The French intelligence service thinks a Casablanca business is behind the boycott campaign.
Rabat – France’s foreign intelligence service (DGSE) allegedly conducted a covert investigation into the 2018 Moroccan boycott of Centrale Danone and provided President Emmanuel Macron with a report on the findings.
The report suggested the boycott was a domestic affair into which the Moroccan subsidiary of the French Danone company was “dragged as a diversion,” a source told Moroccan outlet Economie & Entreprise last week.
According to the same source, the investigation found that a Casablanca-based firm specializing in digital influence launched a troll operation that resulted in millions of Moroccans joining the boycott.
The boycott cost Danone nearly MAD 500 million in addition to considerable collateral damage on its agricultural upstream.
Despite Danone CEO Emmanuel Faber’s repeated visits to Casablanca, the social media campaign to boycott Centrale Danone products continues for a ninth month.
The boycott, launched on April 20, 2018, targets three companies with large market shares for high prices in the Moroccan market: Sidi Ali, Centrale Danone, and Afriquia Gaz. The main actor in the Moroccan dairy sector, Centrale Danone, experienced the largest loss among the boycotted companies.
Miriem Bensalah-Chaqroun, the former president of the Moroccan confederation of businesses (CGEM), is the CEO of Oulmes Mineral Water, the company that produces Sidi Ali mineral water. Aziz Akhannouch, the Moroccan agriculture minister, is the CEO and chair of Akwa Group, the mother company of Afriquia Gaz, a liquid petroleum gas distributor.