Attracting investors through sustainable management of industrial parks across Morocco

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NIRAS delivers technical assistance to a sustainable industrial park project that promotes public-private partnerships in a rapidly industrialising Morocco

August 23, 2022
  • SDG: #8, #9, #12
  • SECTORS: Development Consulting, Building, Infrastructure
  • COUNTRIES: Morocco
  • DONOR: Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact
  • CLIENT: Millennium Challenge Account-Morocco
  • DURATION: 2019-2023

Sustainable industrial parks with a lower carbon footprint are an effective way to attract investment, foster technological learning and innovation, and create jobs while increasing a country’s tax base and maximizing positive social impacts. The $30 million Morocco-US co-financed Funds for Sustainable Industrial Zones project ‒ otherwise known as FONZID ‒ is helping to unlock big industrial development potential in the North African nation by strengthening the sustainable industrial park model.

FONZID supports nine sustainable model projects in eight industrial parks throughout Morocco that were selected out of 300 applications after a thorough evaluation and due diligence process. These projects include creation of multi-services centres, rehabilitation of access roads, and building of new era industries. As part of its focus, FONZID promotes international environmental standards and raises awareness of gender and social inclusion criteria, i.e. securing access to the workplace for people with reduced mobility, imposing anti-human trafficking norms, and taking into account women’s needs.

Nearly 54000

jobs will be created over a period of 20 years


industrial buildings have been constructed


new sites have been established

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FONZID co-finances the expansion of an industrial park according to high environmental standards Photo: MCA Morocco and MCC

The Millennium Challenge Account-Morocco (MCA) is in charge of implementing the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact - a five year co-financed partnership agreement between the US and Moroccan governments. MCA contracted NIRAS and two supporting partners, namely Adalia and Synopter, in 2019 to provide fund management services and other technical assistance to support the implementation, monitoring and closure of the FONZID project activities.The MCA-NIRAS contract , was recently extended until March 2023, granting FONZID nine extra months for implementation.

The NIRAS’s expert team consists of 12 local and 3 international professionals with experience in infrastructure, civil engineering, fund management, finance, monitoring & evaluation, sustainable industrial park management, communications, knowledge management and environmental and social inclusion. They will continue to support the disbursements and monitoring of funds and provide demand-based technical assistance to beneficiaries until the closure of the Compact next year.

FONZID has multiple and cross-cutting objectives: strengthening the model of industrial zones, facilitating an increase of private investments that will create jobs, advertising attractive land and real estate offers in Morocco, and finally, improving the productivity of companies operating in these sustainable industrial parks, their environmental and social performance and their consideration of gender and social inclusion aspects.

Mme Atifa ElBali, MCA-M FONZID Director

Creating a basis for replication and upscaling of sustainable industrial zones

The final phase of the project focuses on activities that  will enable Moroccan stakeholders to replicate and scale up FONZID best practises.

Crucial for continuity is the knowledge management and valorisation activity. It will enable decision-makers and government executives to take full ownership of the project's approach and benefit from the accumulated learning in the form of a tool box. The activity will concentrate all of FONZID's lessons learned, and produce a replication manual that any decision-maker can use in Morocco, but also internationally to replicate the FONZID experience. Thereby, MCC itself can easily capitalise on the Moroccan experience of setting up a fund dedicated to sustainable industrial zones.

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The NIRAS Team Leader Youssef Falahi explains how FONZID support increases investor interest in an industrial park’ Photo: MCA Morocco and MCC

Ahmed Damghi, the Moroccan Team Leader for the knowledge management activity, reflects on the legacy – and potential future – of FONZID: “Through these efforts, NIRAS provides the client with the necessary capacities to realise future editions of FONZID. NIRAS will also propose scenarios for adapting the FONZID vision to its future institutional context. The expert team is fully committed to the success of the project, not only at the level of the knowledge management project unit, but also through all the experts who participated in FONZID and who are now contributing through interviews and workshops. No less than 60 interviews are planned to extract the most valuable lessons from this mission.”

In terms of Ahmed’s future cooperation with NIRAS, he is positive: “It is my first assignment with NIRAS and I have appreciated a number of things throughout the collaboration, namely NIRAS’s level of structure and its organisation, which has allowed us to deal with complex issues in an organised and logical way. That way, I have been able to work within a clear framework with well thought-out terms of references and a mission orientation that ultimately serves the objectives of the project and the client.”

Another activity led by Bouchraya Malainin, the third Moroccan Team leader working on FONZID, currently focuses on building the capacity of the nine park managers benefiting from FONZID co-financing. It aims at making investments sustainable, while preparing a selection of specific support activities and delivers coaching and training for each beneficiary.

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Noëlie Vegas, who is communications expert for T9 highlights the importance of management and soft skills as they are cornerstones of any self-sustained social change: “By advising and coaching the beneficiaries not only on technical but also leadership issues on a day-to-day basis, the team gives them the tools to become actors of their own development.”

Noëlie also notes how gender equality is not only an add-on in the sustainable industrial development project, but rather one of the main deliverables: “Because of the way they have been socialised, women have developed different competences and views on how the world should be. For any development project to be impactful, the inclusion of those insights and skills is an absolute necessity.”

Julie Carcaly

Julie Carcaly

Tender & Project Manager

Paris, France