Morocco Entrepreneurship Conference Focuses on Growing Maghreb-US Partnerships

January 16, 2012


Contact: Vanessa Zuabi
Associate Director, PNB-NAPEO Secretariat, The Aspen Institute
+1 202 957 9030

16 January 2012

Marrakech – US and Maghreb private and public sector leaders will meet in Marrakech, Morocco to discuss ways to support and accelerate entrepreneurship in the Maghreb by expanding intra-Maghreb and US-Maghreb ties. PNB-NAPEO’s second conference highlights the new model for public-private partnerships and their expanding role in leveraging resources within the private and public sectors.

The Second US-Maghreb Entrepreneurship Conference will meet in Marrakech, Morocco 17-18 January 2012. Convened by the Aspen Institute and the U.S. Department of State, this conference follows on the heels of the First US-Maghreb Conference held in Algiers in December 2010.

Key participants include Madeleine K. Albright, former US Secretary of State & PNB Chair; Walter Isaacson, Vice-Chair of PNB, President & CEO of the Aspen Institute and author of the recently released official biography of Steve Jobs; David Arkless, President of Corporate & Global Affairs for Manpower Group; Henrietta Holsman Fore, Chairman & CEO of Holsman International and former USAID Administrator; Mostafa Terrab, CEO of OCP Group; and Abdelmajid Fechkeur, CEO of Redmed Group. In addition, a number of US Government officials will be present including U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Economic & Business Affairs José W. Fernandez; Special Representative for Global Partnerships in the Office of the U.S. Secretary of State Kris Balderston and Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs in the Office of the U.S. Secretary of State Lorraine Hariton.

The conference will be hosted by PNB-NAPEO Morocco, a local chapter of an inter-regional initiative based at the Aspen Institute in Washington, DC dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship and job creation in the Maghreb. Omar Chaabi, Executive Vice President of Ynna Holding, serves as chair of PNB-NAPEO Morocco. Leading the sponsorship of the conference is OCP Group, the largest business in Morocco and largest exporter of phosphates in the world.

Madeleine K. Albright, Chair of Partners for a New Beginning (PNB), said that the upcoming conference would offer a unique opportunity to address issues of significant importance to North Africa. “North Africa is at an historic juncture and business needs to play a vital role in this region’s economic growth. Domestic and foreign investment can be a driving force for increased prosperity and a strong middle class. We are proud to work with our new partners in the region through PNB-NAPEO.”

The conference will include plenaries and interactive workshops on addressing youth unemployment through entrepreneurship and education, access to finance for startup businesses, education exchange and capacity building, Cross-Maghreb regional business opportunities, IT infrastructure and renewable energy.

Walter Isaacson of the Aspen Institute, Vice-Chair of PNB alongside Muhtar Kent of the Coca-Cola Company, said “As its name suggests, PNB- NAPEO is about taking actions that will change the economic facts on the ground in the Maghreb in order to fulfill the tremendous economic potential of this region.  Over the past year, the changing environment in the Middle East has underscored the urgency of the task to which our PNB-NAPEO local chapters have dedicated themselves.  And our PNB-NAPEO members are not just talking, they are doing.”

For further information regarding the conference visit

Background of PNB-NAPEO:

The North Africa Partnership for Economic Opportunity (PNB-NAPEO) is a network of U.S. and North Africa business leaders, entrepreneurs and civil society leaders with a mission to foster job creation and entrepreneurship, with a focus on youth. Over the next five years this network is committed to positively impacting 100,000 people.

PNB-NAPEO is locally-owned and locally-driven. Local Advisory Boards have been established in Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia and are currently being formed in Libya. These boards identify and determine priorities and resources for their respective countries, as well as regional agendas and plans of action.

NAPEO is a regional manifestation of Partners for a New Beginning (PNB): a locally-owned and locally driven initiative, with support from a global coalition of prominent business and civil society leaders. PNB fosters partnerships that advance local priorities. The initiative is co-chaired by Madeleine Albright, Walter Isaacson and Muhtar Kent, CEO of the Coca-Cola Company.

The network created by PNB-NAPEO will be the vehicle for communities in the United States and North Africa to identify, initiate and sustain projects at the Maghreb regional level to foster entrepreneurship and job creation.

For more information regarding PNB and PNB-NAPEO visit

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