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Morocco: Doing business and staying in touch

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, and pantsuits are appropriate for women.

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.

Office Hours

Mon-Fri 0830-1230 and 1500-1830.
Government office hours: Mon-Thurs 0830-1200 and 1430-1830, Fri 0830-1100 and 1500-1830.

Economy

The service industry, including a booming tourism sector worth US$19 billion in 2016, accounts for 18.5% 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 9%, with 15% of the population living below the poverty line.

A large number of Moroccans are still employed in agriculture, where they grow cereals, vegetables and citrus fruits, while 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, the world's second largest exporter of phosphates. Although the country has small oil and gas reserves, it imports the bulk of its needs.

GDP

US$281.4 billion (2016).

Main exports

Clothing and textiles, automobiles, electrical components, inorganic chemicals, transistors, citrus fruits, vegetables, fish, and crude minerals.

Main imports

Crude petroleum, gas and electricity, textile fabric, telecommunications equipment, wheat, and plastics.

Main trading partners

France, Spain, China, USA, and Italy.

Keeping in Touch in Morocco

Telephone

Privately run téléboutiques can be found throughout the country, with an attendant to provide advice, change, and phonecards.

Mobile Phone

Roaming agreements exist with international mobile phone companies. Coverage is good in towns and cities, and across the west of Morocco, but is a little more erratic east and further south.

Internet

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).

Media

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 ten of Morocco's television channels under state run Société Nationale de Radiodiffusion et de Télévision (SNRT).

Two other popular channels include 2M TV, which is partially owned by the state, and Medi1 TV, which is privately owned with some investment from the public sector permitted. The government owned SNRT also includes four national and five regional radio channels. Satellite dishes are widely used, giving access to a range of foreign TV stations.

Post

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.

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