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Sebastian Sosa, IMF Resident Representative in Serbia

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H.E. Philippe Guex, Ambassador of Switzerland to Serbia

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Khalid Benjelloun, CGEM Vice President

We Need to Be Better Acquainted

The global economy is currently going through the era of digitalisation, which needs to be capitalised on, in order to make information available to both sides. The potential is enormous if we consider that Serbia could be the gateway to the Balkans and Morocco to Africa. That is what we have to consider in future if we are to improve our economic relations

The governments of both Serbia and Morocco have set themselves the goal of developing and modernising their economies in order to make them the most competitive and efficient in their regions, by adopting new economic guidelines.

Serbia aspires to join the EU within six years, following the Western model and regaining its leading position in the region with an economy that has stable growth.

At the national level, Morocco is a politically stable kingdom and has important economic assets, including the choice of economic liberalism.

Over the last ten years, strategic choices have been made to increase our economic attractiveness, including ambitious sector-specific strategies that modernise traditional sectors like agriculture and mining, and which develop innovative sectors, such as the aerospace and automotive industries and energy.

“As a result, we must look at the promising sectors between our two countries and pool our efforts to promote bilateral trade,” says Khalid Benjelloun, Vice-President of CGEM, responsible for supporting entrepreneurship.

“Trade remains weak. Total bilateral trade in 2017 was 184 million MAD, which – even with a 37% increase over the previous year – remains very low. Morocco imports mainly tobacco from Serbia and exports its cars to Serbia, which brings us back to the importance of diversifying our trade and communicating more.

“Our two markets are not well known by Serbian or Moroccan companies, and capitalising on the organisation of meetings, exchanges of delegations in Morocco and Serbia and facilitating access to information from our two markets would improve the economic and trade relations between our two countries.”

What about the establishment of the Morocco-Serbia Business Council?

– The Business Council was set up during the seminar “Doing Business with Morocco”, organised in September 2018 by the Moroccan Embassy in Serbia, with the valuable collaboration of the Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Serbia. This Seminar, which took place on the sidelines of the visit of Minister for Foreign and International Cooperation Nasser Bourita, was an opportunity to inform local businesses about the Moroccan commercial offer and, at the same time, reactivate the cooperation agreement signed by the CGEM with the Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Serbia in 2013. It was also an opportunity to set up the Business Council. The next natural step would be to appoint the Serbian and Moroccan co-presidents.

What steps have been taken to facilitate contact between the two business communities and to make known the potential and the opportunities offered by Morocco and Serbia?

– To begin with, and as part of the Business Council’s action plan, we are currently working on a first action that will be based on the setting up of a series of newsletters in Morocco and Serbia. These newsletters will further promote Morocco, Serbia and their potential, providing an overview of the two economies and promoting the growth sectors of the two countries, but also highlighting the various benefits, such as offshore areas to promote triangular partnership between the Balkans and Africa.

This tool will improve our visibility, provide the image of an active and dynamic market, share our news, inform the different readers and highlight the needs and expectations of both markets. Moreover, the organisation of economic meetings would also be a way to inform people about the potential that exists and facilitate contact between the two business communities by providing high-quality scientific content and organising B2B meetings.

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