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Offshoring comes to Souss Massa

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In recent years, several call centres have set up shop in Agadir, bringing new job opportunities. These call centres are the best known component of offshoring, itself one of the main emerging industrial ecosystems in the Souss Massa region. This sector has indeed benefited from the regional provisions of the Kingdom’s Industrial Acceleration Plan (IAP) launched in 2018 under the effective presidency of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, may God assist Him. Less than five years later, the offshoring ecosystem already displays all the markers of a sustainable activity and is currently expanding with the creation of many small and medium-sized enterprises across the region.

Three years of PAI that propelled the sector

What with regional incentives, diversified training, a modern stock of premises, and a new generation of reception and support structures, four years after the launch of the regional provisions of the IAP, the offshoring ecosystem has clearly taken shape at the regional level.

The industrial landscape of Souss Massa has seen Segula Technologies settle in Agadir, through the opening of a centre of excellence dedicated mainly to automotive engineering. Meanwhile, Webhelp Morocco and JA International have consolidated their position by installing three sites each in the dynamic regional capital.

Further afield, the implementation of the IAP has also made it possible to strengthen the network of small and medium-sized businesses focusing on offshoring in general and IT contact centres in particular

Targeted priority sectors

68 companies have been identified across the region. The sector employs just over 2,700 people, including nearly 1,500 at Webhelp, 200 at JA International and around 1,200 in other contact and call centres.

Future jobs currently created or projected by the sector will be distributed across the region in three specific offshoring sectors, in addition to IT development :

  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)
  • Information Technology Outsourcing (ITO)
  • Other digital trades

CRI-SM objectives and strategy

The regional investment promotion agency targets for the development of offshoring are aligned to IAP objectives which aim to create 1,500 new jobs in this sector in the region. From February 2018 to January 2022, CRI-SM recorded 11 projects aiming to create 2,500 jobs in the long term. To support this growth, CRI-SM has defined a strategy based on a regular contact with offshoring and digital operators in the Kingdom and abroad, culminating in the call & contact centre expo SICCAM in July 2021, the identification of a large stock of real estate for offshoring within the health training cluster, and the organization of an Open Innovation Program in December 2021 to facilitate finding both premises and human resources in this field.

Similarly, a memorandum of understanding was signed between CRI-SM, the Souss Massa chamber of commerce, industry and services, and the Moroccan federation of information technologies, telecommunications and offshoring (APEBI), with the following objectives :

  • Create a regional APEBI branch to federate offshoring actors.
  • Establish a support system for the regional ecosystem.
  • Identify new niches and synergies between regional players.
  • Sponsor initiatives and search for funding for projects.

Regional incentives in support of offshoring

Data Embassy, a French offshoring operator, has just opened a service centre in the province of Tata, which paves the way for the development of this activity across the region. It proves small and medium-sized cities can now host businesses and attract investments in outsourcing and offshoring outside of the capital city Agadir, where the majority of operators are already established. This successful opening showcases the efforts deployed regionally, spearheaded by CRI-SM, and demonstrates the region has all it takes to host offshoring ecosystems, as illustrated by the forthcoming Technopark in Tiznit. Combined regional and national support for local and foreign investors include: financial subsidies to approved projects worth Dh250/m² of land purchased ($2.58 or £1.87 per sqft, €23.52/m² at 2021 average spot exchange rates), granted after completion and limited to a hectare (2.47 ac), and employment bonuses up to Dh10,000 ($1112, €941, £809) per stable position created, as well as decentralised public services and higher learning and technical training centres distributed across the different provinces in support of offshoring growth.

Sector-focused academic and vocational training

Existing professional and vocational training centres in Agadir attract students from all the provinces of the region, with many centres now offering training in offshoring and digital professions.

Offshoring & digital training and certification

  • EST technology college and institute: 242 graduates per year
  • Agadir ENSA national applied sciences institute: 76 graduates per year
  • Private polytechnic school of Agadir: 58 graduates per year
  • Agadir FSA faculty of sciences: 130 students in courses related to ICT
  • Taroudannt polydisciplinary faculty: 98 students in ICT-related courses
  • Aït Melloul faculty of applied sciences: 30 students in courses related to ICT
  • Souss Massa City of trades and skills: 520 places planned per year for ICT related trades
  • OFPPT vocational training centres dedicated to AIP aligned industries: 263 graduates per year

Souss Massa, surfing the offshoring and ICT ecosystems wave

The region provides offshoring and ICT ecosystems investors with cutting-edge premises in dedicated clustered real estate developments equipped with a robust range of telecom infrastructure and solutions. Average monthly rent of office space in Agadir stands at 82 Dhs/m² ($0.84 or £0.61 per sqft, €7.71/m²) and all three Moroccan telecommunications operators provide offshoring professionals with high-bandwidth 4G and optical fibre connections.

Furthermore, growth of the offshoring ecosystem will be nurtured, cultivated and boosted by both regional initiatives « Cité de l’Innovation » and the « Technopark Souss-Massa » clustered industrial real estate developments, with both combined providing incubation spaces and start-up nurseries at attractive prices for investors in innovation, ICT, offshoring, Green Tech and the cultural industry. To accompany this digital growth, regional investment promotion agency CRI-Souss-Massa now provides investors with the possibility to file and measure progress online for project approvals, subsidies and grants.

Office space from dh50/m² to attract investment in Offshoring and ICT ecosystems

Pillars of Souss Massa IAP, and major providers of jobs, Offshoring & ICT ecosystems enjoy special attention in the region’s economic development strategy: A large labour pool, targeted training courses, support for hiring, and, last but not least, a very attractive and competitive offer in office space.

Souss Massa Technopark: space for 100 businesses.

Souss Massa Innovation City can host more than 50 businesses.

Office space immediately available.

A network of real estate developers is immediately available to quickly deliver custom venues and offices.

A land base dedicated to Offshoring and ICT ecosystems within the City of Health, Sports and Urbanity.

SICCAM expo for call centres & contact centres

The region’s appeal as base of operations for offshoring ventures has been boosted by the 18th and 19th editions (2021 – 2022) of the international trade exhibition for call and contact centres, SICCAM. The 2021 edition showcased the Agadir collective labour agreement for offshoring in Morocco (CCTOM) between the Moroccan federation of information technologies and offshoring (APEBI) and the national federation of call centres and offshoring trades (FNCAMO)

Fiscal incentives for new jobs creation

Support for investment in the offshoring ecosystem also involves recruitment assistance. Employing 10 people over a period of 24 months means a discount on corporate payroll tax (IR) of the gross monthly salary, capped at Dh10,000, and this exemption takes effect from the date of recruitment. In addition, the State covers the employer’s share of payroll contribution to pensions and to trainings funds for salaries below 10,000.00 Dhs ($1112, €941, £809), from the date of validation by ANAPEC of the benefit protocol.

Furthermore, the TAEHIL program by national employment agency ANAPEC provides companies with tailored training worth up to Dh10,000 per person for new employees to best meet employers requirements, and up to Dh24,000 for emerging sectors.

Souss Massa provisions of the IAP

The Kingdom’s Industrial Acceleration Plan’s provisions for the region include the creation of 1500 jobs. Professional federations have rallied, such as the Moroccan alliance for customer care (AMRC) which committed to creating 1000 jobs across the region through investment in Customer Relation Management (CRM) operations.

The Moroccan ICT, telco & offshoring federation committed to creating 500 jobs across the region by investing in ITO & BPO (IT & Business Process Outsourcing respectively). To attract investment in the ecosystem, ministerial support has been provided to offshoring investors in the Souss Massa region, for greenfield and brownfield developments or the expansion of existing ventures aligned with IAP regional objectives, provisions and incentives for the offshoring ecosystem.

Regional subsidies for investments in dedicated, clustered real estate development stand at Dh250/m² of floor space ($2.58 or £1.87 per sqft, €23.52/m²), for a maximum floor space of 1000m² (0.247 ac).

Main offshoring ecosystems by foreign sales

Offshoring in the Kingdom is mainly represented by 5 industrial ecosystems, CRM, ITO, BPO, ESO, and KPO, which together generated Dh13.5 bn ($1.5 bn, €1.27 bn, £1.09 bn) in sales abroad in 2020, according to currency regulator ‘Office des Changes’, against Dh14.1 in 2019. With Dh10 bn worth $1.11 bn, €0.94 bn, £0.81 bn at 2021 average spot exchange rates, the revenues for each ecosystem are:

  • Customer Relationship Management: more than Dh7.9 bn in 2020 against 8.2 in 2019
  • Information Technology Outsourcing: nearly Dh3.6 bn in 2020 and 3.7 in 2019 Business Process Outsourcing: more than Dh1.59 bn in 2020, up from 1.52 in 2019
  • Engineering Services Outsourcing : Dh313 m in 2020 against 635 in 2019
  • Knowledge Process Outsourcing: Dh5 m in 2020, up from 4 in 2019

Data Embassy sets up operations in Tata

The Offshoring sector continues to expand in the Souss Massa region with the recent opening of French operator Data Embassy’s first centre in Tata’s new business park. Founded in 2004, the company specialises in BPO, Call Centres and ITO. Already present in Marrakech where it employs 185 people, Data Embassy has to date hired 10 employees for its Tata branch and plans to recruit at least 50 employees by the end of 2022.

International operator CEGEDIM sets up shop in Agadir

Agadir welcomes its third major international operator in offshoring: Cegedim, creator of professional solutions in technologies and services with more than 50 years experience. Cegedim is a specialist in the management of digital flows in the health and BtoB ecosystems as well as in the design of business software. It has been established In Morocco for 18 years and deploys its skills in the fields of insurance, digitalisation, human resources management systems, activity time management systems, and the pharmaceutical industry. Its activities revolve around research and development, integration projects, corrective and evolutionary maintenance, deployment, support, operation, and customer relations. Currently, Cegedim Maroc employs 850 people in Rabat.

Cegedim’s ambitions in Agadir

Pursuing its expansion in the Kingdom, Cegedim Maroc has chosen to set up shop in Agadir, encouraged by the stimulating regionalization process and the many factors favouring long-term, sustainable growth for the company in the Souss Massa region: a diversified and qualified labour pool, an academic infrastructure aligned to its core activities, and the high-level technical infrastructure provided by the three major Moroccan telecommunications operators. In Agadir, Cegedim ambitions to create 200 jobs by the end of 2023 and 400 jobs by 2025, in delegated management, Customer Relationship Management, digitalisation, Information Technologies (IT) and computer development.

Extracted from the Atlas Original 2021, page 52.
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Offshoring comes to Souss Massa - Atlas original