Morocco: A Place of Business

When people think of Morocco, they often think of winding back streets of the medina or souks lined with exotic offerings.  While those images are true, it is more accurate that Morocco is a nation of contrasts - the old and the new.  Nearly every city has the medina qadima and the nouvelle ville, the old city and the new city. These contrasts permeate life for Moroccans.  For example, you can see a young woman dressed in the latest European designer clothes and her best friend walking in an equally fashionable, yet much more traditional, kaftan.  

Moroccans' desire for modern things and steadfast reverence for tradition, along with an emerging middle class is what makes Morocco such an interesting market. It's not just the exotic locale pictured in the travel books. It also has thriving metro areas as busy as New York City. Casablanca, for instance, is the second largest financial center in all of Africa.  

Smart entrepreneurs, both in Morocco and abroad, are taking notice of this. They are quickly realizing that there is a great deal of potential in Morocco's market. In fact, Entrepreneur magazine put Morocco in the top 3 emerging markets to watch. It's easy to see why because of Morocco's continued focus on reducing its deficit and eliminating corruption to ensure stability, as well as its strategic location on the northwest shoulder of Africa in close proximity to Europe.  

If you are going to invest in Morocco, consider these three tips from Entrepreneur:

Know your options. How one enters the market depends entirely on what makes sense in that country. The Danish pharmaceutical company LEO Pharma sold its products through local partners in Morocco before establishing a ground presence there in 2001. Savvy moves like this enable entrepreneurs to set their antennae on the market while minimizing exposure to potential volatility.
Adapt to local tastes. Business leaders must consider how their products will fare among local consumers. Burger King expanded its vegetarian menu options to cater to Indian diners, and KFC created Ugali nuggets based on a staple Kenyan dish. Favorable market conditions will only take foreign companies so far if they don’t know what customers in these countries want.
Plan for the long term. Entrepreneurs who succeed in emerging and frontier markets possess the agility to respond to rapidly changing dynamics. And they need a keen eye for predicting which industries will be profitable down the road. For instance, Bangalore, India, is fast emerging as a global tech and startup hub, and 40 percent of Kenya’s GDP is driven through the mobile payment platform m-pesa. Savvy founders can spot such openings and strategize for them several years out.

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