His Excellency Ouadia Benabdellah, the ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco visited the Nanyang Business School on 6 May (2022). He was received by Prof Christina Soh, Dean, NBS; Amit Jain, Director, NTU-SBF Centre for African Studies; and Wanda Preiser, Head, Office of International Engagement, NTU. The ambassador, who is based in Jakarta, was in Singapore on a protocol visit. He was accompanied by Walid Hasib, the political attaché of Morocco.
Prof Soh made a short presentation on NBS where she highlighted some of the School’s most significant achievements. She also highlighted two specific areas which could be relevant to Morocco – agri-tech and insurance. Amit Jain explained the mission of the NTU-SBF Centre for African Studies and its work. He expressed his desire to host the Chairman of OCP, Mostafa Terrab in the event he visits Singapore. OCP is one of the world’s leading phosphate producers and an entity of strategic national importance that may hold the key to Africa’s food security.
Ambassador Benabdallah made a case for NTU/NBS to partner with Moroccan Universities and expressed his desire to facilitate meetings. He mentioned a research funding collaboration between OCP and the Ben Gurion University of Israel on climate smart agriculture. He told his hosts that the Kingdom of Morocco has become a magnet for students from all over Africa to come and pursue higher education. According to the ambassador, some 250,000 African students graduate from various Moroccan Universities every year. They are attracted by the high quality of education, ease of acquiring visas and the allure of employment migration to the West. Moroccan students, he said, would like to pursue further studies in Singapore but may be deterred by the high cost of living here. He briefed his hosts about the diversity and vibrancy of the Moroccan economy, its business-friendly environment and the interconnectivity with Europe and the rest of Africa. He invited Prof Soh, Amit Jain, and Wanda Preiser to visit Morocco and promised to facilitate mutually beneficial collaboration.
An architect by training, Mr Benabdellah found the design of The Hive fascinating. He was appointed as the Ambassador of Morocco to Singapore in 2017. The two countries mark 25 years of formal diplomatic relations this year (2022). Bilateral trade between Morocco and Singapore is approximately US$294m (2020). It is tilted slightly in favour of the former (US$183m). Although Singapore does not have a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Morocco yet there is a double-tax avoidance agreement (DTA) in place since 2014.