Morocco - Country Commercial Guide
Investment Climate Statement
Last published date:

The U.S. Department of State’s Investment Climate Statements provide information on the business climates of more than 170 economies and are prepared by economic officers stationed in embassies and posts around the world. They analyze a variety of economies that are or could be markets for U.S. businesses.  The Investment Climate Statements are also references for working with partner governments to create enabling business environments that are not only economically sound, but address issues of labor, human rights, responsible business conduct, and steps taken to combat corruption.  The reports cover topics including Openness to Investment, Legal and Regulatory Systems, Protection of Real and Intellectual Property Rights, Financial Sector, State-Owned Enterprises, Responsible Business Conduct, and Corruption.

Executive Summary

At the confluence of Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Middle East, Morocco seeks to transform itself into a regional business hub by leveraging its geographically strategic location, political stability, and world-class infrastructure to expand as a regional manufacturing and export base for international companies. Morocco actively encourages and facilitates foreign investment, particularly in export sectors like manufacturing, through positive macro-economic policies, trade liberalization, investment incentives, and structural reforms. The Government of Morocco implements strategies aimed at boosting employment, attracting foreign investment, and raising performance and output in key revenue-earning sectors, with an emphasis placed on value-added industries such as renewables, automotive, aerospace, textile, pharmaceuticals, outsourcing, and Agro-food industry.  As part of the Government’s development plan, Morocco continues to make major investments in renewable energy and is on track to meet its stated goal of 52 percent total installed capacity by 2030. The New Development Model, an overarching plan for economic reform released in April of 2021, lays out the country’s ambition to increase the share of renewable energy in total energy consumption from 19.5 percent in 2021 to 40 percent by 2035. Opportunities for green investment include smart grids, green hydrogen, energy storage, and renewable energy.

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s (UNCTAD)  World Investment Report 2022, Morocco attracted the ninth-most foreign direct investment (FDI) in Africa in 2020.  Morocco attracted the ninth-most foreign direct investment (FDI) in Africa in 2021. Inbound FDI rose by 52 percent in 2021 to $2.2 billion, vice $1.7 billion in 2020 and 2019 and a 2018 peak of $3.6 billion. France, the United Arab Emirates, and Spain hold a majority of FDI stocks. Manufacturing attracted the highest share of FDI stocks, followed by real estate, telecommunications, tourism, and energy and mines. Morocco continues to orient itself as the “gateway to Africa,” and expanded on this role with its return to the African Union in January 2017 and the launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), which entered into force in 2021. In June 2019, Morocco opened an extension of the Tangier-Med commercial shipping port, making it the largest in Africa and the Mediterranean; the government is developing a third phase for the port which will increase capacity to five million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs). Tangier is connected to Morocco’s political capital in Rabat and commercial hub in Casablanca by Africa’s first high-speed train service. However, weak intellectual property rights enforcement, inefficient government bureaucracy, corruption, and the slow pace of regulatory reform remain challenges.

In 2022, Morocco introduced a series of reforms to strengthen its anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing legislation, regulations, and criminal penalties to address the weaknesses identified when Morocco was placed on the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) “grey list” of countries subjected to increased monitoring due to deficiencies in anti-money laundering and terrorist financing compliance in 2021. As a result of these reforms, in February 2023, Morocco was taken off the FATF grey list.

 Morocco has ratified 72 investment treaties for the promotion and protection of investments and 62 economic agreements, including with the United States and most EU nations, that aim to eliminate the double taxation of income or gains. Morocco is the only country on the African continent with a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States, eliminating tariffs on more than 95 percent of qualifying consumer and industrial goods. The Government of Morocco plans to phase out tariffs for some products through 2030. The FTA supports Morocco’s goals to develop as a regional financial and trade hub, providing opportunities for the localization of services and the finishing and re-export of goods to markets in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. Since the U.S.-Morocco FTA came into effect bilateral trade in goods has grown nearly five-fold. The U.S. and Moroccan governments work closely to increase trade and investment through high-level consultations, bilateral dialogue, and other forums to inform U.S. businesses of investment opportunities and strengthen business-to-business ties. To access the ICS, visit the U.S. Department of State  Investment Climate Statement website.