Monetary unit: Moroccan dirham
Capital city: Rabat
Major languages: Arabic
Major religions: Islam
Ethnic composition: Amazigh (Berber) c. 45%, of which Arabized c. 24%; Arab c. 44%; Moors originally from Mauritania c. 10%; other c. 1%
Age breakdown: under 15, 29.1%; 15–29, 28.6%; 30–44, 21.0%; 45–59, 13.1%; 60–74, 6.0%; 75–84, 1.8%; 85 and over, 0.4%
Life expectancy: -
Education: Percentage of population age 10 and over having: no formal education through incomplete primary education 45.5%; complete primary 40.8%; secondary 8.7%; higher 5.0%
Urban/Rural split: urban 57.6%; rural 42.4%
Income per household (USD): -
Broadband internet users (%): -
Source: Encyclopedia Britannica
Since the liberalisation of the economy in 1993 the Moroccan economy has enjoyed impressive growth. Between 2000 and 2007 it grew at nearly 5% a year, and a policy of investment in agriculture led to growth in that sector of 20% in 2009, helping insulate the country from the worst of the global economic slowdown.
This has helped produce a booming PR industry. “The PR industry in Morocco has known tremendous growth in the last decade,” observes Houda El Khayati, senior marketing & retail manager for Africa at Blackberry. “Moroccan businesspeople are now much more aware of how well PR can spread the word, create a buzz, and influence hearts and minds. I personally believe that PR is the most powerful communication tool in our times.”
It is not only economic growth that is driving the PR industry forward. Faycal Temsamani investment director of the ALHIF Investment Fund, developers of the Park Hyatt Marrakech,
believes that political developments, growing international prestige and the financial crisis have all played a part.
“There has been much political change in the past few years,” he says. “For example recent changes to the constitution have given political parties an opportunity to play a bigger role in the management of the state. As a result political leaders want to use PR to improve their public image.”
He continues: “We bid for the right to host the 2010 World Cup, and this also involved the use of PR. The effort was not rewarded but the feeling is that we’ll do better next time. Lastly, since the financial crisis most companies use PR to convince the financial sector of their solidity and capacity to grow. Companies are all searching for investors, partners, and bank finance and to do this they are putting in place structured communication strategies with the help of specialised partners.”
The Moroccan broadcast sector has grown significantly in the past few years. Industry experts point to 2M as the top target station for most campaigns. When it comes to the print media L’Economiste has a good reputation.
However, as Temsamani, points out the media sector does have its problems. “The strength of the Moroccan PR industry is also its weakness,” he says. “It is a young industry filled with
potential but also lacking experience. Furthermore, few people read newspapers in Morocco compared to other similar countries. Those that do tend to be the elite and the middle class.”
It should also be noted that while there is little official censorship, much of the Moroccan media is self-censoring.
Global brands are extremely active in PR in Morocco. Motorola, for example, has been for years, in spite of a very limited budget, highly visible. Also, a few Moroccan brands including franchise firm Aksal, real estate company Alliances, and finance company Medz make good PR efforts.
When it comes to personal branding, Moroccan personalities such as Ahmed Taoufik Hjira, the environment minister, Ahmed Reda Chami, minister of industry, trade and new technologies, Anas Sefrioui, ceo of real estate group Addoha, and Aziz Akhannouch, ceo of AKWA Group, maintain high profiles in the media.
Moroccans who left to make a new life overseas are beginning to return to the country, and this is having a beneficial effect on the PR industry, as it is able to recruit young talent that has been trained in best practice in more mature markets.
Multinational groups have so far made little headway in the country and the leading PR agencies are local: Bonzai, Piment Rouge Shems, Zone Bleu, PRmedia and Mosaik.