The search for partnerships with Brazilian companies was one of the main objectives of Moroccan businessmen who participated in the business roundtables that took place, November 26, at the offices of the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce (CCAB) in São Paulo.
Among the representatives of 12 companies and sector organizations from Morocco, were the president of the Federation of Tourism, Jalil Benabbés-Taarji, who visited Brazil after businessmen in the hotel sector that are interested in investing in the Arab country.
“The great Brazilian experience in the hotel sector may add much to Morocco. Brazilian companies may operate and invest in hotels, mainly in beach resorts,” stated Benabbés-Taarji.
According to him, the country intends to expand its hotel capacity by 100,000 beds in the next six years, and the country currently offers around 10,000 beds a year.
According to Taarji, the tourist flow between both countries may increase significantly after the cooperation agreement in the sector that was signed in Brasília, Brazil’s capital, by King Mohammed VI and President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
“With this accord, I believe that the ministries of Tourism of both countries may provide incentives in this market, investing in marketing to attract both Brazilian and Moroccan tourists,” he said.
He believes that his country may become an interesting destination for Brazilians.
“I know that Brazilians travel to Europe very much, Morocco could therefore be an interesting stop,” he said.
On the other hand, the Moroccans could also come to Brazil more. According to him, the Moroccans love travelling and have great curiosity in visiting Brazil.
He mentioned, for example, that around 500,000 Moroccans travel to Europe every year, and that of this total, between 20,000 and 30,000 could come to Brazil.
So as to simplify the tourist flow between both countries, Taarji also forecasts negotiations with airlines to create a direct flight from Casablanca, to Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo, both cities in southeastern Brazil.
Said El Alj, from agro industry Unimer, is interested in establishing joint ventures with Brazilian companies to use Brazil as an export platform to other countries in the Americas, and Morocco as a sales platform to Africa and Europe. “I made some contacts which, I hope, may become concrete,” stated the businessman.
He stated that his company has experience in production of sardines, olives, capers, preserves and green beans. On the other hand, the country is interested in the import of juices and fruit from Brazil.
Ahmed Rahou, the director of Lesieur Maroc, which produces vegetable oil, also came to Brazil after partnerships.
“Our interest is to establish partnerships with Brazilian companies involved in our area of operation,” he said.
According to him, his company already imports around US$ 100 million a year from Brazil in soy oil in bulk and soy in grain.
“There are opportunities for investment in agro industry in Morocco, in sectors such as sunflower seed and canola oil. And they are not only in manufacture, but in agricultural production too,” stated Rahou.
He is also interested in selling olive oil to Brazil. “Brazil already purchases very much olive oil from countries like Spain and Portugal. We also have good olive oil and are after a partnership to sell it in Brazil,” he declared.
Like El Alj, Rahou made contacts and hopes that, in future, they result in deals. “I hope that a Brazilian mission may be visiting Morocco in the near future,” he said.
According to Michel Alaby, secretary general of the CCAB, the business roundtable is the beginning of a new strategy to seek new partnerships in Morocco.
“The number of contacts was very significant. Various different kinds of contacts were made, and they involved from food products to electric transformers,” he added.
In Alaby’s point of view, Brazil should offer local partnerships. “We must invest in Morocco with Brazilian equipment, taking raw material to be processed in the region and then sell to other countries in the Middle East and North Africa,” he finished off.
Purchases and Sale
The representative from Akwa group, a trading company, in turn, is interested in buying and selling. “I am after Brazilian companies in the oil, gas and telecommunications sectors to export and import,” stated company president Aziz Akhannouch.
The director of Moroccan group PGC, Mustapha Amhal, came to Brazil for the first time seeking exporters of any kind of product. “I want to do business, to buy sugar, biscuits, juice, gas cylinders, software. But I also want to visit the company I will buy from and see their factory,” he explained.
PGC Group is a family company and imports from 20 countries, from Europe, North America, and also from the United Arab Emirates. The group’s distribution chain supplies 60,000 points of sale in Morocco.
Brazilian businessmen also showed up after partnerships, as was the case with Eduardo Moraes, a director at trading company Latinex.
“Our objective is to establish partnerships to produce food in North Africa,” he said. The main products offered by the company are sweets, biscuits and juice.
“Now we want to enter the Arab countries,” stated Moraes, who already exports to Mozambique, Angola, South America and the United States.
In all, representatives from 50 Brazilian companies interested in doing some kind of business with the Moroccan businessmen showed up.
Company Grimaldi Lines, for example, specialized in maritime transport, showed its services not only to Brazilian companies that may export to Morocco, but also to the Moroccans.
“We offered a direct line from Brazil to Morocco,” stated Frederico Diez Pérez, the company director.
ANBA ”“ Brazil-Arab News Agency