With already MAD 50 billion of Spanish investments in Morocco, there is growing interest in the North African country’s business sector.
Rabat – The Morocco-Spain Economic Forum was held on Tuesday, July 2, 2019, in Casablanca. The forum was aimed at further strengthening investment relations between Morocco and Spain as well as encouraging partnership projects.
“Morocco enjoys an extraordinary geo-strategic position thanks to its Mediterranean Atlantic coastline and its proximity to the European continent,” said Maria Reyes Maroto, the Spanish Minister of Industry, Trade, and Tourism, noting that Morocco has reinforced its infrastructure allowing the flow of investment and trade between the two continents.
The two-day event, bringing together 300 public administration representatives from both countries, intended to facilitate contacts between Moroccan and Spanish companies and to discuss joint investment opportunities in the automobile industry, renewable energy, agriculture, education, and tourism sectors.
Spain has been Morocco’s leading trading partner since 2012, while it is the North African country’s third-largest investor, behind France and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Morocco-Spain trading relations
The latest data released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, indicates that Spain has maintained its position as Morocco’s first trading partner in the first quarter of 2019, both in terms of exports and imports.
Spanish exports to Morocco exceeded €2 billion at the end of March 2019, a decrease of 1.28% compared to last year’s statistics.
Spanish imports of Moroccan products rose to €1.8 billion in 2019, marking a 7.95% increase over one year.
During the same period, Spain was also Morocco’s first customer, accounting for 41.1% of the country’s total EU imports, ahead of France (29.3 %), Italy (6.1%), Germany (6.1%) and the UK (4.7%).
Morocco- Spain investment opportunities
The Iberian neighbor is already the third largest foreign investor in Morocco, with a stock of FDI of nearly MAD 50 billion as of 2017, which is translated to more than 600 Spanish companies installed and more than 20,000 job positions created.
“All this shows the commitment of Spanish companies and their desire to build a shared future with Morocco,” said the economic and commercial office of Spain.
The Moroccan Minister of Tourism, Air Transport, Crafts and Social Economy, Mohamed Sajid, noted that Spain makes several investments abroad, constantly motivating Spanish economic actors to invest more in Morocco given the countries’ geographical proximity.
Several Spanish companies operating in Morocco significantly contribute to the country’s economic development, with an investment figure reaching up to MAD 2.5 billion annually.
In the automotive sector, Spain is present in all segments of the value chain, from the coating of vehicle interiors to the design of safety systems. 90% of the buses that circulate in Morocco are manufactured locally by Spanish companies.
In the tourism field, Barcelo and Melia, two major Spanish hotel companies, opened several hotels in Morocco over the years and ran tourist resorts.
In terms of renewable energy, Spain has invested in a wind turbine blade plant in Tangier and has contributed to the construction of Noor solar stations.
Strengthening two-way relationships
According to Spanish Minister Maroto, the expansion of trade and infrastructure development in Morocco allowed the country to remarkably render itself a platform for continental companies, a gateway to Africa for Europe and a hub for air connections and freight flows.
“It is a relationship based on complementarity between our two economies through two-way trade flows and high value-added sectors,” Maroto said, stressing that strengthening Morocco-Spain relations is not considered a one-way project.
Morocco is also planning to strengthen its presence in the Spanish economy as an investor. The stock of Moroccan foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in this country totaled barely MAD 52 at the end of 2017.
Given that Morocco is only the ninth supplier of Spain and has a trade balance deficit of nearly MAD 15 billion, it must boost its exports to Spain in the near future.
According to the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises (CGEM) projections, trade flows between the two countries are expected to double to MAD 264 billion by 2025.