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Diaspo #116 : Hicham Sabil, an engineer who dreams of training school dropouts in Morocco

Computer engineer, Hicham Sabil wants to create bridges between France and Morocco through his company. It aims to help young Moroccans who have dropped out of school by launching a dedicated program.

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Moroccan computer engineer Hicham Sabil. / Ph. DR

Hicham Sabil attended school in Agadir, where he was born in 1972. After graduating high school in 1990, he moved to Marrakech to join the Faculty of Legal, Economic and Social Sciences at the Cadi Ayyad University.

In 1994, his university's Department of Applied Sciences was accredited by the state, which allowed him to be «selected among 20 students to sit for an exam and receive a scholarship abroad, as part of a partnership with Aix-Marseille II University», he told Yabiladi, recalling those years that marked a real turning point in his life.

In 1996, Hicham Sabil moved to Aix-en-Provence to further his studies in management science. «Finding accommodation was difficult at first, not to mention a curriculum somewhat different from the one I followed in Morocco», he recalled.

Faced with the difficulties encountered at the beginning of his long stay in Aix-en-Provence, Hicham and other Moroccan students gathered around a platform to facilitate integration with initiatives including facilitating «access to housing in the university campus and tutoring, among others».

After graduating university in 1997, Hicham Sabil decided to join the IT department of the Institute of Business Administration (IAE), but the high academic fees forced him to drop out for one year to work and get money to be able to afford it.

Hicham Sabil told Yabiladi that luckily, all this coincided with the decision of Jean-Pierre Chevènement, then Minister of the Interior, who wanted to facilitate the procedures for foreign students who were into the IT field. Indeed, the series of measures implemented allowed him to obtain a permanent residence permit in France and an indefinite leave to remain.

Helping Moroccan dropouts

In 1999, Hicham Sabil moved to Paris, where he was recruited by France Telecom. After a few years of work experience accumulation, he created his own company in 2006, but such a difficult entrepreneurial venture was full of pitfalls. While the obstacles made him doubt his future for a short period, he received a job offer within digital services company Atos, as part of a project in partnership with Maroc Telecom. «I accepted the offer and joined the Moroccan subsidiary [of Atos, ed] in 2008, moving to Rabat for about a year», he says.

Although the engineer had intended to settle permanently in the country at the end of the project, he ended up going back to France, saying «disappointed with many things in Morocco, whether in the way of working or the way of life».

Taking a new turn, he transformed his business into a big brand and decided to build a new one, specialized in finance. «I started working with banks such as BNP Paribas, to help them set up new processes in line with technological developments», Hicham Sabil explains.

Hicham is working on a project of schools in several Moroccan cities. Its aim is «to ensure that young people who have dropped out of school receive quality training, leading to a degree in partnership with companies, in order to enable them integrate».

«The only requirement to access this school is the will for it. Many young Moroccans are talented in different fields, but the circumstances have not helped them to progress and we will reach out to them to support them in this direction».

Hicham Sabil

His attachment to his native country led him to engage in politics as Hicham Sabil joined the National Rally of Independents (RNI). In this context, he expressed his determination to «defend many issues relating to Moroccans living in France, including the right to vote and to stand for election».

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