The 3rd Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum taking place this week in Marrakech on the sidelines of the United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP22) will be the first opportunity for Lamiae Benmakhlouf, the newly appointed director general of the Moroccan Information Technopark Company (MITC), to address an international audience.
Benmakhlouf will discuss her vision, having recently been selected by MITC to take charge of the country's flagship ICT and green technologies funder following a successful interview with Morocco's Minister of Trade, Industry and New Technologies.
While her appointment is seen as momentous for the influence she may have on young women who wish to work in ICT, she is is not new to MITC having held the positions of Chief Financial Officer between 2002 and 2007 as well as Director of Operational and Support Division from 2008 up to 2011.
At the helm of the government-owned MITC, the organisation says she is now in charge of empowering ICT entrepreneurs by providing a working environment suitable for business development and improving networking with local and international economic players and support organisations.
Benmakhlouf told Morroco's Quid.ma publication there are no immediate plans to add to the Techopark's existing three divisions: Casablanca, Rabat and Tangier.
"For now we are totally focused on the northern region of a startups facility in the Technopark Tangier. You should know that the management of MITC is very limited, there are only 35 staff for 3 Technoparks, but we make do. The key for us is to finalise the installation of startups in the Technopark of Tangier, and then we will think of creating others ... But this will occur only when the authorities will find us a property located near to and accessible for public transportation."
She added that her part of her goal is to continue the work that was done by her predecessor Omar Balafrej while modernising MITC's management processes and expanding its ecosystem in addition to accelerating regional duplication of Technopark.
"To achieve this we will rely on the involvement of other local actors. There is a long waiting list in every city where the Technopark exists, it means that the environment of the Technopark encourages young people to realise their projects and create their businesses. These companies find comfort and support is needed to facilitate their financing and especially market access. This last point remains the major difficulty experienced by our startups."
At the Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum Benmakhlouf will join other significant players in Morocco's ICT community including Samia Chakri, Director of Digital Economy in the Ministry of Industry, Trade, Investment and Digital Economy, as well as Majid el Bouazzaoui, Director of the Morocco Union of Inventors.
Microsoft and Nokia are among other international ICT companies that will be represented during the forum which aims to explore innovative solutions for cities of the future, climate and the environment, social entrepreneurship, CSR practices and sustainability, venture philanthropy and impact investing, among others.