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IOM and the Belgian Embassy in Rabat have signed an agreement to launch an innovative project aimed at encouraging Moroccans living in Belgium to start businesses back home in Morocco.
The EUR 1.2 million, two-year programme seeks to encourage Moroccan expatriates to invest their savings, knowledge and expertise into the setting up of private ventures that will further the development of impoverished regions in the north and east of the country.
The Mobilization of Moroccans Residing in Belgium for the Development of Morocco programme (MEDMA 2) is based on the findings and recommendations of a 2007 IOM/Government of Belgium study, which showed that Moroccans in Belgium were keen to invest in their home region, but often lacked sufficient information to do so. Over 250,000 Moroccans, mostly from Morocco's northern regions, currently live Belgium.
The project will be carried out in partnership with Ministry of Moroccans Residing Abroad and the Hassan II Foundation for Moroccans Residing Abroad, and with the support of public and private partners in Belgium, including the Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management.
It aims to provide potential investors with up-to-date technical, financial and administrative information. It will also provide them with insights into how best to access existing national mechanisms to facilitate their investment.
"The overall objective of this pilot project is to show that the Moroccan diaspora can significantly contribute to the socio-economic development of some of the poorest regions in the north," says IOM Morocco's Dorien Deketele.