Morocco is currently building a strong reputation for its standout investment environment. With its strategic location at the intersection of European, Middle Eastern, and African markets, Morocco is emerging as a desirable hub for international banking, finance, and insurance investments. This standing can be attributed to political will, as well as a strong resolve that has animated local economic operators, from entrepreneurs to banks and other participants in the investment sphere. A robust foundation was needed in the first place to allow a positive investment environment to burgeon. Stability at every level – economic, political and social – was essential. Morocco’s compliance with international finance standards and developed legal frameworks have bolstered its appeal to investors.
Morocco’s economic growth accelerated in the second quarter of 2017, building on the momentum of the opening months of the year. The annual rate of GDP growth expanded to 4.8% in the three months to June, following 4.2% in the previous quarter. This increase was pushed largely by a 17.4% recovery in agricultural output helped by heavy rainfall after a severe drought last year. A severe drought had seen Morocco’s economy dry up, growing 0.8% year-on-year in the three months to September, compared with 4.8% in the same period in 2015. However the planning agency, the Haut Commiseriat du Plan that released the figures, said that growth should slow slightly to 4.1% in the third quarter of 2017, compared with 1.3% a year earlier. The International Monetary Fund confirmed the cuts in its outlook for 2017 in the first review of its US$ 3.47 bn precautionary credit line in December 2016. In its April 2017 world economic outlook the fund said growth in 2017 would come in at 4.4% rather than the 4.7% it had forecast in its October 2016 world economic outlook. It also trimmed growth for 2018 and 2019 to 3.9% and 4.1% from 4.2% and 4.5% respectively. The central bank said in June 2017 that it expected the economy would grow by just 4.4% in the year as a whole.
Although Morocco is generally perceived as an attractive destination for foreign direct investment and is one of the most sophisticated financial markets in North Africa, it is still beset with obstacles that could affect growth in the banking, financial services, and insurance sectors going forward. While Morocco has managed to weather the global financial crisis and the Arab Spring by diversifying investments and operations into the African continent and international destinations such as China, the future of the industry will depend on the continued stability of the country and its ability to attract investment going forward.