Morocco is adopting a new strategy aimed at further opening the door of investment and business activities to the private sector. analysts agree that the Moroccan private sector is on the verge of an investment boom, in which businessmen’s money will become a major pillar of the state’s new development model.
Last year, Rabat adopted a new Investment Charter at the end of 2022 to encourage private investment, with the aim of reaching 550 billion dirhams of investment by 2026. Replacing the 1995 charter, the 2022 charter aims to give new impetus to investment, particularly private investment. In addition, the New Investment Pact seeks to increase the share of private enterprise participation to two-thirds of total investment by 2035, by attracting foreign investment and helping local entities to develop and diversify their activities.
Since 2022, net foreign direct investment, dominated by France, the United States and the United Arab Emirates, has amounted to around 20.9 billion dirhams, or $2.1 billion. According to Al Arab news, domestic and foreign private sector investment in the Moroccan market will be driven by three main engines.
Firstly, infrastructure. Since the early 2000s, Morocco has launched a series of major programmes focusing on the development of infrastructure projects. These include motorways stretching 1,800 km, ports such as Tangier Med in Africa and the Mediterranean, airports and railways, such as the launch of Africa’s first high-speed train line four years ago. According to Rachid Oraz, Senior Fellow at the Middle East Institute in Washington, solid infrastructure facilitating access to natural resources and markets are key factors in stimulating investment, whether domestic or foreign.
Then, the industrial zones. For the past twenty years, the Moroccan authorities have been pursuing a policy of industrial estates, which are competitively priced real estate developments subject to a special legal and fiscal framework. In particular, it enables investors to complete all the formalities involved in setting up a business through a one-stop shop. According to the Ministry of Industry, the country has more than 150 industrial estates in various cities, covering an area of around 12,000 hectares. Thanks to a new government plan, new industrial estates will soon be created in remote areas in order to achieve a balance in development and relieve the pressure on the big cities.
Finally, the laws. These provide financial and tax incentives for investment projects. For Rashid Oraz, it is vital not to “lose sight of improving the laws, protecting investors’ private property and setting up economic institutions that protect their rights”.
The development of the industrial sector is an important factor in attracting investment, particularly in the automotive sector, which has developed in two industrial zones in Morocco and now boasts more than 250 companies. The automotive industry is the country’s leading export sector, with a value of 11.4 billion dollars. Rabat hopes to extend this success to other sectors.
The projects approved under the Charter also target new sectors such as electricity transmission and alternative energies, as well as traditional sectors that have grown in importance in recent years, such as the food and pharmaceutical industries, in addition to seawater desalination.
The development of private investment in Morocco had already been mentioned at the beginning of July, when the Minister Delegate in charge of Investment, Convergence and the Evaluation of Public Policies, Mohcine Jazouli, announced his two priority projects: the implementation of a national strategy for the development of private investment and the creation of an Investment Observatory. This strategy also aims to encourage and expand private investment in the country’s twelve regions to ensure greater territorial equity, in particular through the introduction of a territorial bonus.