AmCham and Mercy Corps partner to host a Conference on Public-Private Partnerships for sustainable development and Social Responsibility.

Moroccan and American business leaders and representatives of public agencies gathered on May 26 at the Sofitel Hotel in Casablanca to discuss public-private partnerships and social responsibility in Morocco. Ambassador Dwight Bush opened the conference and saluted the efforts made by the private sector and NGOs, such as AmCham, Mercy Corps, Injaz, TIBU, and many others to advance to their noble causes. The opening speech was followed by a panel discussion moderated by AmCham Managing Director, Rabia El Alama. The panel featured speakers from Chevron, Kosmos Energy, Procter & Gamble, ONHYM, Mercy Corps, and Dell Morocco. The two-hour discussion and Q&A covered a variety of topics including Morocco’s societal challenges and the necessity of public-private partnerships to tackle some of these challenges, and reaffirmed AmCham member companies’ and other participants’ commitment to corporate social responsibility projects and the welfare of Moroccans.

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Mostafa El Obbade, Dell Morocco; William Hayes, Kosmos Energy; Amina Benkhadra, ONHYM; Mouna Chbani, Procter&Gamble; Carl Attalah, Chevron; Britt Rosenberg, Mercy Corps.

The panelists recalled various initiatives initiated by their companies in Morocco. Procter & Gamble proudly noted that their hygiene and puberty projects dated back to 1998. Both projects have benefitted 9 million girls so far. Further, ONHYM has been creating a lasting presence in communities by improving access to basic infrastructure and the resiliency of communities impacted by mining. In addition, ONHYM working jointly with Kosmos and Chevron launched a Center of Excellence aimed at upgrading human resources in the oil and gas sector. Further, Dell Morocco’s daily involvement in training youth from unprivileged areas using mobile IT centers is another illustration of commitment to reducing the digital gap in Morocco. To ensure that social investments have a lasting impact on the communities they serve, American corporations such as Chevron, Kosmos, and Coca-Cola rely on public-private partnerships. This combines expertise from the private sector as well as the public sector and NGOs such as Mercy Corps, EFE, Endeavor, Injaz, TIBU, Bahri and many others who were in attendance. The conference suggested involving international NGOs in public-private partnerships. These NGOs usually have expertise in scaling the projects, and they usually employ local individuals who have an intimate knowledge of the country and will be there after the duration of the project. The emphasis was put on governance and transparency when managing social investments and the necessity of working with reputable and structured NGOs. Local NGOs are also in dire need of capacity building, staffing and funding. There are about 120,000 local NGOs in Morocco, of which only 202 are recognized as “utilité publique”. Participants recommended a mapping of NGOs by region and fields they serve to allow better coordination and efficiency. It was also noted that there is a concentration of social projects in urban areas in main cities of Morocco. Often times, the rural areas and remote cities are excluded from these endeavors. In conclusion, everyone remains committed to corporate social responsibility and building better Morocco. There are still lots of efforts to do in this way, but the actual conjuncture is quite encouraging.

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