How Mostafa Terrab transformed Morocco’s fertilizer company into one of the best in the world

Ben Ebuka April 12, 2023
Photo Credit: WonderingCamel

Mostafa Terrab is a Moroccan businessman and industrialist, as well as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Office Chérifien des Phosphates (OCP Group), a Moroccan state-owned company in crop nutrition production. He has also been the President of the International Fertilizer Association since 2019.

OCP started in 1920 as a state-owned phosphate mining company. In 2016, Mostafa took over the helm of affairs and transformed OCP from a mining company into a company that develops Morocco’s phosphorus reserves into a diverse range of sustainable and high-quality products for farmers across five continents.

Under his leadership, OCP has become one of the world’s leading and most efficient manufacturers in the industry. The company’s equity value and revenues grew substantially, with a remarkable $6 billion turnover in 2020, expanded into India and South America in 2020, and increased its annual exports to Africa from 50,000 tonnes to 3m tonnes per year. The company was also involved in soil fertility mapping in some African countries, with the purpose of customizing its plant nutrition products to suit the local soils and crops in each country.

Mostafa created a formidable team, working assiduously with him to grow the company, and they have successfully moved OCP from a single entity to a conglomerate known today as OCP Group, with subsidiaries focused on different interests. Under the OCP Group are Phosboucraa, OCP North America, OCP Africa, and Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P).


Phosboucra operates OCP mines and a fertilizer production facility in Boucraa, in the Moroccan Sahara. It provides jobs and development opportunities to rural communities in Africa, and assists farmers working in arid conditions.

OCP North America

OCP North America focuses on growing the Group’s presence in North America, building relationships, and providing plant-based nutrition solutions specific to the needs of North American soils.

OCP Africa

OCP Africa develops sustainable growth in Africa’s agriculture sector, creating fertilizers customized to local conditions and crops, and partnering with governments, NGOs, and private enterprises to connect farmers to agricultural services, knowledge, and resources needed for the growth of the industry.

Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P)

UM6P is a center of knowledge dedicated to research, innovation, and quality education geared towards the development of Africa’s agriculture industry and solving global food security issues.

In line with his pragmatic leadership style, the Group unveiled its 2021 – 2030 strategy involving a green shift to be implemented through innovative methods developed at Mohammed VI Polytechnic University. The strategy will create a more environmentally-friendly industry focused on decarbonization and water preservation.

Following the decisions made by His Majesty King Mohammed VI during his visit to Nigeria in 2016, the Group signed an agreement on March 2021 with the Government of Nigeria to build a $1.3 billion fertilizer plant in Nigeria.

Education and Career

Mostafa is a graduate of engineering from the École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées in France (1979). He completed his education with a master’s degree in engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1982) and a Doctorate degree in operations research at the same university in 1990. While doing his Ph.D., he held a teaching position of Assistant Professor and Researcher.

He worked as a professor in the Department of Decision Sciences and Engineering Systems at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering from 1990 – 1992.

He returned to Morocco in 1992 and was appointed the Chargé de Mission to King Hassan II. He later worked as the Secretary General of the Middle East and North Africa Economic Summit. In 2006, he was appointed the Director-General of Office Chérifien des Phosphates (OCP), and became the Chairman and CEO of OCP Group in 2008 when the company became a Public Limited Company.

In June 2019, he became the President of the International Fertilizer Association (IFA), a global association of 480 organizations in the fertilizer industry from 68 countries, and a member of the Committee for Moroccan Development the same year. In 1998, he received the Frederick C. Hennie III prize for his contributions to the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT. Mostafa was named one of the 100 Most Influential Africans in 2013, 2020, and 2022 by the New African Magazine.

Last Edited by:Annie-Flora Mills Updated: April 12, 2023


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