Moroccan companies in Africa: towards a more encompassing and scalable breakthrough

The African vocation of Moroccan companies will take a new impetus with the entry into force of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFTA). As soon as customs barriers are lifted, it is a market of 1.2 billion people to which Moroccan companies will have access, representing a total gross domestic product (GDP) of $2.500 billion.

Qualified as the largest free trade area in the world since the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the FTAC corrects the slowdown in the level of trade between countries of the same continent, which is among the lowest in the world.

According to figures from the Economic Social and Environmental Council (EESC), Morocco‘s share of trade with the rest of the continent does not exceed 4%, while the potential of African markets and Africa’s economic dynamism are no longer to be demonstrated.

The continent remains an endless source and a land of opportunities for Moroccan companies that are urged more than ever to continue their breakthrough, reinvent themselves and revise their business model to further strengthen their presence.

However, these companies have played a pioneering role in Africa, particularly in the development of basic socio-economic infrastructure and in the service sectors. Some domestic operators continued to expand and diversify their activities to other promising sectors, including fertilizer, real estate, industry, trade and distribution.

In its 4th International Development Barometer (BDI), the consulting firm BearingPoint notes that the majority of Moroccan companies adopt the same economic model for its development on the continent, noting that large Moroccan companies operating in Africa continue to operate according to classic models of asset holders or service providers.

The recent study, which analyses Moroccan business development strategies in Africa, notes, however, that some Moroccan companies are developing new initiatives, suggesting the adoption of new and complementary business models.

This is particularly the case of Moroccan banks located in Africa and faced with the upheaval of the African banking market since the digital revolution, the explosion of mobile payment and the emergence of Continental FinTech, continues the study that was published under the title โ€œWhat economic models and operating methods for the implementation of Moroccan companies in Africa?โ€.

That said, some companies are beginning to develop innovative initiatives in terms of hybridization, which is seen as a vehicle for growth by these companies, according to the same source.

Half (54%) of Moroccan business professionals developing in Africa who took part in this survey are thinking about changing the business model of companies to a complementary or hybrid model in order to generate more growth.

With regard to prospects, it appears that the evolution of Moroccan companies in Africa is more towards the development of new economic models over the coming decade.

Just over half of the Moroccan companies surveyed are ready to evolve its model to be complementary, which also often corresponds to taking into account local specificities, or starting a deeper overhaul of its economic model, for just under one in five companies, the study emphasizes, adding that risk is greater for these companies.

In detail, the survey reveals that 36% of respondents aim to develop a new economic model complementing core business activities and 18% think about changing their economic model for their development on the continent, compared with 46% of Moroccan companies on the panel that do not anticipate changes in their economic model in Africa.

These figures show a true ambition of Moroccan companies, given the risk posed by international development for these entities, since it is a question of developing new markets, including other legal, linguistic and monetary environments.

By CCEiT (with MAP)