Moroccan CEOs Bullish on Short Term Growth; Concerned about Access to Credit – Jean R. AbiNader

Jean R. AbiNader, MATIC
July 5, 2017
Jean R. AbiNader, Exec. Dir., Moroccan American Trade and Investment Center

Jean R. AbiNader, Exec. Dir., Moroccan American Trade and Investment Center

While other countries in the region struggle to compound their annual growth rates, Morocco’s private sector leadership indicates, in a recent poll, that they believe prospects for continued growth are quite strong. It is common in developed countries to routinely poll purchasing managers, C-suite executives, financial officers, human capital recruiters, and others, to take the pulse of what is happening in their particular business activity.

So, it should come as no surprise that other countries, with evolving economies, are also hard at work taking the pulse of their public and private sector leaders when it comes to economic trends. The Oxford Business Group (OBG), which publishes an annual assessment of Morocco’s overall economy, recently conducted its first “Business Barometer: Morocco CEO Survey,” a self-described “study of almost 70 CEOS in the country that provides strong local insight into current C-suite business sentiment.”

In a frontier market economy like Morocco, it is sometimes challenging to identify leadership that is not either quasi-state run or dependent on the government for its revenues, which may influence the responses. In this survey, OBG sought out a broad spectrum of companies based on a number of criteria, including annual sales, size of workforce, customer base, and ownership. In this poll, 53% were international companies, 28% were local, and 83% were in the private sector.

The results released in a summary of the report show that in the near-term the business community is committed to operating in Morocco and expect that their business will grow over the next year. Data gathered shows that 86% said that they have positive or very positive expectations, while 62% said that they were likely or very likely “to make a significant capital investment in the next year.”

Given recent concerns with business conditions in Morocco captured in World Bank and World Economic Forum reports, it stood out that 77% of respondents said that relative to the region, the level of transparency for conducting business was high or very high. Two areas of the business environment were less satisfactory. Less than 45% expressed satisfaction with local suppliers and service providers, and only 40% labeled the tax environment competitive. Another area of concern to the CEOs surveyed was access to credit, which 53% indicated was difficult or very difficult.

The study echoes concerns raised by the World Bank report, in that the economy would benefit as a whole from more tax reforms and an upgraded and market-focused educational system. This comes at a time when the MCC-US is launching with its counterpart in Morocco a $120 million project to enhance secondary schools in all aspects, from physical plant to curriculum and staff development.

The OBG study is good news for Morocco’s business promotion efforts, emphasizing both the assets of the economy and the challenges the country faces if it is to meet the growth rates necessary to absorb its human capital, generate needed tax income, and continue the diversification of the economy that to date has achieved important progress.

In addition, the results can be used for regional comparisons to see how Morocco measures up across North Africa or with other countries. A detailed survey, infographics, and OBG analysis are available from OBG at https://www.oxfordbusinessgroup.com/blog/category/obg-business-barometer.

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