“Bottled water prices in Morocco are much higher than in the MENA region,” says the International Finance Corporation.
Rabat – In June 2019, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank Group released a private-sector diagnostic in Morocco titled “Creating Markets in Morocco.”
The document analyzes the Moroccan market making several recommendations. The aim of the diagnostic is to “stimulate private sector growth”, create jobs, and improve skills by strengthening “market competition for the benefit of the private sector”.
The document recognizes that “private companies and, ultimately, consumers, are penalized by the shortcomings of the institutions and the regulations on the protection of competition.”
IFC’s comparative analysis of prices of major consumer products showed that prices are higher in Morocco than in other countries in the MENA region.
The analysis reports that “the results of a national empirical evaluation comparing prices of bottled water in Morocco with those in the MENA region and beyond tend to show that prices are indeed significantly higher in Morocco.”
According to IFC, empirical results indicate that the average prices of bottled water in Morocco are about 17% higher than those from a group of MENA countries.
“Even after controlling factors that may affect prices such as per capita income, the cost of imports, or the tariff rate, the prices remain higher than the norm,” states the analysis.
When comparing prices between major cities, the results of the analysis suggest a large price gap. “Inhabitants of Casablanca pay for bottled water on average about 50% more than residents of similar cities in the MENA region.”
The IFC also recalled the boycott campaign launched in April 2018 against Les Eaux Minéraux d’Oulmes, dairy products company Centrale Danone, and the fuels company Afriquia.
These companies were “accused of practicing ‘exorbitant’ prices, between two and three times higher than in some European and Asian markets,” concluded the IFC.
Bottled water boycott in Morocco
The boycott began on April 20, 2018, when online activists launched campaigns on social media against three renowned brands: Afriquia gas, Centrale Danone and Sidi Ali.
Besides the high prices of the companies’ products, citizens supporting the boycott also accused the brands of monopolizing the Moroccan market.
Following Centrale Danone’s announcement, Morocco’s boycotted mineral water company Les Eaux Minerales d’Oulmes, after more than nine weeks of silence, confessed that the campaign caused a “drop in its revenues for the first half of 2018.”