Moroccan tech leaders discuss innovation at Global Investment Forum

“Israel and Morocco signed 14 agreements for academic cooperation between academic institutions."

 Innovation 2022 and Beyond at the Global Investment Forum (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Innovation 2022 and Beyond at the Global Investment Forum
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Two leading Moroccan experts in innovation and hi-tech – Youssef El Bari and Mehdi Alaoui – participated in a panel discussion together with Einat Levi, Consultant to the Israeli Ministry of Regional Cooperation and Start-up Nation Central, at the recent Jerusalem Post Global Investment Forum in Marrakech, Morocco.

The panel, entitled “Innovation 2022 and Beyond,” was moderated by Poonam Chawla, head of Content Partnerships, Events & Conferences at the conference’s co-sponsor, the Khaleej Times.

The key to the Moroccan economy: Universities

Mehdi Alaoui, CEO and founder of LaStartupStation and member of the board of directors of the Moroccan National Federation of IT, told Chawla that Morocco’s success in becoming one of the leading countries in the tech industry in Africa is due to the government’s strategy and initiative in this area.

The government has launched Morocco’s brand in this area, calling it “Morocco Tech.” Since the launch of the brand, said Alaoui, more than 15,000 new jobs have been created, and hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested.The government will be investing a large amount of money over the next four years to develop and train the country’s youth in technology, he said.

“We truly believe that Morocco will be the source of energy of the start-up and tech ecosystem in Israel in the future,” said Alaoui.

Youssef El Bari, director of the Investment and Innovation Division at Innovx-OCP Group, told Chawla that universities are a key in transforming the Moroccan economy into an innovation-driven system.

Levi noted that the relations between Israel and Morocco are based on the shared cultural values of the a million Moroccan Jews living in Israel and the active Jewish community of Morocco.

“Culture creates trust,” she said, “and allows us to create a very strategic story for partnership.”

Levi mentioned two projects that Start-up Nation Central has initiated in this area. The first will integrate Moroccan hi-tech talent into Israeli companies by utilizing Moroccan programmers who will remain in the country and work from Morocco, thus preventing a “brain drain” of Moroccan talent.

A second project is a bilateral mobility program for PhD students between the countries.“Israel and Morocco signed 14 agreements for academic cooperation between academic institutions, and we want to see the students moving between these countries,” she said. “This is the future.”