Published on Arab Voices

Why Private Sector Development is Crucial for Morocco

 Arne HoelLike many economies in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, Morocco’s depends on the public sector, but with its economy expected to grow by only about 3 percent in 2014—having slipped from about 5 percent in 2011—it is clear that the public sector needs all the help it can get.
The best way to help the public sector is to grow the private sector, and the International Finance Corporation believes the best way to grow the private sector is to provide advisory services and comprehensive investment solutions to attract foreign money, help local businesses help themselves, and create those desperately needed jobs.
To begin reducing unemployment levels—which have been over 10 percent since 2005—the economy needs to grow by at least 7 percent every year. Job creation and inclusion for young people and women is a particular priority.
Helping the government and financial sector expand access to finance for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) is one way to achieve this. In Morocco, as in many MENA countries, MSMEs make up almost 90 percent of all businesses, and generate up to 80 percent of employment, but often struggle to get the finance they need to expand their business, create more jobs, and contribute to the economy.
Certain sectors are particularly ripe for support and investment. Renewable energy is rich with potential, especially because of burgeoning solar power technology and the opportunities a sun-blessed desert provides. Likewise, the growth of agribusiness has great possibilities in a country well-placed to become a regional breadbasket. Finally, investing in education is essential to ensure that young graduates leave school and university with the skills they need in the workplace or start a company of their own.
Another strategy is to make Morocco a financial hub for Africa, helped by its location, which allows the country to act as a bridge to more affluent European markets. So-called South-South investments from Morocco, especially to Sub-Saharan Africa, could allow Moroccan companies to expand their horizons and grow their economy back home simultaneously.
Outside expertise is required for these steps to be taken, with specialist advice available to help improve corporate governance, develop the investment climate, address energy efficiency concerns, and guide public private partnership models. Ultimately, it is vital to build investor confidence in Morocco by providing as much support as possible to its private sector.


Joumana Cobein

International Finance Corporation Head for the Maghreb

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