El Jadida Morocco: Discover Hidden Tourism Treasures

Mohammed Mouaad Jamai, Governor of El Jadida
There are several advantages El Jadida possesses and there are many opportunities to invest in tourism, heavy industry, agriculture and energy.

Interview with Mouaad Jamai, Governor of El Jadida

Mouaad Jamai, Governor of El Jadida

What are the big strategies of development that you want to set up for this region?

I am very lucky to be in an extremely rich province. The province of El Jadida in 2 words: it is a province of about 700.000 to 750.000 inhabitants and 27 municipalities among which there are 3 cities and 24 rural districts. But we have quite the aggregates of a metropolis. We have 2 ports and an airport which is the one of Casablanca.

There are several advantages El Jadida possesses and there are many opportunities to invest in tourism, heavy industry, agriculture and energy.

Are you taking advantage of that?

There are several advantages El Jadida possesses and there are many opportunities to invest in tourism, heavy industry, agriculture and energy.

We have an extremely rich coastline of more than 100 km, with magnificent beaches and we have a  very beautiful countryside. We are an agricultural region and we have all the wealth of the sea, too. This is just a quick presentation of our province. At first, I want to pay tribute to our predecessors and our elected representatives. Thanks to them, we now have high quality infrastructure: we have highways; we have a port – that of Jorf Lasfar, which is the second port of Morocco after Tangier. We are not going to compare it to the port of Tangier Med because the latter is a port of transfer. El Jadida

Today, we are a real hub with abundance of natural resources such as phosphates. At the present, Morocco is repositioning itself on the world markets. The OCP (the biggest producer and exporter of phosphates in the world) has decided to make El Jadida a platform for manufacturing and exporting of the phosphates; the unprocessed phosphate arrive via the pipeline which is a new way of transportation recommended by the OCP, and they are transformed directly in our region. Thus, El Jadida is going to become the biggest producer of phosphates in Morocco in the near future.

In addition, 60% of energy in Morocco is going to be made in our region, thanks to the JLEC (subsidiary of TAQA in Abu Dhabi) – an energy company. These 2 examples show that El Jadida is becoming a real economic hub. There are still other examples such as SONASID which produces steel and other metals. I`m certain that this region will bring an added value and create jobs for the coming years.

El Jadida is a region with an enormous potential, what are you going to emphasize in your future plans?

Firstly, El Jadida is an important city of Morocco, thus we cannot work by ourselves but we closely follow the national strategies – such as the tourism strategy, the strategies of Rawach for the business and others.

We are inspired by all these national strategies. Our local strategy based on the 4 pillars closely follows the national strategy. The first pillar of the local strategy is the development of agriculture. The major employer of Doukkali (the inhabitants of the region of Doukkala) is actually the agriculture. At the presence, there is an urgent need to start leading projects to create more opportunities for the farmers. We are pondering ideas such as the largest agricultural aggregator in Morocco that will add value to the agricultural products which are to be exported to Europe.  

The major challenge for Doukkala is shortage of water. However, we have innovative ideas and technology (reverse osmosis, transforming seawater to freshwater etc.) that will enable us to restore the old image of the agricultural sector with a certain number of key projects. El Jadida

The second pillar is the industry, mainly the heavy and the chemical industries. We are going to have the biggest chemical hub of the world, which has been partially paved by the establishment of the OCP plant. We are also going to have the other types of industries like chemical industries that are dependent on energy. Since El Jadida produces 60% of energy in Morocco the energy intensive industries can benefit from being located in our region.

The third pillar is tourism. We are in an extremely rich province because of its heritage and equities. The province has many tourist magnets such as the city of Azemmour, an authentic farming place. One can find many traces of Roman presence in different eras. Regrettably it needs investments in infrastructure to become a tourist destination. I spoke about shoreline, which is extremely rich with natural, extremely beautiful beaches, but also the Portuguese City, and the Portuguese past of El Jadida. We have a countryside extremely varied and rich in local products.

Within the national tourism strategy to develop the seaside resorts (plan Azure) El Jadida now disposes with one of the most luxurious and prestigious resorts in Morocco. Mazagan beach resort, owned by renown hotelier Sole Kerzner, consists of 2 golf courses; one of them is the Royal Golf of El Jadida and is classified among top 800 golf courses of the world. I think, seeing our strategic position, we are less than 3 hours from all the European capitals, we are less than one hour from Casablanca, less than two hours from Marrakesh which is a big tourist destination and nearly the same distance from Rabat, Safi. The province will no doubt play an extremely important role in tourism.

The last pillar of our strategy is the realm of culture and art. We are in a city which gave birth to many artists in particular Chaibia, the famous painter. We have writers such as Driss Chraibi who is well-known in France and the list is long. Thus, art occupies a particular place. In addition, we are considered as the capital of horses in Morocco. We annually organize an international event with the assistance of his Majesty. It is an international meeting revolving around horses. We are going to reserve a space of 100 acres to establish a big stud farm with a specialized private hospital. Also, we are planning to encourage the research and the development to improve the Arabic horse race, the barb and all what is Moroccan.  

 How are you going to face the challenge of irrigation?

Our wish it is to stabilize the position of citizens in the countryside because many jobs are going to be created around Jorf Lasfar – largest food aggregator in Morocco. It is true that many regions are developing similar project such as Agropolis in Meknes, but we are not competing with Meknès.

Morocco is a huge country and Meknès is 400 km away. We are capitalizing on our strategic position at the region of Bir El Jdid, which is half an hour from Casablanca, and less than half an hour of the airport. We think that we have a magnificent location for this project of 800 acres. The idea in itself is very interesting because of the strategic position of this region. Yet, I stress, we are not in competition with Meknès.

You have evoked the second point; that of the lack of water. I want to add that there is water. Famous stream, which very interesting — Om El Rabia – its literal translation being “the mother of the spring“, a famous book written by Driss Chaibi on the stream of Om El Rabia’s oued which passes through Azemmour, this historic city.El Jadida

First, we are going to construct with the help of the ministry of agriculture a project to pump the filtered water to irrigate this zone which is in lack of water. The second project, with OCP, consists of establishing a unit for the desalination of the sea water, since the sea is already there.

We are planning a Tazota village with dry stone constructions like the one in France, in Spain and in Greece. We want to have a completely ecological millennium village. Such a project will encourage the rural tourism; hence the link between the tourism and the agriculture. Our ambitions are very big and Morocco has a plan, as you might know it, called the Green Morocco. We plan to capitalize on this plan and to get the maximum of the governmental help.

We need investors. Today we are in a zone which is extremely promising with its wealth creation. We are in a gold mine, so I ask various investors to come to discover it.

Do you have a strategy in position; or are you thinking currently about how to draw the attention, since many things are already known about the other aspect of the country, in particular on your region?

I will speak about a colleague of you, Arvet Géo, who had tried to choose in his magazine of January 2011 the best destinations in the world. He classified EL Jadida in the 27th position, as a new city to discover on different levels: partly because of its wealth, that we talked about earlier, but also because of the golf fields, the culture, and our ecologic plans.

I am in love with Marrakesh; I would never say anything bad about it; it is a magical city. Morocco, however, is much more than that. Marrakesh is the main magnet for tourists to come but the tourists would like to discover other treasures and this is where El Jadida will dominate. Only two hours separate us from Marrakech;  tourist may come to play in our golf courses , or to take a tour.

For instance, there is no beach in Marrakech and they come regularly to enjoy swimming in our beaches. Therefore, I think that we are complementary position rather than in competition. The tourists with a modest income will fulfill their appetite here. It is not by accident that GEO has placed EL Jadida in the 27th position. And it is not by chance that EL Jadida was the first destination of his majesty, king of Saudi Arabia, after a medical stay in the United States. He came here because of the magnificent climate, the forest, and the sea.

What about the challenges that you are facing?

The challenges are enormous but varied. As far as the industry is concerned, it is a heavy industry with has its impact on the environment. But the question is how to manage these choices which are contradictory, tourism on one side and heavy industry on the other side. It is not always coherent. The question here is how we are going to reconcile this. We need to oblige industrial companies to respect the environment. It is true it would cost the investors little extra money, but it is worth it to invest.

The second challenge is the anticipation. We have to take into consideration the fact that we are going to experience an extremely fast growth over the next decade. Therefore, who is going to occupy these jobs? What types of trainings will be offered? What types of housing will be built? They are questions that we are raising today with a clear strategy. For now, we are planning and combining the means of investment so that we will avoid the future problems.

But I can tell you right now that the real obstacle is men, with a capital M. In other words, how to anticipate a good training for men and women, so that they will handle these projects? The world is a village and we are not alone, other regions are also working on their competitiveness; so the question is how to attract more talents towards us.

To conclude, I would like to have your ideal vision about the region in 5 years. What you want to accomplish with your team?

 I dream a lot but don’t forget that I am a governor. We have a team spirit today and we would wish that the state would provide the necessary means because, contrary to the other region who receiving subsidies to live on, we ask the government to invest because we are in a curve of creation of wealth.

 The future is extremely promising, especially with the creation of new jobs, which I have just mentioned, but we need to start working immediately. Once more, I want to tell you that we are not alone. First, it is a national competition with other regions of Morocco, but also it is an international competition. Thus, to succeed there is no secret hidden; it is simply to work hard.

Scroll to top