Politically stable, strategically located on the Straits of Gibraltar between Europe and Africa, and committed to reforms aimed at increasing foreign investment, Morocco was the largest recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the Maghreb region in 2014. In spite of slowed capital flows to the Arab region following the Arab Spring and the global economic downturn, FDI investments in Morocco grew 7.8% in 2014, reaching US$ 3.5 bn. Largely, this is the result of the Moroccan government’s sustained effort to implement economic policies aimed at attracting foreign investment and effective leveraging of the country’s geographic placement to turn Morocco into a cross-continental, regional economic hub.
In 2009, Morocco implemented its “National Plan for Industrial Development,” with a strategic focus on growing the manufacturing sector through increased foreign capital. Thus far, the plan has been relatively successful: major foreign investments from companies like Canada’s Bombardier and France’s Renault have contributed to the creation of 75,000 manufacturing jobs in the last ten years. The government updated its strategy in 2014 with a focus on building connections between industrial leaders and small businesses, with the ambitious goal of creating 500,000 new manufacturing jobs by 2020. However, while Morocco has made significant progress in growing its industrial sector, real estate and tourism still receive the largest shares of FDI at 39% and 15% respectively, with industry in third position at 12%.