Morocco enjoys macroeconomic stability with low inflation, a large reserve of foreign exchange and a diminishing foreign debt. However, although the country has performed well in economic terms over the past few years, it still faces structural problems, including a heavy reliance on agriculture. Morocco is highly accommodating to both foreign and domestic investment and the government is making continuous efforts to improve the investment climate, for example, by streamlining paperwork in connection with investment. Nonetheless, the country still faces a number of socio-political challenges. One of these is the occurrence of corruption, both petty and grand, in virtually all sectors, including the country's political life. In February and March 2011, thousands of Moroccans took to the streets, demanding better civic rights and an end to corruption.
Positive developments in relation to corruption and investment:
- The problem of corruption in Morocco has been well publicised, and the country's outspoken media, civil society and successive governments have advocated launching a fight against corruption.
- The legal framework concerning corruption, transparency and integrity seems to be in place, and the regulatory system itself is becoming increasingly transparent.
- In December 2012, the government launched an anti-corruption awareness campaign aiming to raise anti-corruption awareness among the public as well as to enhance the government's role in the fight against corruption.
- In 2011, the Moroccan Parliament passed a landmark law to protect whistle-blowers as well as trial witnesses and experts. The same year also saw the passage of the Freedom of Information Act.
- In October 2010, Morocco's government unveiled a two-year anti-corruption plan, which includes over 40 new anti-graft measures, such as asset declarations for top state officials, government protection of whistle-blowers, and channels for the public to report graft and extortion by government officials.
Risks of corruption:
- Prosecutions of corruption cases have been accused of targeting only petty corruption. Also high profile cases and cases where the misdeeds were shown to result from the government's style of governance have been promptly halted in order to avoid political embarrassment.
- Foreign as well as Moroccan entrepreneurs identify corruption as a large obstacle to investment in Morocco and remain sceptical with regard to the effectiveness of the government’s efforts to fight corruption.
- Allegations persist that companies owned by highly influential persons are rarely disciplined by regulatory agencies if they infringe investment regulations, and that regulations shown to jeopardise the entrenched interests of the higher circles of political and economic power are disregarded.