Embassy delegation visits U.S. government-supported economic development projects in Dakhla and Laayoune

A delegation of U.S. Embassy staff traveled to Laayoune and Dakhla this week to meet with beneficiaries of economic development programs supported by the U.S. Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) – including including the DakhlaConnect and LaayouneConnect digital platforms, as well as a separate workforce skills training program. for young unemployed people in both cities.

The highlight of the four-day trip was a graduation ceremony for 50 young entrepreneurs from Dakhla who underwent training in social media marketing, e-commerce and networking, aimed at increasing the reach of their businesses by full growth. The 3-day training sessions took place between April and December 2021 at the Regional Investment Center (CRI) of the Dakhla-Oued Eddahab region and at the ENCG Business School in Dakhla.

The graduation ceremony, held at the CRI in Dakhla, comes just over a year after the official launch of the DakhlaConnect.com digital platform, which connects local businesses to potential business partners , including foreign investors. The platform also provides potential investors, sellers, suppliers and entrepreneurs with essential information about the Dakhla-Oued Eddahab region, allowing them to search for local businesses by sector.

A similar platform – LaayouneConnect – was launched in Laayoune on October 13.

Both platforms are the result of strong partnerships between MEPI, the regional investment centers of the two regions, the local Wilayas and JE Austin Associates (a US-based organization). Both platforms now list more than 10,000 companies and have received tens of thousands of visits and hundreds of inquiries from potential investors around the world. MEPI provided $100,000 to fund both platforms.

“Dakhla’s excellent business and investment potential is finally showcased today thanks to the formidable DakhlaConnect digital platform that allows us to promote the region’s economic assets and investment opportunities,” said Mounir Houari, director of the CRI of Dakhla Oued Eddahab.

During their visit to Laayoune and Dakhla, the four-member U.S. Embassy delegation had the opportunity to speak with some of the more than 200 young people who have participated in training programs associated with the MEPI Fellowship .

Skills for Success

Embassy staff also participated in soft skills workshops offered to unemployed youth in Daklha and Laayoune as part of the “Skills for Success” program, which is implemented by Amideast with a $1 grant. $.35 million from MEPI. Over the next three years, the program is expected to benefit 900 young people, with a focus on women and people with disabilities.

The 220-hour Skills for Success program aims to expand participants’ knowledge of career paths and employment resources, helping them develop critical skills and increasing their ability to find employment opportunities. The program incorporates five main areas related to personal and professional development: English proficiency, computer/ICT skills, professional/work skills, community awareness and transition to work. The first cohorts of beneficiaries began their training in February and will continue over three months.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the United States Embassy in Morocco.

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