The Moroccan masks that are sweeping the world

Exports of this medical material reached 18.5 million at the beginning of June
Employees of a factory in Casablanca (Morocco) pack masks

PHOTO/REUTERS  -   Employees of a factory in Casablanca (Morocco) pack masks

From the shortage to the export of almost 20 million masks. This has been the path that Morocco has drawn from April to the beginning of June. The country has managed to make a virtue of necessity and has achieved the goal of providing face masks to the entire population. But production has also been so successful that Moroccan masks have been exported to 11 countries around the world, including France, Italy, Germany, Mexico and Belgium. Until June 9, 18.5 million units have been sold abroad, according to the data handled by the Ministry of Industry and Trade and collected this Sunday by the newspaper Al-Ain News.

Ministro de Industria
PHOTO/REUTERS - The Minister of Industry and Trade, Moulay Hafid Elalamy, visits a mask factory in Casablanca (Morocco)

The success of the Moroccan masks is also for the country's economy at a very critical time for all global finances. The export of this material is providing very juicy foreign currency income for the Alaouite kingdom, mainly from European purchases, according to the Al-Ain News newspaper. A total of 300 companies are currently authorized in Morocco by the Ministry of Industry to produce masks. Every day they produce 10 million disposable face masks and another four million reusable units. The companies are not the only ones to have joined the huge manufacturing effort. Convicts serving sentences are also helping out and 20,000 masks are released from prisons every day, according to data provided by the prison administration and collected by the newspaper Al-Ain News. 

An opportunity for innovation

The word crisis comes from the Greek and refers to the instant when a break occurs. In medicine it is used to describe a point at which the patient has only two options: to die or to get better. The Moroccan economy has gone through a similar process. Morocco's official statistical body, the High Commission for the Plan (HCP), published a chilling piece of information in mid-March. Up to 142,000 companies were forced to suspend their activity temporarily or definitively as a result of the pandemic. This figure represents 57% of the country's productive fabric, made up of small companies. The manufacture of medical equipment is proving to be a handhold to boost national production and economic recovery. 

Fábricas mascarillas
PHOTO/REUTERS - Production line of a factory focused on the production of masks to supply the population during the coronavirus pandemic

"The national industry is making a technological leap in quality today. Morocco has shown that it has the capacity to produce and manufacture very efficiently," said the Minister of Industry and Trade, Moulay Hafid Elalamy, in statements collected by Al-Ain News. This politician believes that the production vein of sanitary material that Morocco has found will be a very important source of job opportunities for Moroccans, which is also providing an income in foreign exchange reserves very important for the finances of the nation.

Respirador
AFP/FADEL SENNA - A technician makes a respirator in a factory in Nouacer (Morocco), 30 kilometres from Casablanca
Beyond masks

In addition to industry, research and development institutes have also redoubled their efforts in the face of the challenge posed by the pandemic. Morocco has also managed to manufacture its own 100% home-made artificial respirators and a temperature measurement device for patients suffering from COVID-19, thanks to the work and expertise of researchers at the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University. The respirators have been made from Moroccan components and have been distributed throughout the country, according to the Oxford Business Group consulting firm.