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    Joseph Mandour, The American Dream, and Investing in Morocco

    For the Moroccan-American businessman, Morocco holds massive potential for international investors.

    06 Aug 2022

    Rabat - Speaking at the U.S.-Africa Business Summit in late July, CEO of FAR Group Joseph Mandour spoke of his company’s experience in Morocco, highlighting the country’s advantages for building back-offices and helping American companies.

    As Morocco continues to open itself up to the English-speaking world, and present itself as a potential hub for foreign investors, companies like FAR Group have begun to emerge as examples of investment in Morocco gone right.

    Morocco World News met with Joseph Mandour to discuss his own journey as an entrepreneur, the advantages that Morocco possesses, and the challenges it still has to clear.

    Between Morocco and America

    After obtaining his baccalaureate in Morocco, Mandour decided to pursue the challenge of living in the United States. “I started from the bottom. I worked every retail job you could think of,” Mandour described his experience to MWN, before going into his experience with the US army.

    Serving in the US army allowed Mandour to attend college, after which he entered America’s corporate world and was able to learn the ins-and-outs of business.

    “Business has been in my blood since I was six-years-old,” Mandour said. “I’ve had little ventures, I’ve sold goods while I was in Morocco. I went to work for my father when I was thirteen, fourteen years old, in his factory.”

    It was this love of business that motivated Mandour to start his own company after gaining experience in other jobs.

    “Building an organization is a serious business,” he added, detailing how his first business venture actually failed.

    “My first failure was because I thought I knew it all, that was my problem,” Mandour detailed. “I wanted to be the salesperson, I wanted to be the finance, I wanted to be HR.”

    This enabled Mandour, he says, to make an agreement with himself that the next time he starts a venture he would build a team of specialists who would help and advise him through the various obstacles of doing business.

    “The team that I have is the key to my success,” he concluded. “Working by yourself might help you the first couple of months, but after that you have to build a team that is gonna help you achieve your goals.”

    Today, FAR Group specializes in recruiting, IT, and cybersecurity solutions for various clients, and has employed hundreds in Morocco, with ambitions to continue to expand operations.

    Why Morocco?

    For Mandour and other investors that have started to come to Morocco, the country holds massive potential waiting to be utilized.

    The human resources that Morocco provides are one of the biggest reasons for companies to establish operations in the country. FAR Group alone boasts that they have been able to employ more than 200 master’s degree holders in Morocco since they started operations.

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, Morocco has been trying to advertise that advantage. The country’s investment brand, “Morocco Now,” put forward its young workforce as one of the key advantages that the country possesses.

    Speaking in Marrakech previously, Joseph Mandour said the FAR Group’s 35-person team in Morocco had managed very impressive feats, despite him being faced with resistance from the company due to the country’s francophone reputation.

    “Morocco presents the new world of business,” Mandour told MWN, describing a “great atmosphere and great stability.”

    The country’s geographical position and infrastructure are also particularly advantageous. With close proximity to Europe, as well as being more accessible from the US than some other destinations, Morocco has started to emerge as a great destination for back-offices.

    Morocco has also been working to make its infrastructure more appealing to businesses. Developing sea and air ports across some of the country’s major business hubs has been important, but so was building high-speed rail connections and highways between those cities.

    Mandour described to MWN how many of his colleagues and executives travel from DC and Miami to Casablanca, and how from there they are easily able to make their way to the company’s offices in Tangier.

    Tangier especially holds unique advantages for Mandour, being a rare city that overlooks both the Mediterranean sea and Atlantic ocean. He also notes that despite its relative small size, the city is still home to valuable human resources.

    Challenges To Be Cleared

    Despite the noticeable progress that the country has made, Mandour posits that Morocco still has some areas where it can improve its attractiveness to investors.

    Chief among these is the country’s English adoption rate. The Moroccan-American businessman believes that in order to advance relations with English-speaking companies, increasingly adopting English is a must.

    “All we have to do is much better communication,” he said. “We communicate in French, we communicate in Arabic, but we’re not communicating in English.”

    Spreading English would allow Moroccan companies, authorities, and the workforce to provide American and British companies with the solutions and services they need, he asserts.

    “None of them speak French,” Mandour said about his American business contact. “They speak English, they want their information in English.

    But efforts to change this are going well, according to him, as he notes that the current government is making an effort to make English more mainstream and therefore make Morocco more attractive for investors.

    The country’s higher education system can also stand to improve, he says, to go more in a direction where students are offered more real life experiences.

    As it stands, the system makes graduates well versed in academia, but not very experienced in real-world professional situations. To this end, FAR Group aims to recruit more interns, Mandour said, adding that every master’s student needs to go on at least three to six months of actual professional experience before graduating.

    Lawmakers, investors, and experts have all asserted that with the right conditions met, Morocco stands the chance to be not only an excellent investment destination in itself, but also a gateway for investors into the rest of Africa’s massive market.

    “Morocco has become a platform. If you actually get up in the morning, do the right things, work hard, respect the law, and innovate, you will be a successful entrepreneur,” Mandour said about opportunities for Morocco.

    To him, the country is a fertile field that is not yet fully cultivated, adding that with the right amount of hard work and entrepreneurial spirit, young Moroccans too have every opportunity to succeed.

    moroccoworldnews

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