Country profile Morocco

Number of Dutch companies active: 55
Population: 34 million
GDP growth: 3% (2018)
Head of state: King Mohammed VI

Marokko werk taan de uitbreiding van haar auto-industrie. In de haven van tanger staan honderden auto's te wachten om naar Europa verscheept te worden. Bij SEBN in de Tanger Free Zone worden de elektrische kabels voor in auto's bij elkaar gebonden met tape.

NABC and Morocco

Morocco is the fifth-largest economy of Africa. In recent years, NABC has been working closely with Morocco. In April 2019, the fourth edition of Africa Works! was themed ‘Future African Cities.’ It was opened by Ahmed Aboutaleb, the mayor of Rotterdam. Morocco hosted a country workshop where it highlighted investment opportunities in Morocco’s main cities. In 2018, NABC conducted a business opportunity report on Morocco’s Renewable Energy Sector and on the reuse of wastewater in Morocco.

Download: Business Opportunities Renewable Energy Morocco

Download: Business Opportunities report: Reuse of wastewater in Morocco

In 2016, NABC received an incoming trade delegation from Morocco including the Agency for Solar Energy, Ministry of Water, Energy & Environment and L’office Chériefien des Phosphates. In preparation of the COP 22 the Moroccan delegation came to the Netherlands to meet Dutch companies for trade, business and investment opportunities.

Photo: An employee of a factory that manufactures electric wires for cars in Tanger. (C) Rik Goverde

Investment climate

In 1999, King Mohammed VI ascended the throne. He started a new era for development by stabilising the economy. He supported large infrastructure projects (Tangier Med Port, Highways, National Social Housing Strategy) and launched major industrial development strategies (automotive, aeronautics). In 2009, the country experienced major economic impact of the global economic crisis. However, from 2015, the country repositioned itself as a hub for FDI and as a gateway to Africa with growth rates ranging from 3 to 4 % per annum.

Morocco is often seen as a gateway to Africa and a hub for foreign direct investment. Just recently, Orange Telecom, a multinational telecommunications corporation, opened its Africa and Middle East Headquarters in Casablanca. The Moroccan government is emphasising on this geostrategic position to attract investment and established the Casablanca Finance City (CFC) in 2010. The CFC is mandated to attract companies to establish their operations in Morocco and to make use of Morocco’s political stability and favourable geostrategic position between Europe and Africa as a base for expanding their operations in Sub-Sahara Africa. Setting up business operations in the CFC provides fiscal benefits such as a tax drop to 0 percent in the first years. In addition, the CFC confers legal facilitations, tax incentives and exchange facilities.

Opportunity sectors & exports

The main opportunities for Dutch companies are found in agriculture (horticulture, livestock breeding, greenhouses, aquaculture), renewable energy (solar energy, wind, hydrogen, green ammonia, solar pumps) and water (wastewater treatment, water management, smart irrigation, coastal protection etc.)

Morocco’s export markets

Automotive & aeronautic manufacturing

  • Morocco is Africa’s second biggest exporter of vehicles, with leading investments from Renault- Nissan alliance and the PSA Group.
  • Morocco is a manufacturer of aircraft parts, for global aviation companies such as Bombardier, Delphi, Eaton Corp and Stelia Aerospace. Together with Boeing, the country is working towards a Boeing aerospace suppliers’ ecosystem.

Mining

Morocco is the world’s largest producer of phosphate but is seeking to increase more underdeveloped segments of mining. Phosphate is mainly used for agricultural fertiliser which is also one of Morocco’s export products. In total, Morocco is exporting 1.7. billion US Dollars worth of mineral and chemical fertilisers.

Apparel

Morocco’s fashion and textile’s sector are also growing, with increasing exports of women and men’s knit wear and becoming a more attractive sourcing option when looking at rising (labour) prices in Asia, proximity and the need for quality and sustainable production processes.

Horticulture

Export of tomatoes (during winter period), beans, sweet peppers, avocado, pumpkin, olives, onion, cucumber, potato, strawberries (soft and red fruit), peaches, mandarins (citrus fruits in general), melons, grapes, almonds, dates.

Vegetables

Tomatoes: Growing tomatoes in Morocco provides a business opportunity for Dutch growers, enabling them to supply to the EU in the wintertime, complementing European production. Main tomato growing areas are Agadir, Guilmim, Safi and Dahka. Next to export to the EU, export to other African countries also provides business opportunities. Besides opportunities for growers, the horticultural (export) sector in Morocco is an interesting market for Dutch horticultural suppliers: greenhouse suppliers, seed breeders, suppliers of (smart) irrigation, (solar powered) pumps etc.

Fruits

Morocco exports over 140.000 tons of soft fruit, of which 40% is red fruit (90% is exported to EU countries), varying from strawberries, raspberries and red cranberries. In addition, Morocco is a market leader in frozen strawberries. 20% of EU frozen strawberry imports come from Morocco (CBI) at more competitive prices compared to Poland, the main EU supplier.

Poultry

In Morocco there is an increasing demand for poultry products. Upstream, the broiler sector is relatively well organised. However, down-stream, in terms of processing and marketing, there is room for improvement. There are opportunities for suppliers of slaughtering (and other processing) equipment, cold storage, egg branding, packaging, sorting and marketing technologies.

Fisheries & aquaculture

Morocco is the largest African maritime fisheries producer. Freshwater fish farming, this sector is currently emerging as one of the government’s ambitions.

Imports

Morocco imported a value worth of 1 billion euros from the Netherlands in 2018, mainly petroleum products and crude oil, fish, shell and molluscs and plant-based oils and fats.

Business Climate and do’s and don’ts

When doing business in Morocco, it is important to get well-accustomed to the Moroccan market and customs and get to know the legal framework (customs, sanitary standards, technical standards) and public procurement rules.

  • Morocco is a hierarchical society; therefore, it is important to know the position (job title) of your (business) partner and respect seniority.
  • In addition, when doing business in Morocco, personally relationships are highly valued.
  • It is advisable to get a good agent or distributor in the country, where speaking French is of great help.
  • Foreign ownership of land is not allowed in agriculture and horticulture, while long-term lease is not possible.

Diplomatic relations

The Netherlands

Embassy

The Netherlands is represented in Morocco via its embassy in the capital Rabat, led by Ambassador Désirée Bonis. The Head of the economic department is Mr. Luc Schillings and the Agricultural Counselor for Northern Africa is Mr. Niek Schelling.

Morocco

Embassy

Morocco is represented in the Netherlands via its embassy in The Hague, led by Ambassador Abdelouahab Bellouki.

Presence of Dutch companies

There are currently around 55 Dutch companies active in Morocco.