Doing business in Morocco
Morocco is an Arabic-speaking Muslim country (although French is commonly used for foreign negotiations), and as such requires the appropriate cultural sensitivity, particularly when doing business. Business meetings are formal, and dress should likewise be formal, smart and subdued. Women should take particular care to ensure that their legs are covered below knee level and arms are covered with long sleeves. For men a suit and tie is appropriate.
Appointments should be arranged well in advance, and should avoid times of the five daily prayers. If you are invited to dine, dress formally and remove your shoes when you are entering the home of a host. Do not bring alcohol and remember that traditional Moroccan etiquette dictates that men and women dine at different tables.
Mon-Fri 0830-1230 and 1500-1830.
Government office hours: Mon-Thurs 0830-1200 and 1430-1830, Fri 0830-1100 and 1500-1830.
The service industry, including a booming tourism sector now worth well over US$2 billion annually, accounts for nearly 55% of the GDP. Remittances from Moroccans living abroad (mostly in Europe) are another major source of revenue. Financial unease in Europe contributed to an economic slowdown across the country in 2012, but in general terms the economy is one of the most stable in the region. The unemployment rate currently sits at just under 10%, with 15% of the population living below the poverty line.
A large number of Moroccans are still employed in agriculture, growing cereals, vegetables and citrus fruits, and fishing remains another vital field. Industry accounts for around a quarter of GDP, of which the textile and garment industry employs a rapidly growing number of Moroccan women as well as generating export income. Mining also generates revenue for Morocco, which is the world’s largest exporter of phosphates. Although Morocco has small oil and gas reserves, it has to import the bulk of its needs.
US$94.8 billion (2012).
Clothing and textiles, electrical components, inorganic chemicals, transistors and crude minerals.
Crude petroleum, gas and electricity, textile fabric, telecommunications equipment and wheat.
Main trading partners:
France, Spain, China, USA, Saudi Arabia.
Keeping in Touch in Morocco
Privately run téléboutiques can be found throughout the country, with an attendant to provide advice, change and phonecards.
Roaming agreements exist with international mobile phone companies. Coverage is good in towns and cities, and across the west of Morocco, but a little more erratic east and further south.
Access is unrestricted and is widely available in business centres, hotels and in internet cafés. A one month prepaid unlimited internet access card for laptops, iPhones and smartphones is available from Maroc Telecom (who also have the best national coverage).
Airmail to Europe takes up to one week and can be unreliable.
Post office hours:
Mon-Fri 0830-1200 and 1430-1830, Sat 0830-1400.
The press is subject to government censorship in Morocco, and although King Mohammed VI eased some restrictions on the press when he came to power, issues such as Western Sahara, the monarchy and corruption remain highly sensitive. The government manages Morocco’s two television networks, with state run Radio-Television Moroccain (RTM) operating one network and the state partially owning the other, with some private investment in state-run broadcasters and the official news agency permitted. The government owned network also includes ten regional radio channels. Satellite dishes are widely used, giving access to a range of foreign TV stations.