Since his first project at Nathan Associates criss-crossing Africa until his present assignment in Indonesia, Mr. Benjelloun has worked passionately to build trade capacity in developing countries.
Until recently, Mr. Benjelloun led trade policy and trade facilitation work under the USAID-funded Technical Assistance for Policy Reform II (TAPR II) project in Egypt. While helping the Ministry of Trade Industry (MTI) update its import and export regulations, he is also helping the government and the private sector establish a food safety agency. In the past year he led interinstitutional working groups on laws and regulations, food labs, food inspection, and human resources. Under his direction an FSA transition team was recruited, an FSA strategic plan drafted, and several reports on inspection and labs written. The draft law establishing the FSA was approved by key ministers and now awaits parliamentary approval.
From 2002 to 2006, Mr. Benjelloun was a trade specialist with the Assistance for Trade Reform Project, also in Egypt. He first helped 30 officials in the MTI's WTO Unit improve their skills and better defend Egypt's rights in the WTO. He then expanded his assistance to the rest of the Trade Agreements Sector (TAS), including bilateral and regional trade negotiators, trade lawyers, and trade remedy investigators. Mr. Benjelloun managed
By the end of the project, more than 40 officials had earned master's degrees in business administration, economics, or law at local universities.
Mr. Abdel-Rahman Fawzy, head of the TAS, credited the project with building a strong basis for leadership. Most MBA graduates have been promoted to middle-management positions, and the Minister relies on them for advice on WTO negotiations and to raise awareness in the private sector and the media. Just as important, private sector leaders continuously praise these newly trained staff—proof positive of Mr. Benjelloun's and ATR's contribution to a greatly improved Ministry.
Earlier, in Madagascar, Mr. Benjelloun led technical assistance and training in trade policy and establishment of a Madagascar–U.S. Business Council. And in his major assignment with the firm, he assisted the Private Sector Foundation of Uganda in contributing to the country's negotiation of regional trade agreements and WTO agreements. The project helped many Ugandans understand what was at stake in trade agreements—by supporting local research institutions, by conducting an aggressive public awareness campaign, and by providing technical assistance and training with the Uganda Revenue Authority, Uganda Law Reform Commission, and Makerere University.
International trade policy, trade facilitation
English, Arabic (Moroccan, Egyptian), French