Investment opportunities in Nigeria and Morocco have received a boost as businessmen from the two countries met in Rabat, the capital of Morocco.
The meeting was held under the Nigeria Morocco Business Council, which is an initiative of entrepreneurs from the two countries.
The business council was established on March 29, 2021 after entrepreneurs from both countries signed a bilateral agreement during a visit to Morocco by a Nigerian delegation.
Charge de Affairs of the Nigerian Mission in Morocco, Haruna Musa, acknowledged the Moroccan delegation same as was done to the Nigerian delegation by the Chairman, Morocco chambers of commerce, M. Abbad Abdullah.
The council, a private sector driven initiative, is to explore and break new grounds for business opportunities in the two countries, and to improve the existing ones for better results.
Amidst cheers and understanding, the joint board of trustees also adopted the name and constitution of the council.
Chairmen of the council, Yusuf Hamisu Abubakar (Nigeria) and Dr. Najib Kettani (Morocco), said strategies were mapped out on how to develop a sustainable economic and trade relationship.
Part of the strategies was the joint consultative meeting held between the entrepreneurs, which actors from various sectors of the economy came together, engaged themselves on approaches to businesses in different areas of interest, for better collaboration.
Entrepreneurs at the meeting harped on investments in agriculture, telecommunications, energy, culture, tourism and sport; infrastructure, science and real estate; education; digital sciences and technology.
The co-chairman of the council (Nigeria), Abubakar, said the Nigerian delegation has very committed people with diverse business interests to ensure highly profitable relationship and partnership for all investors.
He said Morocco is a manufacturing base that needed patronage from Nigeria’s over 200 million population.
“Nigeria being the biggest economy in Africa, and Morocco as the highest Francophone investor after France, with good manufacturing base, the two countries should, at the level of the private sector, have closer relationship,” he said.
He noted that both countries have had a long standing cultural, religious and commercial links to leverage on, formalise and expand, so as to determine the modalities of harnessing business areas beneficial to them.
“The leaders of our two countries, President Muhammadu Buhari and his Majesty King Mohammed IV, are set to ensure that the two countries work together and realize the potentials for the benefit of our people, our countries and Africa.
“We, as business leaders, it is our responsibility to make sure that we work toward the realization of those objectives because it is through businesses that we can achieve the aspiration, and that is why we form the Nigeria/Morocco Business Council,” he added.
Abubakar also reminded the convention that, both Nigeria and Morocco are signatories to the African Continental Free Trade Zone (AfCFT), which the council will also take its advantage.
The Chairman of Rabat chamber of commerce, M. Abbad Abdullah, said the council came at the right time to support the high level of talks and agreements between leaders of the two countries.
“Signing the convention has strengthened the cooperative mechanism between our two countries,” he noted.
Investors cross-breed ideas
Mr Othmane Ibn Ghazala, the CEO of Iktichaf Travel and Accelab, said he engaged one of the Nigerian entrepreneurs, Shamsudeen Sanusi Ahmad, on how they will jointly invest in tourism business.
Ghazala said he has clients from all over the world, including Nigeria, and each has specifications in the kind of weather, climate and section of the world to visit.
“It was easy when I started but the kind of request I got from clients these days demand more hands and expansion. I’m happy Nigerian investors are here to help me expand and give a better service in West Africa,” he said.
Also, the chairman of the delegation, Yusuf Hamisu Abubakar, expressed interest in animal husbandry, specifically cattle for meat and milk production.
Abubakar, who led members of the delegation to a centre for artificial insemination in Kentra, sought for proposal on how similar investment can be made feasible in Nigeria.
He also sought for the management’s support to design a pilot cattle ranch that will be sited in Nigeria to bolster meat and milk productive capacity that will attract more investment and enhance commercial cooperation with Morocco.
Livestock makes up one third of the 15% agricultural contribution to Morocco’s GDP. Also, agriculture employs 45% of the country’s workforce.
Othmane Kettani, an international consultant and founder of K-sport said he’s into talks with Nigerian entrepreneur, Ahmed Shu’aibu-Gara Gombe, to strengthen the sports connection with Nigeria.
He said, Morocco and Africa are aware of the leading role of Nigeria in the area of sport and as sports consultant and businessman, they would have strong partnership in that aspect.
“Nigeria has outstanding players like Kanu, Okocha etc. I’m organising an international football competition for old African players and these legendary Nigerian players will take part.
“I’m happy that the connection starts immediately after the consultative meeting.
“In football, Morocco is a great fan of Nigeria, I remember when Nigeria beat Brazil and Argentina to win in Atlanta. Moroccans, including my mother, celebrated that victory,” he added.
Nigerians tour of Moroccan investments
The Nigerian delegation also toured private investments in Morocco for future partnerships, especially in agriculture.
Rhali Mohammed, Chief Operating Officer of African Network Centre, led the delegation to the centre for artificial insemination in Kentra where improved cattle species were displayed for prospective investors.
The Nigeria delegation on the council includes Yusuf H. Abubakar (president); Hon. Shina Abiola Peller (vice president); Chief Chibunna I. O. Ubawuike (2nd vice president); and Mr. Ahmed Shuaibu-Gara Gombe (secretary-general).
Others are Dr. Yunusa Ahmad Abubakar (member); Alaja Latifat Aduke Balogun (member); Engr. Garba A. Haruna (member); Hussaini Abubakar Monguno (member); Shamsuddeen Sanusi Ahmad (member); and Prince Sule-Iko Sadeeq Sani Sami (member).
Among the Co-leaders of the Morocco delegation are Dr. Najib Kettani (chairman); Dr. Farid Ferhat (secretary-general); and Mr. Said Rihani (member).