FOSTEX roundtable 2: the Moroccan edition held as webinar to comply with COVID-19 restrictions.
ESITH – Higher School of Textile and Clothing Industries, AMITH – Association of Textile and Clothing Industries and UH2C – Hassan II University of Casablanca organized a live webinar meeting on October 2, 2020 to execute FOSTEX’s Moroccan roundtable.
The webinar was moderated by Prof. Najib Hamouti and Prof. Omar Cherkaoui from ESITH and attended by over 30 participants representing several Moroccan textile & clothing manufacturers connected via Zoom and Facebook live.
The opening remarks of the webinar were delivered by Prof. Hassan Hannache – Professor at UH2C, Mrs. Fatima-Zahra Alaoui – Executive Director AMITH, Prof. Mònica Ardanuy – FOSTEX Project Coordinator (UPC) and Mr. Mohamed Lahlou – Chairman of the Board at ESITH. They highlighted the main objective of FOSTEX project that is to develop partnership between the industry and universities through establishing technology centres UH2C and ESITH. The centres are planned to provide package of services to the industry as well as to students and researchers in several areas such as specialized consultancy, advisory, training, lab testing, applied research, innovation and product development.
The meeting continued following the agenda, with a presentation of Prof. Ardanuy describing the project main objectives, pillars and methodologies, indicating that FOSTEX project aims to enhance competitiveness of the garment & textile sector in Morocco and Jordan, also that the roundtable meeting aims to enhance consultation with the industry and plan the intended technology centre services. Then, Prof. Hamouti presented the outcomes and recommendations of a field survey that was conducted by ESITH and AMITH and answered by 24 textile and clothing manufactures. The survey questions covered several areas such as competition in the local market as well as export issues in addition to the status and priority needs of the Moroccan textile and clothing industry. Prof. Hamouti confirmed that the Moroccan clothing industry needs to shift gradually from price based to innovation based competition.
Following, the Moroccan HEI representatives, Prof. Omar Cherkaoui for ESITH and Prof. Said Gmouh for UH2C, delivered a presentation about the advanced textiles technology centre to be established with FOSTEX’s contributions at each university: mission, services and the equipment to be acquired were illustrated, highlighting the technical tests that can be performed by each equipment and the planned services dedicated to the industry, students, researchers and start-ups.
Furthermore, a presentation by non-Moroccan project partners was delivered starting with a presentation by Dr. Ariadna Detrell (AEI TÈXTILS) describing the EU markets of the advanced technical textile sector highlighting the functionalities of the technical textile, value chain as well as the final applications in several areas such as civil engineering, construction, medical sector, automobiles, personal protection and sports. Then, Dr. Detrell highlighted about the EU Markets trends and indicators of the technical textile industry which covered around 27% of the total textile industry led by Italy, Germany, France and Spain and the turnover in 2016 was Euro 24 Billion operated by 6,000 Enterprises that employed 111,000 workers.
Prof. Cherkaoui continued presenting the experience of Morocco in the area of advanced textiles highlighting the export indicators of the Moroccan textile & clothing sector which reached a level of 3,7 Billion US$ in 2017. Among them, the Moroccan technical textile cluster (C2TM) has a market volume of 1,3 Billion US$. Also, Prof. Cherkaoui indicated that the R&D department of ESITH served the companies during the last 10 years in products development, innovation and in responding to companies’ daily problems and consulting on innovative processes. He indicated that ESITH has conducted 55 applied research projects among them 34 PhD projects, also they gained 21 patents and issued 100 scientific publications.
Finally, a discussion took place where the participants confirmed several main points such as the importance for the planned technology centres to add value for the industry in the area of innovation and product development, as well as the need to organize specialized training in production management and productivity improvement in order to employ Moroccan professionals in these specialties. Also, the participants raised the issue of the Moroccan textile and clothing industry facing serious obstacles due to increasing import of low quality and cost products. Furthermore, a discussion took place covering the investment opportunities and niche markets in the area of technical and advanced textiles.