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Team Finland Newsletter for Morocco

09.07.2018
Economy & Trade: A large domestic boycotting campaign hits hard Moroccan dairy and mineral water producers and a petroleum station chain A boycott campaign against Sidi Ali mineral water, Centrale Danone milk and Afriquia petrol stations, which are leading companies in their respective sectors, started from social media channels before spreading to a weeks-long national-level boycott in April. The boycott campaign was caused by popular outrage following the raising of prices of these products before the holy month of Ramadan when their consumption is at its highest. What added to the outrage was the fact that these companies are owned by prominent politicians, like the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Aziz Akhannouch. The boycotts have hit hard on several companies’ revenues and stock market, leading some of them to return to previous lower pricing, or dismiss employers and take other counter measures. It seems possible that the boycotting will expand to other products while the Government is not perceived to be reacting sufficiently. This is the first time that Moroccans have supported a boycotting campaign to such large extent.

Salaheddine Mezouar elected as new CGEM President. Mr. Salaheddine Mezouar was elected on May 22 to head the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises (CGEM) for a term of three years. Mr Mezouar was previously the Chairperson of the Cop 22 Climate Conference, the Minister of Industry, Trade and the Upgrading of the Economy and former Minister of Economy and Finance in 2004 and Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2007.

Morocco imports soft wheat. The Council of Government has adopted the draft decree to increase tariffs on imports of common wheat to 135%, instead of 30% currently. This project also aims to fix the quantities of imported wheat by determining the reference price of soft wheat on importation at 360 dirhams (DH) instead of 255 DH per quintal, which will facilitate the marketing of the local product, ensure the supply of the common wheat market in the country with guaranteeing the farmers' income. The aim is to promote the local production marketing, especially since it promises on a record level: 98.2 million quintals, according to the estimate of the Ministry of Agriculture.
Within the first week of May 2018, about 270,000 tons of cereals were floating in the harbor of Casablanca, more than a dozen grain farmers waiting to be unloaded. Import forcing was justified by the revision of the import duty on common wheat, which takes effect from the 15th of May.

April a good month for Moroccan exports: According to the preliminary indicators of the Office des changes, Morocco's exports have improved by 7.2% at the end of April 2018 to reach 92.7 billion dirhams (MMDH). This evolution of exports is attributable to sales growth in almost all sectors, mainly aeronautics (+19.4%), automotive (+19.1%), and phosphates/derivatives (+4, 5%).

Payment delays: critical situation in Morocco. According to Euler Hermes' new mapping of the average payment time of customers around the world, Morocco (83 days) is among the group of countries whose average time is higher than the world average (66 days in 2017). Technology, transport, pharmaceuticals and construction are the sectors where payment terms are the longest in Morocco: 140, 114, 95, 85 days respectively in 2017. In the sectors more oriented
towards the final consumer (such as distribution, leasing and food) time is less than 65 days. They are getting shorter when it comes to the oil & gas sector (46 days).

Moroccan private investments continue to plunge. Tangible, intangible and financial fixed assets plunged 8% in 2016 compared to the previous year. Preliminary figures for 2017 indicate a further decline. Sluggish economic conditions, a still ineffective capacity for production, unfair competition from the informal sector and difficulties in accessing credit are among the main causes.

International Relations and Development Cooperation:

The OECD launches a report identifying structural challenges hampering the development of Morocco. The OECD has presented its second report of the Moroccan Multidimensional Examination which highlights the flaws that hinder the kingdom in its economic development. According to this report, if Morocco wants to enter the club of developed countries, it will have to transform its development model in depth, because the current is not "sufficiently inclusive to sustainably support growth". If about 30% of Moroccan companies in machinery, 4.4% in food products and 2.6% in textiles reach the productivity level of the best performing firms in the sector, no company reaches the global average of productivity in metal production and services. Only the hotel industry stands out for its good productivity. As a result of this stagnant productivity, the trade deficit remains significant (15.9% of GDP in 2016 according to the IMF) and trading partners are concentrated, particularly in the European Union. This generates significant financing needs, which "will significantly affect macroeconomic stability in the medium and long term".

AfDB disburses 200 million euros for Moroccan agriculture: The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a loan of 200 million euros to finance the supportive program of inclusive and sustainable development of agricultural sectors in Morocco. This new operation aims to support rural job creation through the inclusive development of agricultural value chains.
EBRD predicts 4% growth in 2019. The EBRD has revised with its downwards of 0,5% its previous forecast of Moroccan growth by 2018. The EBRD believes that the country's economy remains too dependent on the agricultural sector and is advising to develop further in high value-added sectors, such as industry. National wealth would benefit from the continued recovery of tourism, increased FDI, the move to a more flexible exchange rate, the rebound in services and output, and especially the recovery in the euro area.

The EU – Morocco relations. The European Commission has continued negotiations with Morocco in Brussels for a new agricultural agreement. The Commission has completed a consultation phase with all relevant parties. Regarding the EU – Morocco Fisheries Agreement, during the first meetings held in Rabat, Morocco and the European Union presented their expectations for a future agreement aimed at establishing and strengthening a sustainable fisheries partnership.

Energy:

Launch of Morocco-EU twinning. A seminar was organized on May 8 in Rabat for the official launch of the twinning dedicated to supporting the strengthening of the energy sector. This twinning project, which lasts for 24 months (2018-2020), is worth EUR 1.15 million and is part of the implementation of the "Succeeding the advanced status" program in support of the process.

A large Desalination Plan in the planning for the Casablanca region The government has decided to finance a feasibility study for a seawater desalination plant in the Casablanca-Settat region. The project is considered essential to secure the supply of drinking water in the Atlantic area between the cities of El Jadida and Casablanca. The feasibility study, for which a tender has just been launched, will last for two years. The Secretary of State in charge of Water will dedicate 7 million dirhams (approximately 630 000 EUR) for the study that will determine the capacity of the desalination plant for different future horizons (2025, 2030, 2040, 2050).

Open Tenders:

Electricity, water and waste management company of Casablanca, LYDEC, has announced its provisional tenders for 2018. You can find the open tenders and their terms of reference from https://client.lydec.ma/site/avis-d-appels-d-offres .
The monthly Team Finland Newsletter compiles noteworthy economic and market developments in Morocco for advancing trade and cooperation between Finland and Morocco.

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The content and referenced news articles in this product do not represent the official views of the Foreign Ministry of Finland.​


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