Africa and Russia: connection throughout Morocco
On 15 September, in Agadir, Morocco, Russian-Moroccan Business Forum «Russia-Morocco: an effective economic partnership» started. More than 300 representatives of business community of two countries took part in the event. The Republic of Tatarstan is represented on the forum by the Head of Tatarstan Investment Development Agency, Ms. Taliya Minullina.
The forum was attended by Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Russian Federation in the Kingdom of Morocco Valeriy Vorobyov, State Secretary, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation Victor Evtukhov, the Minister of Economy and Finance of the Kingdom of Morocco Mohammed Busaid, the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries of the Kingdom of Morocco Aziz Akkhanush, the President of General Confederation of Enterprises of Morocco (CGEM) Miriem Bensalah-Chaqroun, Chairman of the Russian-Arab Business Council Vladimir Evtushenkov and other dignitaries.
The event is held under the authority of Ministry of Foreign Trade of Morocco and General Confederation of Enterprises of Morocco with the support of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Morocco, Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, embassies and Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Russia and Morocco, as well as Russian-Arab Business Council.
During the event, the participants of the forum discussed a wide range of issues of current agenda of Russian-Moroccan trade and economic cooperation, got acquainted with trade and economic potential of the country, presented capabilities of Russian companies. The program of the forum included plenary sessions, sections on the main aspects of cooperation, the signing ceremony of bilateral agreements and memorandums, В2В meetings of Russian and Moroccan entrepreneurs.
All the participants of the forum received memos with rules of behavior in the country. For example, entrance to the mosques is prohibited to the followers of other religions. It is not allowed to take pictures of any person without permission, since some religious people believe a photo is stealing part of a soul. It is impolite to refuse an invitation for tea, as well as the second or third cup of tea, even if you are not thirsty anymore. Starting a conversation about the king of Morocco or the region is strictly forbidden. It is a common practice to eat with right hand only. It is forbidden to be embarrassed if a Moroccan you are talking to took your hand, because it is a friendly sign in Morocco.
On the first day of the Forum the Plenary Session «Morocco — Russia: economic opportunities of strategic partnerships» took place, where Ms. Taliya Minullina presented the latest situation in Tatarstan, described special economic zones, industrial parks, the territories of advanced growth of the republic and existing investment projects. According to the youngest politician of the Republic of Tatarstan, "the key factor of development of mutual cooperation may become the building of a long-term partnership between the Kingdom of Morocco and the Russian Federation by implementing projects in active regions of Russia, starting, of course, in Tatarstan.
Also, the participants of the forum took part in round tables, where negotiations on cooperation in such spheres as fishery, agriculture, banking, finance and renewable energy sources were held.
«In 2013, Morocco became the first official partner of Russia on the African continent. Currently, we can see a positive trend of increase of turnover between two countries. — Ms. Taliya Minullina pointed out. — During the visit new contacts were established and next week we will host business-guests from Morocco in Tatarstan.
In the framework of business forum the Head of Tatarstan Investment Development Agency invited the delegation of Morocco to take part in the 9th International economic summit «Russia-Islamic world: KazanSummit2017», scheduled to be held in May, 2017. This summit is the main platform for economic cooperation of Russia and the countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). In particular, on the sidelines of the Summit 2017 the discussion of the business programme of bilateral cooperation on «Russia — Morocco» is expected.
With regard to cooperation between our countries, we should also add, that exportation of citrus fruits alone from Morocco to Russia between early 2015 and early 2016 increased by 20% and reached 200 thousand tons. Morocco became the third largest citrus fruits supplier to Russia after Turkey (500 thousand tons) and Egypt (240 thousand tons). According to the Ministry of Economy, in period from 2015 till early 2016 Morocco exported 341 thousand tons of fruits and vegetables to Russia in total at a cost of MAD 1,6 billion (RUR 10,57 billion), which is 24% above the corresponding period in the prior year. Moreover, Russia actively provides the Moroccan market with grain, taking leadership from European suppliers. Thus, deliveries to Morocco raised from zero balances to 200 thousand tons this year. Morocco is also planning the procurement of Russian civil aircrafts. The most perspective directions of cooperation between two countries are agriculture, technologies based on solar energy, digital technologies and tourism.
It should be reminded, that last year the Minister of International Trade of the Kingdom of Morocco Mr. Muhammad Abu visited Tatarstan, where he met the President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov and the Head of Tatarstan Investment Development Agency Taliya Minullina. During the meeting, the parties discussed cooperation in such spheres as AIC, engineering, high technologies and others. During the conversation, Muhammad Abu stated that the Kingdom of Morocco is interested in intensification of bilateral cooperation with Tatarstan as one of the leading regions of Russia.