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Valladao, Alfredo - Aeronautics in Morocco, an unexpected success story (2020)

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Valladao, Alfredo - Aeronautics in Morocco, an Unexpected Success Story

Policy Center for the New South (Policy Paper - February 2020)

The Moroccan aeronautics ecosystem represents one of the best industrial success stories in a developing country. Of course, Morocco does not produce aircraft. The global aviation market is dominated by the Boeing - Airbus duopoly. However, such dominance in terms of finished aircraft does not mean that there is no room for other industrial players or other countries. On the contrary. Modern aircraft production chains are among the most fragmented in the world, both in terms of the myriad of tier 1, 2, 3 and 4 subcontractors and their geographical distribution. Today, barely twenty years after the launch of the first initiative in the sector, the industry in Morocco has become the main exporter of aeronautical equipment, parts and components on the African continent. Recently, it has even surpassed South Africa's.

How could a developing country - admittedly a "middle-income" country but still suffering from deep social inequalities (123rd in the Human Development Index classification) - succeed in this bet? Convincing the giant Boeing to invest in a remote developing country with no aeronautical tradition was far from easy. Even if it was only to produce equipment that required high quality standards. It was no easier to persuade a large player like Safran to invest in Morocco, even if it was close to France. The first steps in the direction of an aeronautical industry were taken by two executives who were former classmates at the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris - Mohammed Hassad (CEO of RAM, 1995-2001) and Jean-Paul Béchat (CEO of Snecma). In 1996, the two friends decided to launch a service company specializing in the maintenance and repair of CFM56 engines and APUs: Snecma Morocco Engine Services, which uses Royal Air Maroc's facilities at Casablanca airport.

Alfredo G. A. Valladão is a professor at the Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA) of Sciences Po Paris and Senior Fellow at the Policy Center for the New South.

28 pages - in French

This report was published by, and is the property of, the Policy Center for the New South. PCNS is a Moroccan think tank whose mission is to contribute to the improvement of public policies that concern Morocco and Africa.