Economic and scientific delegation to visit Morocco

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Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin, Head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER), will be accompanied by a large economic and scientific delegation on a mission to Morocco from 14 to 16 October. Official talks are scheduled with the head of the Moroccan government as well as with the ministers for higher education, scientific research and innovation, industry and commerce, and investment, convergence and evaluation of public policies.

The economic and scientific mission will take place after Federal Councillor Parmelin’s participation in the Annual Meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in Marrakech. Mr Parmelin will be accompanied by around twenty representatives from Swiss industry and four representatives from the Swiss scientific community. The objective of the mission is to deepen bilateral economic and scientific relations.

The delegation’s first stop will be at the Université Mohammed VI Polytechnique (UM6P) in Ben Guerir. In 2020 the UM6P launched the Excellence in Africa initiative in collaboration with EPF Lausanne. The initiative aims to support excellence in research across Africa. The delegation will then visit various companies from the aeronautical sector in Nouaceur. Following that, a meeting will take place in Casablanca between representatives of the Swiss and Moroccan private sectors.

On 15 October, Federal Councillor Parmelin will visit Tanger Med, Africa’s leading industrial port complex and a regional economic hub that is a gateway to the African continent. There he will meet with economic actors from the complex and with representatives from the Tanger Med Special Agency, the authority responsible for managing the site.

High-level meetings

On 16 October Mr Parmelin will hold a series of meetings with Moroccan government officials. The first of these will be with Abdellatif Miraoui, Minister of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Innovation (MESRSI), as part of the launch of the Morocco-Switzerland Scientific Days activities. At the event, organised jointly by UM6P and the University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland (HES-SO), Mr Parmelin will announce the launch of a second call for projects between the HES-SO and the MESRSI Research Directorate, scheduled for 2024. The calls for projects aim to strengthen cooperation in the fields of research and innovation. He is also due to meet with Mr Aziz Akhannouch, Head of Government of Morocco, Mr Mohcine Jazouli, Delegate-Minister to the Head of Government of Investment, Convergence and the Evaluation of Public Policies, and Mr Ryad Mezzour, Minister of Trade and Industry.

The official talks will provide an opportunity to discuss the current status of and prospects for bilateral economic and scientific relations. The framework conditions for investment and business opportunities for the Swiss private sector will also be evaluated during the talks.

Good bilateral relations

Switzerland and Morocco enjoy good bilateral economic relations, which are supported by a broad framework of bilateral agreements, including a free trade agreement (via the European Free Trade Association), an investment protection agreement and a double taxation agreement. Thanks to balanced and diversified trade worth CHF 778 million, bilateral trade volume in 2022 was the highest ever recorded between the two countries. More than 50 Swiss companies are present in Morocco, helping to generate a considerable number of jobs and training opportunities.

The two countries also enjoy good relations on the scientific front. These relations are supported by various instruments, such as the mandate entrusted by the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) to the HES-SO as Leading House for North Africa and the Middle East, or the Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships, which enable Moroccan researchers to pursue their work in Switzerland. Moroccans also make up the largest community of African students in Switzerland.