As the Kingdom of Morocco celebratestoday (July 30,2019), the 20th Anniversary of the ascension of King Mohammed VI to the throne of his glorious ancestors,the Kingdom stands out for its remarkable political stability and its forward-looking economic policy.
The Kingdom of Morocco enjoys political stability, robust infrastructure, and a strategic location, which have contributed to its emergence as a regional manufacturing and export base for international companies. Morocco is actively encouraging and facilitating foreign investment, particularly in export sectors like manufacturing, through macro-economic policies, trade liberalization, investment incentives, and structural reforms.
Morocco's overarching economic development plan seeks to transform the country into a regional business hub by leveraging its unique status as a multilingual, cosmopolitan nation situated at the crossroad of the tri-regional focal point of Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. In recent years, this strategy increasingly influenced Morocco's relationship and role on the African continent. The Government of Morocco has implemented a series of strategies aimed at boosting employment, attracting foreign investment, and raising performance and output in key revenue-earning sectors, such as the automotive and aerospace industries.
In 2018, Morocco shared with South Africa top rank of foreign direct investment (FDI) destinations in Africa. As part of a government-wide strategy to strengthen its position as an African financial hub, Morocco offers incentives for firms that locate their regional headquarters in Morocco, such as the Casablanca Finance City (CFC), Morocco's flagship financial and business hub launched in 2010.
CFC intends to open a new 28-story skyscraper, which will eventually house all CFC members. Morocco's return to the African Union in January 2017 and the launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) in March 2018 provide Morocco further opportunities to promote foreign investment and trade and accelerate economic development. In late 2018, Morocco's long-anticipated high-speed train began service connecting Casablanca, Rabat, and the port city of Tangier.
Morocco has ratified 69 bilateral investment treaties for the promotion and protection of investments and 60 economic agreements - including with the United States and most EU nations - that aim to eliminate the double taxation of income or gains. Morocco's Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States entered into force in 2006, eliminating tariffs on more than 95 percent of qualifying consumer and industrial goods. The Government of Morocco plans to phase out tariffs for a limited number of products through 2030.
Within the framework of its global openness and liberalization strategy, Morocco has set up during the last decade a legal framework conducive to developing its commercial relations with some of its potential partners, through the conclusion of free trade agreements either bilaterally or regionally. These agreements have also helped accelerate the pace of Morocco's reforms, notably by modernizing the legislative and regulatory framework for foreign trade, simplifying procedures, improving the business climate and the competitive capacity of domestic enterprises, as well as promoting foreign investment.
Transport upgrades transform the kingdom of Morocco into an African hub.
The past two decades have seen record investment in the Kingdom's road, sea, rail and air transport.
Enhanced connectivity is an important pillar of Morocco's economic development strategy.Connectivity also plays an important part in Morocco's drive for better regional integration. The Kingdom is increasingly involved with West Africa and across the continent as it continues to expand its regional leadership role. Over the past two decades, Morocco has invested heavily in its road, sea, rail and air transport system and has emerged as an African transport and logistics hub.
Considerable investment has been poured onto the road system, and notably motorways over the past 20 years. The government has built approximately 1,100 miles of modern roads, connecting most major cities via toll expressways. The Moroccan Ministry of Equipment, Transport, Logistics, and Water aims to build an additional 2,100 miles of expressway and 1,300 miles of highway by 2030, at an expected cost of $9.6 billion.
Another key asset issea transport. In this respect, the Tanger Med port complex, situated near the Strait of Gibraltar and inaugurated in 2007, has given Morocco an unrivalled strategic facility, which now handles 51.3 million tons of cargo a year, on par with the Port of London. With 750 companies and thousands of employees, it generated $6.8 billion of revenue in 2017.
Tanger Med II Extension inaugurated in June 2019 is meant to increase the port's capacity to 9 million TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) to be the biggest container port in the Mediterranean.
Tanger Med is a vital component of car manufacturers Renault and Peugeot's business model. The former opened a plant in Tanger-Med in 2012 and exported more than 300,000 cars in 2017 to the 74 countries served by the port. Peugeot (PSA Group), platform which was inaugurated in the Kenitra Atlantic Free Zone in June 2019, will also use Tanger Med to reinforces the PSA ecosystem in Morocco and plans to produce 200,000 cars per year by 2020.
Morocco's rail system is considered the best in Africa and 33rd in the world, according to the 2018 World Economic Forum report. Morocco's flagship project is the fast-speed train (Ligne à Grande Vitesse, LGV), which was inaugurated, in November 2018. It is now connecting Casablanca, Rabat, and the port city of Tangier along a 350-km route. The line also halves traveling time between the commercial and industrial hubs of Casablanca and Tangier and will eventually be prolonged southward to link Marrakech and Agadir.
Last but not least, air transport has also undergone a complete overhaul following the signing of an open skies agreement with the EU in 2006, and integration (in 2016) into Eurocontrol, the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation, which gathers 41 countries. 2018 was a record year for the Kingdom's airports, which received 22.5 million passengers, an increase of 10% over the previous year. Casablanca's Mohammed V Airport handled 43 percent of Moroccan international air traffic in 2018, receiving 9,732,044 passengers, an increase by 4 percent from 2017.
Morocco and Ghana share long History of excellent relations. His Majesty the King Mohammed VI visited the Republic of Ghana in February 2017. He was the First Head of state to visit the country after the election of H.E Nana AkufoAddo as the New President of the Republic. This visit that showed to both Moroccan and Ghanaians the potentials that cooperation between the two sister countries can bring to their citizens. During this visit the two heads of states supervised the signature of 27 agreements that offer significant impetus for economic growth and social development.