In its bid to become an ever-more business friendly country, the Kingdom of Morocco has scored several points in recent weeks, some of which are listed in this post.
According to the 2011 Doing Business report, Morocco's ranking rose by 14 places, from 128th to 114th. In comparison, Tunisia is in 55th position, and Algeria 136th. Recent business climate reforms were listed and discussed at a recent French Chamber of Commerce and Industry conference by the minister Mr. Nizar Baraka: cutting red tape and simplifying administrative procedures, improving infrastructure (road and rail investment public investment has doubled this year), reducing the rate of corporate tax, reforming higher education to make it more responsive to the needs for skills.
Public service reform in Morocco is well documented on the website of the ministry of modernisation of the public sectors under the responsibility of Mr. Mohamed Saad El Alami . The Programme for modernisation and improvement of the management of Moroccan administrations comprises several pillars such as development of human resources, better local government and administrative simplification.
On 20 December, the Comité national de l'environnement des affaires (CNEA), which brings together key stakeholders, published the results of its first year of operation, listing 8 major reforms in the pipeline for adoption by May 2011, all aimed at making life easier for companies to register and operate, including commercial law and public procurement.
Its 2010 working programme lists four strategic priorities, the first being the simpler and more transparent administrative procedures.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has been supporting Morocco's public administration reforms since 1993. In 2006, a loan of 85 million euros was granted to finance the implementation of the second phase of the Public Administration Reform Support Programme (PARSP), launched in 2003. PARSP II seeks to improve the government's efficiency in budget and human resources management and to consolidate and control the public payroll.
The World Bank Group funds and delivers projects contributing to the economic and social development of Morocco, which are agreed with the Government in a Country Partnership Strategy (CPS). Covering a 4 year period (2010-2013), the CPS proposes projects to enhance growth, competitiveness and employment, which require inter alia policies supporting a stable macroeconomic environment, an improved business environment and a trade policy that supports the competitiveness of Moroccan products. A second set of projects seek to improve service delivery to citizens, including a closer attention to the effectiveness of the public administration and the outcomes of public policies and investments.
Morocco is a participant to the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). The current agenda of EU-Morocco relations is spelled out in an Action Plan which includes mutually agreed priorities and objectives for cooperation in the political, economic, commercial, justice, security and cultural spheres. The table summarising the projects and programmes to be financed in Morocco between 2007-2010 within the framework of the National Indicative Programme includes an appropriation of 20 million euros for public service reform.
Morocco also cooperates closely with OECD. At its ministerial conference in November, the Public Governance Committee of the OECD approved the membership of Morocco as a permanent observer, inter alia in recognition of its role as chair of the Good Governance for Development (GfD) in Arab Countries Initiative (working group on civil service and integrity) and recent progress recently made to improve governance.
International experts, such as Scott Jacobs, have been assisting the implementation of these reforms by the development of regulatory reform tools and the training of officials in key ministries.
A Manual of Procedures (available in four languages) has been developed with the support of USAID to inventory and simplify investment procedures and bring them into line with international standards. A network of 16 Regional Investment Centres (CRI) ensures a consistent implementation accross the territory and offers, alongside one-stop-shop facilities, economic information relevant to business. Several websites provide practical information about setting up a business in Morocco, for instance "Esprit d'Entreprise" and the electronic portal "e-invest'".
E-government solutions are actively pursued under the aegis of the Plan Maroc Numeric 2013, managed under the personal supervision of the King. On 16 December, the Moroccan e-Government Forum took stock of the first year of the programme, which comprises a total of 89 projects, 15 key of which are expected to deliver by end 2011.