Learn about the economic history of Morocco and the country’s investment potential.
Read about the companies and investors focused on this North African country.
Economic History in Brief
In the early 1960s, Morocco established a range of development projects with the goal of increasing production and improving the country’s economy. The main area of focus was on modernising Morocco’s agricultural industry with some attention to be placed on the tourism sector. Despite the goal of a growth rate of 6.2%, only 3% was achieved by 1964. Between 1968 and 1972 the development plan concentrated on increasing agriculture and irrigation as well as tourism. During this period the growth rate surpassed the goal of 5% and even exceeded 6%.
During the 1970s investments in Morocco were mainly made in tourism and industry in industries like chemicals, paper and metal fabrication. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, the development plan involved stabilising the Moroccan payment position. This was followed by an ambitious five-year plan with a goal of using an investment of over $18 billion to achieve an annual growth rate of 6.5%. The main objective of the plan was to create around 900,000 new jobs and to provide training in modern-day production techniques to employees.
In the late 1990s, a drought negatively affected the Moroccan economy by depressing the agricultural industry, but this depression did not last. Better rains made a positive impact on the economy in subsequent years and in 2006 a booming real estate market resulted in growth exceeding 9%. During this time, long-term challenges such as improving education, servicing external debt and priming the economy for freer trade with the EU were tackled.
Despite the economic and political instability experienced by its neighbouring countries, Morocco has become one of the most prominent emerging markets for investment and has become known as a regional export and manufacturing hub for countries across the globe. Over the past decade or so, Morocco has seen an accelerated process of social, economic and political reforms resulting in steady economic growth. Because of this, and its strategic geographic location, Morocco is a country well worth considering for investment. It is cost-competitive, has shown stable and strong macroeconomic performance, and has a world-class infrastructure, a qualified labour force and a constantly improving business climate.
In recent times, the main areas of foreign investment in Morocco have been focused on healthcare, hospitality and industrial companies. While these sectors continue to be considered as lucrative, the key sectors of the national economy now lie in clothing and textiles, and in tourism. There is also massive potential in agriculture, high-tech and call centres.
Over the past few years, the Moroccan government has been the driving force behind a range of privatisations in mobile telephony, finance, water supply and food processing. The government has also been particularly focused on boosting the automotive and aerospace industries and continues to attract top international operations specialising in these sectors. As such these industries play a major role in the country’s economy and are significant assets worthy of investment.
Companies Investing in Morocco
The main foreign companies invested in Morocco include:
Telefonica, a Spanish telecommunications company with a presence in Morocco as Méditel mobile.
Dell, an American multinational technology company.
France has close to 500 subsidiary companies located in Morocco providing over 65,000 jobs. French companies in Morocco include Renault, Total, Holcim, Sanofi-Aventis, Nestlé and STMicroelectronics.
By early 2019 as many as 41 investment projects were approved by the Regional Investment Centre of Laayoune-Sakia El Hamra, Southern Morocco. Valued at around $580 million, the projects are focused on trade, construction, tourism, industry, energy and mining and services. Morocco is actively developing the tech investment sector and hopes to attract investments of around $10 billion as well as 100,000 jobs at Tanger Tech Mohammed VI, a high-tech city developed near Tangier through a collaboration between BMCE Bank and China Communications Construction Co and its subsidiary China Road and Bridge Corp.
An Australian medical technology company called 4Dx has made investments in Morocco to the value of $15 million. 4Dx developed patented medical technology that involves four-dimensional lung imaging. The American startup accelerator Y Combinator has actively been making investments in Morocco since 2009. Between 2009 and 2016 Y Combinator invested $25.3 million.
Investors with Interests in Morocco
Investors from all over the world have shown investment interest in Morocco, especially in recent years. Some of the most significant investors in Morocco include Jerome Mouthon, a Casablanca-based investor interested in clean technology and digital media. Mouthon has vested interests in Moroccan companies such as Buzeff, a managed services company that broadcasts online video advertising with the goal of improving brand reach.
Other investors with interests in Morocco include:
Mark Belinsky, a San Francisco-based technology entrepreneur.
Saïd Eastman, a Boston-based investment advisor and entrepreneur who is the founder of Salesforecaster and is interested in consumer internet and enterprise software.
Nic Pantucci, a San Francisco-based entrepreneur and investor interested in productivity software. Pantucci is the co-founder of WaystoCap.
António Mello Campello, a Lisbon-based investment banker interested in energy efficiency.
Jonathan Becker, a San Francisco-based tech venture capitalist looking for early-stage startups in the consumer web and mobile space.
The Moroccan economy is ruled by the law of supply and demand and is considered to be reasonably liberal. The country has been experiencing stable economic growth over the decades and has consistently increased its FDI. Morocco is located in a highly strategic geographic location and in recent years, it has become apparent that the North African country is actively positioning itself as a business hub between Sub-Saharan Africa, Europe and the Middle East.
Since 2006, when Morocco and the United States signed a Free Trade Agreement, Morocco has attracted positivity from the United States State Department. According to a report released by the US State Department, Morocco enjoys a healthy infrastructure and political stability. The overall positive business environment and import cover ratio ensure that Morocco remains one of the top African countries to invest in.
Morocco has a high potential for investment in a range of industries including clothing and textiles, tourism, technology, agriculture and in call centres.