Moroccans know about Australia too. And not only as a tourist destination or bulk commodity exporter. Moroccans look to Australia for expertise in renewable
energies and the mining sector, and solutions in agtech and agri-business; as well as for the high-end and quality food products Australia is famous
Moroccans want to diversify away from their traditional trading partners. And they want to do business with Australia. We’ve been told by business groups
that automotive, aeronautics, agribusiness, textiles, tourism, vocational training and research and development are all areas of interest. Moroccan
businesses and women entrepreneurs are interested in teaming up with companies in Australia as mentors and to learn from each other’s experiences.
Some familiar Australian companies have made their home in Morocco. Worley Group, a global provider of professional project and asset services, is a joint
venture partner with the Moroccan phosphate conglomerate, OCP in JESA, one of Africa’s largest engineering firms.
The major Australian travel firm, Intrepid Travel, has a regional office in Marrakech. Kasbah Resources is involved in a tin mine outside Meknes. The international
agribusiness firm, Costa Group, has significant investments in Morocco through its African Blue operations, particularly in Larache.
Australian exports to Morocco are very diverse. Camel meat and beef, offal, wine, organic pesticides, seeds, grains, sophisticated telecommunications,
agtech and in mining and energy; consultancy, engineering, technology and exploration services.
A major urban development project south of Casablanca is seeking the Green Building Council of Australia Green Star accreditation. Mazagan City Centre
will eventually house 134,000 by 2034 with an existing vibrant university within its zone.
Key emerging commercial opportunities in Morocco exist in sectors where Australian businesses are already present, as well as in new sectors and areas.
The growing trend of upscale food service expansion and retail is an example which could increase the volume of exported high-end meats and wines to
Morocco and lead the way for dairy, honey, seafood, cosmetic and other products.
Agribusiness could increase the volume of the commodity trade and present Australian capabilities in technology, genetic materials, and services such as
irrigation and related infrastructure. There are opportunities in the defence sector on naval and cybersecurity. Green building, energy efficiency
and urban development in the building sector are key to Morocco’s future development. There is increased interest in the education market for English-speaking
education and destinations. Mining and energy offer opportunities in mining exploration, LNG gas as well as in renewable energies and the use of hydrogen
especially for industrial usage.
The Australia Morocco Business Council and the Australia Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry can provide insights into the trade and investment relationship
and opportunities. Austrade has a Country Director located in Rabat.
Why Morocco? The Moroccan government is pro-business. Morocco is strategically placed to attract investment from companies wishing to export to the EU
market and to Sub-Saharan Africa. Morocco encourages and facilitates investment, particularly as a manufacturing and export base for international
companies. The national economic policy narrative emphasises Morocco’s status as a multilingual and cosmopolitan country, situated at the cross-roads
of Sub-Saharan African, the Middle East and Europe. As well as its relatively low labour costs and commitment to a diverse, open, market-oriented economy.
Key sectors include agriculture, tourism, manufacturing (aerospace and automotive), pharmaceuticals, mining (phosphates), textiles and subcomponents. Morocco
has increased investment in its ports, transport and industrial infrastructure to position itself as an offshore manufacturing centre with Europe,
and broker business throughout Africa. Morocco attracts the fourth highest FDI in Africa with automotive and aerospace being the key revenue earners.
Telecommunications and financial services are lead growth sectors as well, as Morocco increases its investments in Africa (recently becoming the second
largest African investor on the continent).
Sports and cultural events can also represent a business opportunity as Morocco continues to grow its golf and surfing capabilities, as well as its internationally
renowned music and film festivals. For example, Australia was the featured country at the Marrakech International Film Festival in 2019.
Morocco’s FTAs with a number of markets including the EU, UK and USA represent an opportunity for international investors who wish to assemble or manufacture
in Morocco and export to those markets. Costa Group in Morocco is a good example of an agricultural investment, producing Australian patented blueberries
for export to the EU.
Of course, we recommend undertaking your own due diligence. We note many companies initially enter the Moroccan market with a Moroccan or local partner.
Morocco’s transport infrastructure is impressive. The Tanger Med port now handles the most containers of any Mediterranean port, as well as the African
continent. It supports direct logistical connections with over 100 countries. Tanger Med is complemented by an extensive toll road system linking all
the major economic zones and business centres. A state-of-the-art high-speed train that entered into service in late 2018 joins Tanger with Casablanca
via the capital Rabat. Casablanca is the economic and commercial centre of Morocco. It has the largest population and its Stock Exchange was founded
Morocco’s economic fundamentals are sound. According to a World Bank April 2021 report, GDP growth in Morocco is expected to accelerate to 4.2% in 2021.
Real GDP growth is expected to remain slightly above its pre-pandemic trend during the projection period as the output gap narrows gradually and the
ongoing reforms begin to have an impact. The current account deficit is expected to stabilize below 4% of GDP while the fiscal deficit is expected
to fall gradually. Morocco’s central bank, Bank Al-Maghrib, kept its primary interest rate at its March 2021 meeting at 1.5%. Total public debt was
around 95% of GDP in 2020.