Developing Climate Risk Management Approaches for SMEs in Morocco

The industrial zone in Aït Melloul was selected as a pilot zone due to its historical exposure to flash floods which have caused significant financial losses. It lies in the Souss Massa region, 20km from the port of Agadir. This industrial zone is managed by the local government in close cooperation with the business association Association des Investisseurs de la ZI d’Aït Melloul (ADIZIA) and hosts approximately 300 enterprises, most of which are SMEs operating in the food processing industry. Overall, 25,000 employees depend directly or indirectly on business in this industrial zone.

The park was successively hit by major floods in 2010, 2014 and 2016 caused by heavy precipitation events. A badly maintained drainage system is essentially responsible for the damage and losses which occurred. In addition, a low level of risk awareness and prevention by the individual companies increased the impact. The plight of Aït Melloul is indicative of broader climate trends facing the country. The effects of climate change are more and more present in Morocco, which has been identified as very vulnerable country by the 4th Assessment Report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Thus, SMEs in Morocco are vulnerable to a broad range of extreme weather events such as floods, severe rainfalls, heatwaves and droughts, which become more frequent in warmer climate conditions.