NIRAS in Morocco: A sustainable and inclusive approach in support of a burgeoning economy

NIRAS In Morocco Banner Photo

Morocco’s big potential within development can be a catalyst for redirection, especially for a country with a booming economy.

Morocco is rapidly industrialising and holds big potential in private sector development and renewable energy. NIRAS is invested in ensuring growth occurs in a balanced and green way for the benefit of all citizens.

January 24, 2023
  • SDG: #5, #8, #9, #10, #11, #13
  • SECTORS: Development Consulting
  • COUNTRIES: Morocco

Morocco is a stable regional power. Nevertheless, despite significant leaps within its development in the last few decades, the North African nation still struggles with issues concerning sustainability. Apart from the significant disparity in development between urban and rural areas, poverty remains particularly problematic in the latter. High unemployment rates especially among the youth and poor vocational skills pose significant challenges, too. In addition, water scarcity and the effects of climate change are increasing.  

Fortunately, Morocco’s big potential within development combined with its important regional location and plethora of experts who work widely across North Africa and the Middle East can be a catalyst for redirection, especially for a country with a booming economy. NIRAS recognises this and consequently will be opening an office in Rabat in the course of 2023. Establishing a local presence is natural step for us as we have long-running experience in several regions of Morocco, particularly in industrialisation, governance, green transition and social equality projects, and our experts are well acquainted with the economic and political landscape of the country.  

At present, we have several ongoing projects in Morocco.

NIRAS In Morocco (1)

Strengthening participatory democracy 

The EU has been running a programme supporting citizen and civil society participation in local governance in five regions of Morocco and, since March 2022, NIRAS has been working with the EU Delegation in Rabat to capitalise on best practices and recommendations in this area. In addition to monitoring and coordination of other aspects of the programme, NIRAS’s support to the Delegation involves expanding knowledge on the implementation of public policies relating to civic participation and making better use of good project practices, tools, approaches, and innovative actions to enhance participatory governance. An important aspect of this is to develop a communication and visibility strategy supporting these objectives so effective results can be shared and scaled up. 

The project team comprised of Massimiliano Di Tota and Fadoua Maroub recently completed the inception phase where they evaluated participatory processes and developed a matrix for capitalising on the good practices of participatory democracy. The team is currently working on methodological proposals, focusing on reconciling the technical and human dimensions of the project.  

According to Fadoua, “NIRAS is supporting the client on the basis of the strategy already defined not only to have an impact during the period of the project development but also to have a lasting impact on the public debate and public space in Morocco.”

NIRAS In Morocco (2)

Support for the ‘greening’ of Morocco 

Also working in collaboration with the EU Delegation in Rabat, the overarching goal of this project team is to support the country's green transition and fight against climate change in the framework of the Morocco’s Green Partnership with the EU. This recently announced programme supports the ecological, inclusive and innovative development of Morocco's agricultural and forestry sectors. Since January 2021, our experts have been tasked with assisting the Delegation in leading the technical dialogue around the programme, which entails facilitating exchange during meetings through the preparation of thematic notes, diagnoses and analyses. 

The team is also participating in the identification and formulation of an EU-Morocco cooperation programme intended to help the north African nation reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change in accordance with the National Determined Contributions (NDC) under the UN’s Framework Convention for Climate Change. The programme is, therefore, multisectoral and applies cross-sectoral cooperation instruments and funding made available by the EU. 

Bringing his recent experience in Morocco to the project, our energy efficiency and transition expert Jean-Luc Poget leads the NIRAS team, which also comprises environmental experts Jean-Michel Sionneau and Redouan El Ouafi. 

NIRAS In Morocco (3)

Assisting vulnerable migrants 

Another interesting EU-funded project that we are currently supporting aims to strengthen the coordination and synergy of projects run by civil society organisations, state agencies and other partners active in the field of assistance and protection of vulnerable and distressed migrants particularly women and young people in Morocco. 

Launched in January last year and running for 30 months, the project is expected to deliver three principal results: 

  1. Development of updated tools and mapping actors, areas of intervention, activities, training and coordination arrangements; 
  2. Coordination of a strategic systematisation of the processes and practices of referral and care in the field of assistance to migrants; and 
  3. Support to national policies and local strategies based on good practices in assistance and referral. 

Led by Aminata Pagni and comprised of experts Med Ali Lahlou and Ivan Martin, the NIRAS team is part of a consortium together with Fédération Handicap International, Médecins du Monde Belgium and Fondation Entreculturas. Workshops are regularly held to strengthen the capacities of NIRAS’s partner civil society organisations and improve collaboration among them.  

Aminata noted that it is key to map and keep track of capacity building actions in the field of migration as this “allows us to take stock of trainings and training tools in order to create synergies and complementarities between the actors.” Our expert team will continue to focus on the needs of our partners, providing them with advisory support in the implementation of their activities and strengthening internal coordination.


Promoting gender equality and creating more opportunities for women  

As part of its second government plan to give women and men in the country equal opportunities in the labour market, Morocco has committed to increase female participation in the workforce to 30% by 2026. With support from the European Union, NIRAS was tasked to evaluate this plan (Concerted Initiatives for the Strengthening of the Achievements of Moroccan Women II). The plan’s broad development approach for socioeconomic equality focused on – among others – the employability and empowerment of women, their rights in relation to the family and as citizens more generally, fighting  gender discrimination, and integration of gender in all government policies and programmes.  

Throughout the evaluation, NIRAS expert Dr. Jeanne-Marie Layoun and her team developed various tools, organised  support activities such as workshops and produced materials for the Interministerial Technical Committee in close coordination with public and private stakeholders and the Ministry of Solidarity, Women, Family and Social Development.  

Minister Aawatif Hayar welcomed the evaluation when the Ministry’s Women's Empowerment Unit Abdelilah Hmidouche presented it at the end of last year found the recommendations to be very informative and relevant to the formation of government’s forthcoming National Plan for Equality. 

Following on from this important project, NIRAS recently won the contract to implement AFD’s Gender Framework Agreement with multiple countries, including Morocco. We are excited to begin work on this important project.


A vibrant platform for national and international short- and long-term experts 

In addition to these EU-funded projects, NIRAS is in the final months of the first phase of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact-funded so-called ’FONZID’ project. The $30 million Morocco-US co-financed Funds for Sustainable Industrial Zones project has helped to unlock big industrial development potential in Morocco by strengthening the sustainable industrial park model. Supporting nine sustainable model projects in eight industrial parks throughout the country, FONZID has promoted international environmental standards and raised awareness of gender and social inclusion criteria. To date, 70 industrial buildings have been constructed, and the project is expected to create close to 55K jobs over 20 years. The project has been so successful that NIRAS is already working with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to support them in launching a new phase of FONZID (FONZID II). 

With its own team of 12 local and 3 international experts, FONZID has made Morocco a vibrant platform for national and international short- and long-term experts working on NIRAS contracts in the country. With the opening of an official office in Rabat this year, we are committed to this burgeoning economy, ensuring support to donors and working with partners who, like us, wish to see growth that is sustainable, inclusive and green. 

Andrea Pompozzi

Andrea Pompozzi

Tender & Project Manager

Brussels, Belgium

+32 471 932575

Audrey Legay

Audrey Legay

Tender & Project Manager

Bogota, Colombia


Nikola Petrovic

Nikola Petrovic

Tender & Project Manager

Belgrade, Serbia

Julie Carcaly

Julie Carcaly

Tender & Project Manager

Paris, France

Constance Destresse

Constance Destresse

Project Manager

Paris, France