Trade, agrifood, IT and banking… These are the favorite sectors for sub-Saharan nationals living in Morocco. At least those among them who want to get into entrepreneurship. “The African diaspora in Morocco has a great entrepreneurial intention that can materialize through the creation of projects in the country of origin or in Morocco”. This is what emerges from the findings of a recent investigation.

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Commerce, agro-food, IT and banking are among the sectors of predilection of the sub-Saharan in Morocco

For the first time, a study analyzes the profiles of this segment of the population in order to gauge its aspirations and identify its ambitions in the near future. While the majority of sub-Saharan nationals opt for wage employment in sectors such as call centers, media, communication, consulting … Many now seem to want to try their hand at entrepreneurship.

According to the results of the survey, conducted by ENCG and Hub Africa teams, 68% of the African diaspora in Morocco have a business creation plan in the country of origin. But a third of the sample (31.3%) intends to stay in Morocco and develop a project in their country of origin. About the 10th of this diaspora (11.5%) wants to live in Morocco and develop a project there.

Because contrary to popular belief, the Kingdom is no longer a country of transit. “We are no longer in the notion of passage. Young single people will get married, settle down, there will be mixed marriages… ”, underlines Zakaria Fahim, president of Hub Africa.

Two-thirds of the sample, made up of a thousand African nationals, wish to start their business in the short term (2017-2018), while 23.5% will do so in the next 5 years or beyond (4, 7%). Among them, employees (41.4%), students (14.6%), business leaders (11.6%), executives from the private sector (8.6%), but also non- employment (11.1%).

They are mainly from Senegal (40.2%), the DRC (21.6%), Mali (10.6%) and the Ivory Coast (11.1%). Obviously, commerce remains the most attractive for a good proportion of the sample (23.8%). Indeed, there are many sub-Saharans who engage in commercial activities (especially in the import and export of local products). True, many are street vendors, but they are starting to organize themselves through small businesses, renting out shops.

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A large section of the respondents consisted of higher education graduates (masters, licenses and doctorates)

This is the case, for example, of the Senegalese market, nicknamed “Little Dakar”, launched in 2012 on the outskirts of the old medina in Casablanca. In this pilot souk, hundreds of shops are occupied by sub-Saharan traders. This community displays its know-how and homemade products. Women, for their part, opt for the very lucrative business of cosmetics and beauty care. Their specialty? Extensions, braids, false nails or even false eyelashes …

Beyond trade, agribusiness, IT, banking and insurance are also attractive sectors for this community, according to data from the Hub Africa study (see also infographic). It must be said that a large proportion of the sample is made up of higher education graduates including holders of masters or equivalent (more than 21%), graduates (19%) or even doctors (3%).

The majority of them say they are ready to invest 10,000 to 1 million DH, or even more to start their business. Funding methods range from the contribution

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Senegalese are in the majority in the study sample conducted by Hub Africa and ENCG

personal (20%), bank credit (17%) through family loans (19%) or private investment funds (16.5%). But for the majority of those surveyed, insufficient support for entrepreneurs is one of the main obstacles to entrepreneurship (53%), followed by corruption (47%) and financing difficulties (20%). As for the degree of appreciation of the steps taken to create projects in Morocco, it is considered excellent (10%), good (35%) or even unsatisfactory (23%).

According to the findings of the study, the sub-Saharan diaspora has already identified investment projects in different sectors of activity in Morocco and in the countries of origin. “We must facilitate the various administrative procedures for this population in order to materialize development projects as quickly as possible”, recommend the authors.

It is also recommended to create a “body dedicated to the African diaspora whose role is to support this population in the upstream and downstream phase for the creation and implementation of projects”. Other avenues are mentioned, in particular the development of networking with Moroccan entrepreneurs or financing through the establishment of investment funds or banks dedicated to this type of project

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