Source : http://www.invest.gov.ma/?lang=en&Id=9

I.  Moroccan Economy panorama

Morocco has capitalized on its proximity to Europe and relatively low labor costs to work towards building a diverse, open, market-oriented economy.

Since the accession to the throne of the King MOHAMMED VI in 1999, His Majesty has presided over a stable economy marked by steady growth, low inflation, and gradually falling unemployment, although poor harvests and economic difficulties in Europe contributed to an economic slowdown.

In this regard, it’s interesting to underline the following:

1.Morocco’s key sectors of the economy include agriculture, tourism, aerospace, automotive, phosphates, textiles, apparel, and subcomponents.

2.Morocco has increased investment in its port, transportation, and industrial infrastructure to position itself as a center and broker for business throughout Africa.

3.Morocco’s industrial development strategies and infrastructure improvements - most visibly illustrated by a new port and free trade zone near Tangier - are increasing Morocco's competitiveness.

4.Morocco entered into the processes of economic openness and integration into the global economy which is consolidated through the conclusion of free-trade treaties with the United States, the European Union, Turkey, member States of the Arab League as part of the Greater Arab Free Trade Area, and the Mediterranean Arab countries as part of Agadir Agreement. A trade agreement with The West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) should shortly come into force.

5.Morocco also seeks to expand its renewable energy capacity with a goal of making renewable more than 50% of installed electricity generation capacity by 2030.

Agriculture activity: Modernisation and diversification

During 50 years, Moroccan agriculture has made great progress in terms of modernization and diversification. Then as now, farming is also one of the pillars of the Moroccan economy.

With four million jobs, the agricultural sector is one of the main sectors at the national level. The rural population is also estimated at 18 million people, which represents 49% of all households nationally.

The share of agricultural upstream in the national economy is considerable, with 74 billion dirhams, which corresponds to 14% of the gross domestic product (GDP). Despite repeated cycles of drought, agricultural GDP has more than doubled since the 60s.

Morocco has also improved its sufficiency for certain foodstuffs, in a context marked by an increase in the integration of international markets. The Kingdom ensures 100% of its needs meat, fruit and vegetables, 82% of its milk, 50% of its sugar requirements, 60% of its cereal needs and 20% of its oil needs.

Internationally, Agricultural imports represent between 14 and 24% of total imports. And as for agricultural exports, they represent between 15 and 21% of total exports.

2016, Morocco’s exports of agricultural and related products were $4.5 billion, while its imports were $5.7 billion.  The European Union is Morocco’s primary trading partner, accounting for about 60 percent of Morocco’s agricultural exports.


In Morocco, Agriculture is a strategic sector, economically and socially. It plays major roles in terms of food security and nutrition, supply for agro-industry, employment, integration into the international markets, stabilization of populations in rural areas, and sustainable development.

What are the major sectors of Morocco’s agriculture?

Morocco’s agriculture can be divided into three major sectors:

1.Modern, private, irrigated, highly capitalized, and export-oriented farms producing mostly fruit and vegetables

2. Agriculture within reorganized large scale dam-irrigated perimeters producing mostly dairy, sugar crops, seeds,          fruits and vegetables mostly for the local market  

3.Rain-fed agriculture with more favorable land in the northwest (growing mostly grains, olives, pulses, red meat and dairy) and less favorable land in the south and east (growing mostly grains and non-intensive sheep production).

What is the Green Morocco Plan?

In April 2008, the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Maritime Fishing launched the Green Morocco Plan (Plan Maroc Vert)  setting out the agriculture development strategy through 2020.  It has two mains pillars:

1.Development of modern and competitive agriculture, vital for the national economy, through the realization of thousands of new projects, with a focus on high-value agriculture;

2.Support to small-holder agriculture through the implementation or professionalization of 545 projects of small farms in difficult rural areas, thereby promoting greater productivity, greater recovery of production and sustainability of farm income. This second pillar also seeks the conversion of cereal crops to higher-value alternatives and as well as value-added processing.

For more details http://www.agriculture.gov.ma/en

 

Fishing Industry :

 

The fishing sector in Morocco has developed an integrated, ambitious and comprehensive development in 2020 called "Halieutis. It aims at upgrading and modernization of various sectors of the fishing industry and improve its competitiveness and performance

The grand strategy of sector development meansbuild the sector into a genuine development opportunity in the Kingdom, and is basedon three main axes declined as projects: Sustainable use of resources and promotionof responsible fishing involving Fishermen also considered as major players in sector development The development of an efficient and quality fishing StrengtheningCompetitiveness. (Source: http://www.invest.gov.ma/?Id=66&lang=en&RefCat=6&Ref=149).

 

Renewable Energy in Morocco

Morocco is the only North African country with no natural oil resources and is the largest energy importer in the region with 96 per cent of its energy needs being sourced externally. The leading supplier of Morocco’s energy requirements is Saudi Arabia at 48 per cent. By 2009 Morocco’s energy bill had reached MAD62 billion (approximately US$7.3 billion) and electricity demand in the country is projected to quadruple by 2030.

However, in the absence of a proven specific industrial process that can produce oil and gas from this unconventional source, Morocco has turned to implementing a number of strategies (the National Renewable Energy and Efficiency Plan, in February 2008to develop alternative energy and gives priority to developing renewable energy and sustainable development.

The major sources of alternative energy in Morocco are solar and wind. Wind energy potential is excellent in vast parts in the northern and southern regions, with the annual average wind speed exceeding 9 m/s at 40 meters elevation. As far as solar is concerned, the country experiences 3000 hours per year of annual sunshine equivalent to 5.3 kWh/m²/day. In Morocco, the total installed renewable energy capacity (excluding hydropower) was approximately 787MW at the end of year 2015. The Moroccan Government has set up an ambitious target of meeting 42% of its energy requirements using renewable resources (2GW solar and 2GW wind) by 2020. Morocco is investing more than USD13 billion in developing its renewable energy sector, which will reduce its dependence on imported energy carriers to a great extent. 

a.  Morocco Solar Program

In November 2009, Morocco has launched one of the world’s largest and most ambitious solar energy plan with investment of USD 9billion. The Moroccan Solar Plan is regarded as a milestone on the country’s path towards a secure andsustainable energy supply which is clean, green and affordable. The aim of the plan is to generate 2,000 megawatts (or 2 gigawatts) of solar power by the year 2020 by building mega-scale solar power projects at five location — LaayouneBoujdour,TarfayaAin Beni Mathar and Ouarzazate — with modern solar thermal, photovoltaic and concentrated solar powermechanisms. Morocco, the only African country to have a power cable link to Europe, is also a key player in Mediterranean Solar Plan and Desertec Industrial Initiative. 

Construction is underway at the 500MW Solar Power Complex at Ouarzazate, the world’s largest solar power plant. To be built with investment of an estimated Euros 2.3 billion, the project is the first one to be implemented under the Moroccan Solar Plan. The Ouarzazate Solar Complex, also known as Noor CSP with a total capacity of 580 MW will produce an estimated output of 1.2 TWh/year to meet power demand of more than 1 million populations when it is completed in 2018. The first phase of Ouarzazate solar project, known as Noor 1 CSP, is a 160-MW concentrated solar power (CSP) plant which has switched on in Febrary 2016. Around $3.9bn has been invested in the Ouarzazate solar complex, including $1bn from the German investment bank KfW, $596m from the European Investment Bank and $400m from the World Bank.

The Ain Beni Mather Integrated Solar Thermal Combined Cycle Power Station, commissioned in 2011, is one of the most promising solar power projects in Africa.  The plant combines solar power and thermal power, and has the production capacity of 472 MWe. The total cost of the project was US$544 million including US$43.2 million in grant financing from the GEF, two loans from the African Development Bank (AfDB) for a total of US$371.8 million and a loan of US$ 129 million from Spain’s Instituto de Credito Official (ICO).

In 2010, the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN) a public-private venture, was set up specifically to implement these projects.  Its mandate is to implement the overall project and to coordinate and to supervise other activities related to this initiative. Stakeholders of the Agency include the Hassan II Fund For Economic & Social Development, Energetic Investment Company and the Office National de l’Electricité (ONE). The Solar Plan is backed by Germany, with funding being provided by German Environment Ministry (BMU) and KfW Entwicklungsbank while GIZ is engaged in skills and capacity-building for industry.

b. Morocco Wind Program

Morocco has huge wind energy potential due to it 3,500 km coast line and average wind speeds between 6 and 11 m/s. Regions near the Atlantic coast, such as EssaouiraTangier and Tetouan (with average annual average wind speeds between 9.5 and 11 m/s at 40 metres) and TarfayaLaayouneDakhla, and Taza (with annual average wind speed between 7.5 and 9.5 m/s at 40 metres) has excellent wind power potential. The total potential for wind power in Morocco is estimated at around 7,936 TWh per year, which would be equivalent to about 2,600 GW. Morocco’s total installed wind power capacity at the end of 2015 was an impressive 787MW.

The first wind farm in Morocco was installed in 2000 with a capacity of 50.4 MW in El Koudia El Baida (Tlat Taghramt – Province of Tetouan), situated 17km from the town of Fnidek. The annual production of the project is around 200 GWh, accounting for 1% of the national annual electricity consumption. In 2007, 60MW Amogdoul wind farm, on Cap Sim south of Essaouira, came online. This wind farm  was realized by the national utility ONE and  is producing around 210 GWh/year. Another landmark project is 140 MW at AllakEl Haoud and Beni Mejmel, near Tangier and Tetouan which was commissioned in 2010 with annual production of 526 GWh per annum.

Morocco has a strong pipeline of wind power projects to realize its objective of 2GW of wind power by 2020Africa’s largest windfarm, at Tarfaya in Southwestern Morocco, having installed capacity of 300MW become operational in 2014. TheTarfaya windfarm, built at a cost of around $700 million has 131 turbines will meet the power requirements of several hundred thousand people and will reduce 900,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year.

Source: http://www.masen.ma/en/masen/,

Tourism industry: a leverage sector to an emergin economy

             Under the high guidlines of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, Moroccan Government has embraced a thorough procedure for building up Morocco’s tourism segment to make Morocco one of the world’s top travel destinations and to support tourism as the driving force for financial, social, and cultural development in Morocco.

The 2020 Vision Plan, which looks forward to expanding incomes from tourism to MAD 140 billion by 2020, concentrates on genuineness to make Morocco a more alluring destination for travelers, while protecting Morocco’s natural and cultural heritages to reinforce the Kingdom’s cultural identity.

The 2020 Vision additionally supports Morocco’s different sub-societies, natural assets, and environmental framework, and openness to Africa and Europe, The Tourism Ministry takes operates these components to make them meet the desires of visitors.

             The sun shines bright nearly 300 days of the years and makes for a good setting for some great vacations visiting deserts, beaches and snowcapped mountains. There is such diversity you can hardly want to miss anything. The strong culture lures one and all to explore the colorful lives of the Moroccans.

Moroccan tourism strategy: Vision 2020

         The commitment of Vision 2020 aims at continuing to make tourism one of the driving forces of economic, social and cultural development in Morocco. Its objective is to make Morocco one of the 20 top world destinations by 2020 and to make it a good example in terms of sustainable development in the Mediterranean region.

         The objective of the Vision 2020 is to double the size of the sector and the accommodation capacity, with the creation of 200 000 new beds. This new capacity should double tourists' arrivals (coming from Europe and the emerging countries). 470 000 new direct jobs will be created across the country (1 million by 2020). Tourism revenues should reach 140 billion MAD on 2020. The Vision 2020 also plans to generalize tourism in the country and triple the trips made by the locals tourists.

A generalized and coherent spatial planning

        Nowadays, tourism in Morocco focuses largely on two destinations: Marrakech and Agadir, which account for more than the half of international overnight stays. This geographic concentration does not highlight all the potentials of Morocco. That is why a new planning and development policy was launched. Thus, eight areas were created as part of a coherence logic. The objective is to give them an international profile and help them gain a full-fledged destination status.

       Two areas were established in the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts:

• « Atlantic Souss-Sahara», it gathers sites of Agadir (including inland), Laayoune and Guelmim.

• « Mediterranean Morocco », it gathers sites of Saidia, Marchica and Cala Iris.

Four other areas were positioned in a mixed offer, cultural and seaside:

• « Atlantic Marrakech», anchored on the sites of Marrakech, Toubkal and Essaouira.

• « Morocco Center » is the destination of journeys to the sources of culture, history and welfare, thanks to a strong complementarity between the sites of Fez, Meknes and Ifrane.

• « North Cape », it gathers the sites of Tangiers, Tetouan, Chefchaouen, Asilah and Larache.

• « Atlantic Center », includes Casablanca, Rabat and El Jadida.

Finally, two areas are destined to be the windows of Morocco in terms of sustainable development:

• « Atlantic Great South », centered on the exceptional site of Dakhla.

• « Atlas and Valleys », anchored on Ouarzazate, the valleys, oases and the High Atlas.

A new institutional plan

               Many structures were created to ensure the harmonious management of the new tourism economy. The High Authority for Tourism is a national authority of management which gathers, in the framework of a partnership, the State, the regions and the private sector. Its mission consists of ensuring the implementation of the Vision 2020 and strengthening the institutional legitimacy of tourism. Tourism development agencies were created gradually in the 8 tourism areas to guarantee the success of territorial strategies and regional tourism policy.

Six flagship programs

          Six structuring programs were established around culture, seaside resorts and nature. These programs focus on sustainable tourism and high added value niches.

• Azur 2020 focuses on the seaside offer.

• Eco/sustainable development, aims to value the natural and rural resources by preserving them.

• Heritage, to value the cultural identity of Morocco.

• Animation, Sport & leisure, which aims to create an offer of varied entertainment that complements the basic tourism infrastructures.

• High added value niches relating to business, welfare and health tourisms.

• Domestic tourism « Biladi » which will help to meet the expectations of Moroccans by offering them a suitable product.

The Vision 2020 also provides a National Program for Innovation and Tourism Competitiveness revolving around three main lines:

• The specific support for small and medium tourism businesses.

• The support of referral networks throughout the tourism value chain.

• The improvement and the management of tourism through a regulatory reform.

Source: http://www.tourisme.gov.ma/en/node

The Industrial acceleration plan is a new approach based on the implementation of efficient ecosystems aiming at the integration of the value chains and the consolidation of the local relations between big firms and SMEs.

The strategy, that will extend over the 2014-2020 period, is expected to generate half a million jobs in the sector and substantially increase the share of industry in GDP from the current 14% to 23 %. 

The changes to be introduced will help diversify and expand the industrial fabric and institute a better coordination and deeper partnership between large companies and SMEs. It will therefore reinforce the Moroccan Industry as a major leverage for growth and job creation.

The new strategy provides for the creation of the “FDI”, a public industrial investment fund endowed with 2 billion euros. It also focuses on supporting the transition of the informal sector to the formal economy with a series of incentives and tax measures. Also, the plan grants utmost importance to human resources, the aim being to respond better to Moroccan and foreign enterprises’ requirements.

The plan provides for other measures to better exploit and optimizes industrial zones and makes them more accessible to operators through rental offers.

On the other hand, the strategy calls on all Moroccan economic operators to have “the Africa reflex” to upgrade Morocco’s partnership with African countries in order to confirm the position of Morocco as a gateway for international investment in the continent.

The plan focuses on ten key measures, grouped into three blocks :

        Source: http://www.invest.gov.ma/?lang=en&Id=23

 

Key figures:

GDP (official exchange rate):

$103.6 billion (2016)

GDP - real growth rate:

1.2% (2016)

4.6% (2015)

2.7% (2014)

Doing business rank (2018)

69 among 190 countries

GDP - composition, by sector of origin (2016) :

Agriculture: 13.6%

Industry: 29.5%

Services: 56.8%

Agriculture - products:

Barley, wheat, citrus fruits, grapes, vegetables, olives; livestock.

Industries:

Automotive parts, phosphate mining and processing, aerospace, food processing, leather goods, textiles, construction, energy, tourism

Industrial production growth rate:

1.2% (2016)

Labor force:

11.75 million (2016)

Labor force - by occupation:

Agriculture: 39.1%

Industry: 20.3%

Services: 40.5% (2014 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

1.6% (2016)

1.6% (2015)

Exports:

$18.88 billion (2016 est.)

$18.62 billion (2015 est.)

Exports - commodities:

Clothing and textiles, automobiles, electric components, inorganic chemicals, transistors, crude minerals, fertilizers (including phosphates), petroleum products, citrus fruits, vegetables, fish

Exports - partners:

Spain 23.4%, France 21.1%, Italy 4.6% (2016)

Imports :

$36.59 billion (2016 est.)

$33.31 billion (2015 est.)

Imports - commodities:

Crude petroleum, textile fabric, telecommunications equipment, wheat, gas and electricity, transistors, plastics

Imports - partners:

Spain 15.7%, France 13.2%, China 9.1%, USA 6.4%, Germany 5.9%, Italy 5.4%, Turkey 4.4% (2016)

Exchange rates:

Moroccan dirhams (MAD) per US dollar*

9.6912 (2017 est.)

9.7787 (2016 est.)

9.7787 (2015 est.)

9.7351 (2014 est.).

The Ministry of Economy and Finance has decided to adopt, from Monday, January 15, 2018the dirham liberalization reform, it means to switch from a fixed exchange rate to a flexible one, where the parity of the Moroccan dirham is determined within a fluctuation band of ± 2.5%.

Moroccan economy’s presence in Africa:

  a)  Trade:

• Morocco plays, thanks to its geostrategic position, the role of a trade and investment hub for Africa. It serves as a bridge between the Maghreb, West Africa and the rest of the continent;

The economic strategy developed under the leadership of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, towards the African continent, makes Morocco as a regional hub in other various key areas, including food security, infrastructure and renewable energy;

Trade exchange between Morocco and Africa has reached 4 billion USD, in 2013.

The volume of trade almost doubled over the period 2009-2014, mainly as a result of increased exports towards african countries;

Moroccan exports to the African continent grew by 15% on annual average, reaching 1.7 billion US dollars in 2014, representing 8.6% of Morocco's total exports, compared with 4.7% 2004;

Moroccan export products consist mainly of food, beverages, tobacco, semi-processed products (28%), processed consumer products (17%), processed industrial equipment products (17%), and energy and lubricants (5%).

 b)     Investments:

Morocco is the largest investor in West Africa region, in key sectors such as infrastructure, social housing, electricity, fisheries, health, transport, banking and insurance, among others;

•  Morocco is the second largest African investor in Africa (800 million US dollars): 85% of The Kingdom foreign direct investment is in Africa;

7% of Morocco’s exports in 2012 were to the markets of the Sahel-Saharan states, aiming to raise the ratio up to 20% in 2018; 

Morocco is contributing effectively to “green revolution" in Africa. In terms of food security, the Office Chérifien des Phosphates (OCP) http://www.ocpgroup.ma/ , the world's largest phosphate exporter, launched several major projects in Africa:

-In 2012, OCP delivered a first stock of 10000 tons of fertilizers for the development of cocoa cultivation in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana;

-In February 2016, the OCP inaugurated a fertilizers production unit worth 5.3 billion dirhams dubbed “Africa Fertilizer Complex” dedicated to African markets;

-19th November 2016: (OCP) signed a deal with Ethiopia on to build a $3.7 billion plant to produce fertilisers. The project is expected to produce 2.5 million tons of fertiliser in its first phase by 2022, and a second phase would see a further $1.3 billion invested to increase production to 3.8 million tones three years later;

-4th December 2016: OCP and Nigirean “Dangote Group” signed an agreement for the creation of an integrated African platform for fertilisers production;

-An innovation fund for African agricultural development was launched to set up an incubation and financing system to support innovative African companies;

-OCP Group has major advantages to improve agricultural productivity on the African continent and is convinced that Africa holds considerable potential to achieve food security;

-OCP is planning to open subsidiaries in 13 African countries in line with the Kingdom’s strategy to boost economic ties and investments in the continent, namely in: Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Cameroun, Benin, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Ghana and Ethiopia;