Assistance to the industry of leather products in the city of Fez

The Assistance to the industry of leather products in the city of Fez (component 4B of the IMPI) has been put in place by UNIDO, in collaboration with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and New Technologies, with a funding from the Italian government of USD 500 000 during the execution period 2001-2008. This project aims at reinforcing the leather industry in the city of Fez, through a cluster approach or a reinforcement of the Local Production Systems (LPS).

The networking approach for this industry is based on three main objectives:

  • To improve the technology and overcome the inherent difficulties, particularly in the infrastructure;
  • To reinforce the associative structure of the sector;
  • To stimulate products commercialisation.

This project includes 5 components representing the structural foundations of the leather sector in Fez:

1.    The set up of an industrial zone dedicated to the leather at Ain Cheggag, in the region of Sefrou ( 27 Km de Fez), by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and New Technologies;

2.    The establishment of an Association grouping the industries operating in the city of Fez ;

3.    The set up of a training center in model-making for shoes and morocco-leather tanning;

4.    The support in the creativity and design as well as the promotion of the products at the international level;  

5.    The establishment of a pilot export consortium.

Main Achievements

Establishment of the Association of Leather Industries in Fez

The Association of Leather Industries in Fez (AICF) was officially established in March 2007. It is structured with 3 branches (Tanning, Shoes and Morocco-leather tanning/ clothing), and 3 centers (Training, Promotion and Update), according the following chart:

Mission of the association :

At the sector level :

  • To provide the sector with an appropriate strategy;
  • To put in place an active participatory system for the members which will enable them to determine their strategy and development plan, in line with the channel’s strategies;
  • To represent a strong innovative proposition;
  • To ensure the promotion of the sector’s offers and image;
  • To develop a national and international partnership.

At  the members level :

  • To protect the interest of the members and represent them at different occasions;
  • To provide assistance to the enterprises in the update, development and bringing up to date the activities;
  • To bring support in solving their problems with relevant institutions.

The AICF has become the main player in the framework of projects bringing support to the leather industries of Fez, related to the different areas of  the UNIDO project (set up of a training, international promotion and update center) as well as to Moroccan governmental institutions (set up of an Industrial Zone) and other cooperation organisms (GTZ, ICE, ECT).

Establishment of a training centre in model-making

A training centre in model-making for shoes and morocco-leather making has been put in place in the professional qualification center of the OFPPT ( Professional training and employment promotion office) during the year 2006 as part of this project.
The aim of this centre is to help the leather industries in Fez to improve their products in order to respond to the national and international market needs, through the development of continuous training modules targeting designers of the shoes and morocco-leather tanning enterprises. In this regard, two Moroccan trainers have been hired and trained locally and in Italy.
A study has been conducted in order to analyse the industrials needs in terms of training. Consequently a 10 months training programme has been developed and a first group of 32 trainees has followed the courses from March 2007.
The centre has been integrated in the CQP and the training plans of the OFPPT.

Assistance in creativity and design

One of the objectives of the project is to reinforce the promotion of the city’s know-how and to increase the value of the exported leather products. It is in this context that the member enterprises of the AICF gathered together to create the «Le maître maroquinier de Fez» trademark and to promote their products at the international market with the support from a designer and an Italian marketing expert.
«Le maître maroquinier de Fez» represents the know-how of this city in the field of leather which has been shown through a fashionable and modern production.
The collection benefited from promotion activities abroad through a study tour in the industrial district of Civitanova in Italy during December 2007.
During this study tour, the enterprises had the opportunity to undertake a direct promotion of their collection (through meetings with potential trade agents), to undertake B to B meetings with potential decision-makers and to be aware of the international production and competitors.

The establishment of a pilot export consortium

Following the study tour in Italy which aimed at promoting the collection in the scope of the project (« Le Maître Maroquinier de Fez »), the participating enterprises are considering the possibility of setting up an export consortium as a tool to face the international competition and thereby responding to the raising awareness in the importance of solidarity instead of solitary. In this context, the future consortium could benefit from the technical assistance of unido as well as support from the main partners of the project involved in the development of export consortiums, namely the Ministry of foreign trade, ASMEX, CMPE and the ANPME.
The success of this consortium will have a positive impact on the concerned enterprises but can also be used as a model for other enterprises operating in the sector, stressing the importance of strategic alliances for the development and the improvement of their performance.