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SPECIAL REPORT OVERVIEW


Witha total population of 35.3 million


inhabitants in 2016, according to figures from the country's High Commission for Planning, 64%of which are under the age of 34, Morocco has ademographic advantage forcompanies making long-terminvestment decisions. Morocco has vastlyimproved its business cli-


mate in recent years. The country ranked 53rd out of 190 countries in theWorld Bank’s 2020 Ease of Doing Business report—jumping 75 places from a decade earlier. The introduction of anewpublic–private


partnership (PPP) lawin 2014 has also reshaped the attractiveness of Morocco andTMZto trans- port sector investment, which has vastly improved in recent years. Since then, the length of roadways and railways increased by45%and 23%, respectively, according to a 2018 Oxford Business Group analysis. The PPP Knowledge Lab, a knowledge source


for PPPs launched by various multilateral devel- opment finance institutions, has tracked 31 such projects in Morocco witha total of $22.1bn committed since 1990. All projects are in energy, IT, transport, and water and sewage services. Morocco’s industrial transition has been


helped by these large infrastructure invest- ments, including boththe TangerMedport and Africa’s first high-speed rail link between Tangier and Casablanca, providing a platform for foreign investors to contribute, operate and setupoperations in the country. Opportunities for foreign investors are set to


continue withthe kingdom’s 2030 national port strategy, which has allocated $7.5bn to expand and upgrade the country’s ports along the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts, including thenewNadorWest port400kmeast of Tanger Med, which is due tocomeonline in 2021 and hasTMSAamongits shareholders.


Greengrowth Renewable energy has emerged as acompelling opportunity for foreign investors in Morocco in recent years,owing to the kingdom’s ambitious goal to have52%of its total power generation to comefrom renewables by 2030,upfrom the pre- vious target of42%by 2020. Saudi Arabia-based renewables giantACWA


Power has invested into several projects, includ- ing a 120MWwind farm30kmfrom Tangier, which supplies some of TMZ’s industrial clients, and the 510MWNoor solar park in southern Morocco, which is theworld’s largest concen- trated solar farm. This readily available clean energy has ena-


bled Renault to operate itsTMZplant carbon neutrally, withtwo-thirds of its electricity com- ing from wind power and the remainder from biomass.


Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, a


subsidiary of the German engineering spe- cialist, has also operated a wind turbine man- ufacturing plant in TMZ since March 2017 — the first of its kind to be opened in the Middle East and Africa.


TANGERMED FOUNDATION


PORT TangerMedPortAuthority INDUSTRIAL TangerMed2TangerFreeZone MedHub SERVICES TangerMedZonesCiresTechnologies TangerMedUtilities


TangerAutomotiveCityTangerMedEngineering TetouanShore TetouanPark


TSMA governance structure


Covid-19 challenges Morocco has not been unscathed by the eco- nomic challenges posed by the pandemic. The IMF estimates realGDPto decline in 2020 by between6%and 7%. YetGDP growth is expected to rebound to 4.5%in 2021, as the effects of the recent drought and pandemicwane. Following the IMF’s remote mission to


Morocco, which ended on November 2, senior economist Roberto Cardarelli said that the 2021 budget “continues to support the recov- ery over the next fewyears,mainly through the impulse to investment and the reforms of the social protection systemannounced by the [Moroccan] authorities”. Mr Cardarelli welcomed the progress


made in preparing the legal framework for the digitalisation of the public administration and the simplification of procedures, imple- menting the education reform, including the overhaul of the vocational and professional formation system, improving governance and fighting corruption. Morocco ranks 80th out of 198 countries


in terms of perceived level of public sector corruption, according to Transparency International’s 2019 Corruption Perception Index. Mr Bencardino and Mr Esposito say that


the effects of Covid-19 on Tanger Med “will depend on the trend of world trade, and the geostrategic repositioning of the economy and ports of the Mediterranean area, in particular those of southern Europe”. While significant challenges have been


posed by the pandemic, reevaluation of supply chains across the globe could yet present a fur- ther boost to Tanger Med and its surrounding industrial platform. “With Covid-19 and the potential of


nearshoring, the north ofMorocco and Tanger Med have significant potential,” says theWorld Bank’s Mr Hentschel.■


December 2020/January 2021 www.fDiIntelligence.com 99


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