Morocco has moved up seven places in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 Report which was released last week, on Thursday, October 24. Morocco was ranked 53rd out of 190 nations in the report.
Morocco came out ahead of several top business operators in the region and across the world, including South Africa (84th), Algeria (157), Saudi Arabia (62nd). Morocco had taken measures to make trading across borders faster by “introducing e-payments of port fees, streamlining paperless customs clearance, and extending port hours of operation.”
The report shows the importance of Morocco for the European Union (EU) as a trade hub and a gateway to Africa, which also makes the country more attractive for European investors. Exchanges between the two continents are likely to increase.
The EU is Morocco’s largest trading partner, accounting for 59,4% of its trade in 2017. 64,6 % of Morocco’s exports went to the EU, and 56,5% of Morocco’s imports came from the EU. Morocco is the EU’s 22nd trading partner representing 1,0% of the EU’s total trade with the world.
Morocco is not only an important trade partner but also a strategic ally of the EU, especially when it comes to common challenges, such as terrorism and migration. The EU and Morocco enjoy a high-level cooperation in many different areas ranging from fisheries and agriculture to security and development cooperation.
The World Bank report said that in Morocco made “paying taxes less costly by reducing the corporate income tax rate.” The reduction of the tax rate on companies by adopting a progressive system of corporate taxation has enabled the North African to reach the 24th rank in the world of fiscal performance index. It has also ranked 43th worldwide when it comes to the ease of business creation.
Several important reforms have been carried out including: strengthening minority investor protections; reducing the corporate income tax rate; and introducing e-payment of port fees. This has strengthened the rights of minority investors, streamlined business registration processes and made it easier for businesses to import and export goods. Morocco ranks 37th place in the Index of Protection of Minority Investors, an improvement from the 64th in the past.
Economies in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region implemented the most reforms on record to ease doing business for domestic small and medium-sized enterprises and hosted four of the countries that improved the most world-wide, according to the World Bank Group’s Doing Business 2020 study. Morocco retains its third position at African level behind Mauritius, which ranks 13th in the world, Rwanda (38th), and ahead of Kenya (56th), South Africa (84th), Senegal (123rd) and Nigeria (131st).
“It is a year of records for economies in the Middle East and North Africa, and we are committed to continuing our support to all countries in the region” said Ferid Belhaj, World Bank Regional Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa. “The next generation of reforms should focus on transparency, fair competition and good governance to make MENA open for business and attract investments needed to create jobs for youth and women.”
Economic policies led by the King of Morocco, Mohammed VI, involve policies with a human, social, and environmental focus. He has put in place a favourable investment policy which is leading the transformation of the country into a haven for business opportunities.
The 2020 Doing Business report seeks to measure the performance of 190 countries in business facilitation by assessing the legislation and administrative procedures adopted in ten different areas of the business life cycle, namely business creation, cross-border trade, payment of taxes, building permits, the connection to electricity, the transfer of ownership, access to financing, the execution of contracts, the protection of minority investors, as well as the management of files of companies in difficulty.