Today, former Downing Street adviser and host of podcast Jimmy’s Jobs Jimmy McLoughlin takes the Notebook pen
Morocco: A bridge for Africa
Morocco was devastated by the earthquake that occurred on 8 September and caused human and material losses in various regions of the kingdom. Naturally, writing a column like this makes me think about the business links between our two countries – and what those links could do. As with any humanitarian disaster, there is an immediate need for cash, but in the longer term, rebuilding an economy requires stronger economic and trading links.
And there are a surprisingly large number of examples already in train. There are ambitious projects between the countries in the works that many people may not be aware of.
Renewable energy is a great example; the company Xlinks is hoping to build four 3,800km cables that will connect Morocco to Devon, taking advantage of the weather conditions in the Sahara, specifically solar by day and wind by night. The scale of the project is enormous, and if successful, would provide eight per cent of British electricity and also create 1,350 jobs here in the UK. There are many British business leaders who are already working on the project, including the former chair of Rolls-Royce, Sir Ian Davis and the former CEO of Tesco, Dave Lewis. The founder and CEO of Octopus Energy Greg Jackson is an investor.
Since an association agreement was signed between the two countries in 2021, total trade in goods and services between the two countries has increased by a staggering 50 per cent. In 2022 the UK and Morocco did about £3.bn-worth of bilateral trade.
In a post-Brexit world, the UK and Morocco partnership is already increasing in strategic importance. With the tragic events of the last few weeks, there is an even greater need for British businesses to look at the country and work out how more business can be done between the countries.
If Turkey is a bridge to Asia, could a country like Morocco provide a bridge to Africa’s 1.2bn people?
Fog on the Tyne
I spent a significant amount of time in the North East over the summer working on our most ambitious project for Jimmy’s Jobs, with Sunderland Software City, examining the 27,000 technology jobs in the sector. It’s not as far as you think: leaving London at 7am, we were filming by 10am. The region is buzzing, from esports to Hollywood blockbusters.
The video we produced has proved a hit on Youtube, demonstrating there is a greater demand for regional business content than people might think. Just search on Youtube for ‘from coal to code: the North East is cutting edge’.
Why I did a stand-up comedy course
Most corporate events are boring. In a world where it is easier and easier to organise events, the competition is heating up.
As I make about a third of my income through public speaking, I decided that I wanted to be a bit funnier, which is why I enrolled on Logan Murray’s comedy course. For 10 weeks I sat in the basement of the Museum of Comedy off Tottenham Court Road crafting different styles and types of jokes.
Fast forward, and a couple of weeks ago I did my first proper stand-up comedy gig, and it went surprisingly well. I was persuaded to put a snippet on social media, it has now been viewed over 100,000 times across different social media platforms. I’m afraid that means that yes, I will be releasing the full version.