Morocco is situated in the north west of Africa and has a unique & strategic position – 3,000 km of coastline on the Atlantic Ocean & 550 km on the Mediterranean Sea, with mountains, plains, desert, rivers and about 1,000,000 hectares of forests. The total area is 446 550 km2.

Morocco has made remarkable progress over the past few years in democratisation, respect for human rights and social and economic reform. A vibrant civil society and a vocal press contribute to one of the most open and tolerant of Middle East and North Africa countries.

Morocco enjoys financial stability and economic reform is firmly on the Government’s agenda. On October 13, 2008, the European Union granted Morocco “advanced status, reflecting the EU’s decision to strengthen trade and political ties as well as to reward Morocco for its economic and democratic reform process. An EU-Morocco Agricultural Agreement liberalising trade in agricultural products, fish and fishery products came into effect in October 2012. The EU also began negotiating a Deeper Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with Morocco in 2012. Its main objective is the progressive integration of Morocco’s economy into the EU single market. The agreement will cover a full range of regulatory areas of mutual interest, such as trade facilitation, technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, investment protection, public procurement and competition policy. In June 2011, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) granted the Moroccan parliament the “Partner for Democracy” status.

Diplomatic links between Britain and Morocco go back at least seven centuries. Britain is one of Morocco’s oldest partners, and was Morocco’s main trading partner during the 19th century.

Over 400,000 British tourists visited Morocco in 2012 ranking third after the French and the


Research by the Boston Consulting Group in 2010 identified 40 African companies that are growing rapidly and emerging as global competitors. Five of those companies are headquartered in Morocco. The research also identifies a group of fast-growing nations which it describes as “African Lions”, Algeria, Botswana, Egypt, Libya, Mauritius, Morocco, South Africa and Tunisia, who will “drive the continents growth, similar to the Asian Tigers.”

The UK is among the top six foreign investors in Morocco.

Morocco has a history as an independent nation state stretching back to the 9th century, interrupted only by the brief interlude of the Protectorate (1912-1956) when the country was divided into French and Spanish zones. For many years Manchester had powerful commercial links with Morocco, especially Fes, and as a result a number of Moroccans became British protected, which included the right to a passport. Morocco, unlike most of the rest of the Middle East, was never part of the Ottoman Empire.

Morocco is a constitutional monarchy. King Mohammed VI, who came to the throne in 1999, retains much of the executive power, but the Parliament and part of the government (with the exception of the Prime Minister and key Ministers) is democratically elected. Morocco has a bicameral Parliament consisting of an Upper House or Chamber of Counsellors, and a Lower House or Chamber of Representatives.

• Unique and strategic location at the threshold of Europe

• Platform for reaching other international markets, especially North and West Africa

• Good communication network and global transport connections by air, sea and road

• Open Skies Agreement with the EU and introduction of several new airlines including low cost flights between the UK and Morocco.

• Strong banking and finance facilities

Advanced Status with the EU since 2008

  • Free Trade Agreements with several countries
  • Industrial Parks/Off shoring centres. Free Trade Zones, Export Processing Zones and logistics centres
  • Availability of Regional Investment Centres (one-stop-shops for inward investors) in all regions.
  • Competitive labour costs
  • Tax incentives and ease of repatriation for profits and dividends


Petroleum Code / Mining code / other sectorial codes

  • Government sponsored development programs (e.g. Hassan II Fund)
  • Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement and Double Taxation Agreement with the UK for the protection of existing and future investments.


Morocco faces similar challenges to other emerging markets – public service reform; servicing the external debt; preparing the economy for freer trade with the EU (and later the US); improving education and especially literacy; further reform of the legal system; and attracting foreign investment to boost living standards and job prospects for Morocco’s youthful population.

Specific challenges for UK companies seeking to do business with Morocco:

  • Competition from traditional trading partners (France, Spain, Italy, etc) and increasing competition from new countries such as China, Russia, Brazil, Turkey (however the Moroccan’s themselves are keen on increasing trade with the UK)
  • Price sensitive market


The government is working to improve the business environment. The CNEA (Comite National de l’Environnement des Affaires), was created in 2009 and improving the business environment is still a major priority in the 2013 financial law.


There is also a £2bn state investment budget in the water sector for 2011-2015 and a £12 bn investment in 2012-2016 for transport and infrastructure development and logistics. Projects include motorway construction, airport upgrading, railway network development, TGV (high speed train) Tangier-Casablanca for completion by 2016. Port development has a total budget of £4.6bn for 2012-2030 (Tangier Med port, Nador West Med complex with port, industrial and commercial infrastructure, upgrading of Casablanca port infrastructure etc)

The banking system in Morocco has undergone a number of key reforms which make it more efficient at financing investments and creating a competitive banking environment. The Central Bank (Bank Al Maghrib) and other government agencies regulate banking, credit facilities, stock market, interest rates, insurance, offshore banks, accounting standards and protection for deposits.

Over the last decade, Morocco has significantly liberalised its trade regime and strengthened its financial sector. These reforms have enhanced the overall productivity of the economy and heightened its resilience to shocks.

In 2011 Morocco had a GDP of $99 bn and a GDP per capita of $3,084. According to the IMF GDP growth in 2011 was 4.9%, but the IMF forecast this will dip in 2012 to 2.9%, before rebounding to 5.3% again in 2013. Inflation has remained at around 1% over the last three years, but the IMF forecast that it will rise to 2.2% in 2012 and to 2.5% in 2013 due to the impact of rising global energy and food prices. The budget deficit at the start of 2012 was around 7% of GDP but the Government hopes to reduce this to 5%. Estimated public debt as a ratio of GDP was 65% in 2011 (2011 estimate for UK is 79.5%). Unemployment reached 9% in 2011 and the IMF predicts that it will decrease slowly to 8.9% in 2012 and 8.8% in 2013.

Agriculture remains an important part of the economy. It employs around 39.5% of the population and represents about 14-6% of GDP, a percentage that is falling but remains substantial. Low rainfall and unusually low temperatures in early 2012 have resulted in lower cereal crop yields, so Morocco will have to increase cereal imports. Increased spring rainfall has however improved the outlook for the fruit and vegetable crops.

There is a large public sector, and long-term challenges include preparing the economy for freer trade with the US and EU, raising living standards, and improving education and job prospects for Morocco’s youth. The authorities have realised that reducing poverty and providing jobs is key to domestic security and development. The coalition government appointed in 2012 has made several announcements stressing their intention to improve governance, reform the justice system, and increase transparency in order to boost the economy and attract foreign investors.

Morocco has displayed clear regional ambitions with projects such as the Tanger Med and Nador West med ports and the upcoming Casablanca finance city. It has signed Free Trade Agreements with the EU and the US for a gradual liberalization of trade and dismantling of customs tariffs by 2012/13. Morocco has also signed free trade agreements with Turkey, Jordan, Tunisia and Egypt and maintains growing business ties with Sub-Saharan African countries.

Negotiations on an EU-Morocco fisheries agreement resumed in 2012 after an extension of the previous agreement was rejected by the European Parliament in late 2011.


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Country Map

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