The Moroccan diaspora has long been a driving force in connecting cultures and fostering economic and scientific exchange between Morocco and the rest of the world. With a large number of highly educated individuals living abroad, the diaspora's expertise and knowledge have become vital in addressing the nation's emerging sectors and boosting innovation in Morocco. In this blog, we will explore various programs and initiatives that have been implemented to support Moroccans Living Abroad (MLAs) and their contributions to the development of innovation in Morocco, with a focus on patents as a measure of innovation. Let's delve into the efforts made to harness the potential of the Moroccan diaspora for the nation's growth.
- The Dynamic Moroccan Diaspora:
The Moroccan diaspora, comprising approximately 4.5 million individuals, has consistently played a crucial role in bridging cultures and promoting international cooperation. MLAs, representing 15% of the total population, have been increasing in number, including a growing proportion of women and young individuals. Among these MLAs, over 400,000 are highly skilled, with tertiary or graduate degrees, reflecting the diaspora's wealth of knowledge and expertise.
- Patents: A Key Indicator of Innovation:
A reliable measure of innovation is the production of intellectual property, particularly patents. Analyzing Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) patent applications filed by MLA inventors reveals their substantial contribution to innovation in Morocco. From 1995 to 2011, MLA inventors filed 876 patent applications under the PCT, underscoring the significant role of research laboratories in developed countries in stimulating innovation among Moroccan scientists abroad.
- Strategic Initiatives to Leverage the Diaspora:
Recognizing the immense potential of the diaspora in driving innovation, the Moroccan government has initiated several programs to engage MLAs in the country's development:
a) Mobilization Program Skills: This program encourages highly skilled MLAs to contribute their expertise and knowledge to Morocco's development. It facilitates partnerships between MLAs and Moroccan public and private entities, fostering entrepreneurship and innovative projects.
b) FINCOME Program: Implemented by the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRST) and the Association RD Maroc, FINCOME involves Moroccan professionals residing abroad in supporting the country's economic, social, and cultural growth. It offers partial funding to support expert activities and projects.
c) Morocco Incubation: A novel business incubator hosted by the CNRST, Morocco Incubation aims to nurture innovative companies created by Moroccan professionals living abroad. Although in its early stages, it holds promise for fostering entrepreneurship within the diaspora.
- Success Stories: The Moroccan Association for Scientific Innovation and Research (MAScIR) is an excellent example of the successful involvement of MLAs in innovation. Founded in 2007, MAScIR has actively engaged 17 former MLAs with diverse specialties. These MLAs have significantly contributed to MAScIR's research and development activities, with 50% of the organization's 44 patents having MLA inventors.
The Moroccan diaspora has emerged as a formidable driving force behind innovation and development in Morocco. The government's strategic initiatives have successfully mobilized MLAs to contribute their knowledge and expertise to the nation's growth. Patents filed by MLA inventors are a testament to their vital role in fostering innovation in Morocco. With continued efforts to harness the potential of the diaspora, Morocco stands to benefit from the valuable contributions of its skilled professionals living abroad, further propelling the country's innovation journey.