| September 29, 2019 | 0 Comments
Morocco has worked hard to strenghen the competitiveness of its economy. Shown here is the tramway in Casablanca.

Morocco has worked hard to strenghen the competitiveness of its economy. Shown here is the tramway in Casablanca.

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI believes in expanding the country’s development, focusing on strengthening the competitiveness of its economy. To that end, the government has prioritized economic diversification and trade alongside political, economic and social reforms.
So far, the reforms have yielded good results and, as a testament to the country’s economic potential, several multinational companies have moved all or part of their production to Morocco. In 2012, Renault opened the biggest car factory in North Africa, in Tangiers, where it produces cars for emerging markets; PSA Peugeot Citroen followed with an investment of US$615 million, making Morocco Africa’s leading car manufacturer and a key supplier for European auto factories. Other international corporations, including Bombardier, Boeing, Airbus, Delphi, Dell and GDF Suez have followed suit and undertaken major investments in Morocco.
Reasons for this include the low cost of production, the well-qualified workforce, banking benefits encouraging companies to do business in Morocco, including the relaxation of the strict convertibility regime of the dirham for foreign investors, low tax rates and additional incentives, such as zero tax for the first five years of operation, big reductions on VAT and customs duties, and access to a market of nearly one billion consumers, thanks to free-trade agreements (FTAs) with the European Union, the U.S., and Turkey, to name a few, and a business climate that is continuously improving as the government aims to make investment even easier. Furthermore, Morocco ranks 60th of 190 countries on the World Bank’s latest Doing Business 2019 report.
In addition, Morocco is known for its transport infrastructure, which the World Economic Forum calls the best in Africa and includes world-class roads, airports and the Moroccan high-speed railway, the first of its kind in Africa.
In addition to its port facilities in Casablanca, Morocco boasts a world-class facility, Tangier Med Port, which is still being expanded. The second and final phase of this mega-hub “Tangier-Med 2’’ opened in June 2019, becoming the largest transshipment hub in the Mediterranean and Africa and one of the 20 largest ports in the world, with the ability to handle up to 9 million containers. With links to nearly 186 ports in the world in 77 countries, it ranks 17th in the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) shipping connectivity index.
With respect to trade- and investment-facilitating measures, the Moroccan Investment and Export Development Agency (AMDIE) is a new one-stop-shop for investors and exporters. AMDIE is responsible for promoting national and foreign investment, as well as the export of goods and services, and is committed to supporting all economic actors throughout their projects’ life cycle.
Finally, Morocco has initiated a diversification strategy targeted at developing high value-added sectors, such as automotive and aeronautical. As part of this initiative, Morocco has integrated industrial platforms (P2I), providing access to infrastructure, such as the Nouaceur industrial zone on the outskirts of Casablanca. This is basically a free-trade zone to help foster new businesses by offering a preferred taxation framework, not to mention a great number of adapted services. Bombardier Aerospace took full advantage of this option.
Renewable energy is a key sector priority for foreign investment. Morocco is currently one of the fastest-growing renewable energy markets in Africa with an ambitious solar energy plan that features investment of US$9 billion by 2020. By 2030, Morocco aims to be generating 52 per cent of its electricity from renewable energy, mainly solar, wind and hydroelectric power. To that end, the Noor Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) Plant is the largest of its kind in the world.
Economic and trade relations between Morocco and Canada have seen a steady rise and today many Canadian corporations have established successful operations in Morocco. However, the current volume of trade, which totalled more than $896 million in 2018, does not reflect our real potential as trading partners. Morocco mostly imports cereals, fertilizers, machinery and mechanical appliances from Canada, while exporting citrus fruits and nuts, fertilizers, articles of apparel and clothing accessories and seafood.
The Kingdom of Morocco welcomes Canadians to take advantage of its investment and trade opportunities and benefit from the facilitating measures adopted by the government. Indeed, Morocco can be Canada’s gateway into Africa, where Moroccan companies and businesspeople are already playing a leading role.
My country offers a platform for Canadian businesses willing to expand in Africa, and we offer a stable place to do business, especially as Morocco’s largest city, Casablanca, is increasingly recognized as an important African financial centre. In fact, Casablanca Finance City, which was officially launched in December 2010 as a financial and economic hub from which to drive investment into Africa, has, since 2015, ranked first in Africa in terms of the competitiveness index for financial hubs.

Souriya Otmani is the ambassador of Morocco. Reach her at sifamaot@bellnet.ca or (613) 236-7391.

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Souriya Otmani is the ambassador of Morocco. Reach her at sifamaot@bellnet.ca or (613) 236-7391.

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