including France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany and the UK, as well as visitors from Morocco. In terms of suppliers, there were exhibitors from Portugal, Turkey, Pakistan and China as well in Maroc Sourcing which is dedicated to fabrics, trims, accessories and services. We are happy about the increasing number of exhibitors as well as the numerous visitors as a result of promotion efforts which are increasingly directed towards new countries. In addition, two partnership conventions were signed between AMITH and UIT (the French trade association for the textile industry), on the one hand, and AMITH and UFIMH (the French union of fashion & apparel industries) on the other hand, both aiming at reinforcing the cooperation between the French and the Moroccan T&A industries.
What was the main theme and key highlights of this edition?
The fair had a quite dense conference programme over two days, tackling issues of major importance for our industry. Accordingly, the main topics that were discussed over the two days of the fair revolved around digitalisation and sustainability, along with discussions on how to further improve the added value of the products that the Moroccan T&A industry offers.
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