Q – Morocco has announced its intention to rejoin the AU. What’s your reaction to this, especially since Rabat and Paris have continually expressed their determination to strengthen their partnership for Africa? A - Morocco’s return to the African Union would make an important contribution to the African continent’s growing integration, which France encourages. Indeed, a united Africa is an engine for peace, stability and development for the continent and the rest of the (...)» Read more ...
France and Morocco
Our long-standing, excellent relations are have been marked by intense, regular dialogue since the mid-1990s. King Mohammed VI chose France for his first State visit in March 2000. He was also the first Head of State to be received by President François Hollande, one week after he was sworn in. This meeting was an opportunity to reaffirm the exceptional importance France attaches to its bilateral relations with Morocco.
The annual meetings between the heads of government, which have taken place since 1997, have helped bring our political dialogue up to the level we maintain with our closest European partners, demonstrating France’s solidarity with Morocco.
Relations between France and Morocco found new momentum in 2015, with the visits to Morocco by the French Ministers of the Interior (14 February), Foreign Affairs and International Development (9 March), and Public Accounts (13 April) and by the Prime Minister (9 April). The twelfth high-level meeting, co-chaired by the two Prime Ministers, was held in Paris on 28 May, on the theme of renewing and enhancing the “special partnership”. On that occasion, some 20 agreements were signed in a variety of fields.
The President of the French Republic’s visit to Tangiers (19-20 September 2015), the exceptional presence of the King of Morocco at the opening of COP21 (30 November 2015) and the private dinner at the Élysée Palace (17 February 2016) have spurred on the bilateral relationship. Morocco and France are also the 2016 co-chairs of the 5+5 Dialogue of Western Mediterranean countries.
France is Morocco’s top bilateral donor. A commitment capacity of €600 million over the period 2014-2016 aims to continue support for public policies and support for Moroccan operators in Africa.
Moroccan visits to France
During COP21, on 30 November 2015,
• HM King Mohammed VI visited Paris, accompanied by: HRH Moulay Rachid; Mr Salaheddine Mezouar, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation; Mr Aziz Akhannouch, Minister of Agriculture and Marine Fisheries; Mr Abdelkader Aâmara, Minister of Energy, Mines, Water and the Environment; and Ms Hakima el Haite, Minister Delegate for the Environment.
• HM King Mohammed VI (20 November 2015)
• HRH Moulay Rachid (10 November 2015)
• Mr Salaheddine Mezouar, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (10 November 2015)
• Ms Hakima el Haite, Minister Delegate for the Environment (10 November 2015)
• Mr Rachid Belmokhtar, Minister of National Education and Vocational Training (5 November 2015)
• Mr Lahcen Sekkouri, Minister of Youth and Sports (29 October 2015)
• Ms Hakima el Haite, Minister Delegate for the Environment (25 August 2015)
For the high-level meeting on 28 May 2015,
• Mr Abdelilah Benkirane, Head of the Moroccan Government, visited Paris, accompanied by: Mr Mohamed Hassad, Minister of the Interior; Mr El Mostapha Ramid, Minister of Justice and Freedoms; Mr Ahmed Toufiq, Minister of Endowments and Islamic Affairs; Mr Rachid Benmokhtar, Minister of National Education and Vocational Training; Mr Minister of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Training; Mr Moulay Hafid el Alamy, Minister of Industry, Trade, Investment and the Digital Economy; Mr Mohand Laenser, Minister of Youth and Sports; Mr Mohamed Nabil Benabdallah, Minister of Housing and Urban Planning; Ms Bassima Hakkaoui, Minister of Solidarity, Women, Family and Social Development; Mr Mohammed Amine Sbihi, Minister of Culture; Ms Mbarka Bouaida, Minister Delegate to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation; Mr Mohamed Moubdi, Minister Delegate for the Civil Service and Modernization of Public Administration; Ms Hakima el Haite, Minister Delegate for the Environment.
• Mr Mustapha el Khalfi, Minister of Communication (25-27 February 2015)
• Ms Hakima el Haite, Minister Delegate for the Environment (28 January 2015)
• Mr Rachid Belmokhtar, Minister of National Education and Vocational Training (15-17 January 2015)
• Mr Salaheddine Mezouar, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (11 January 2015)
French visits to Morocco
Mr Alain Vidalies, Minister of State for Transport, Marine Affairs and Fisheries (31 March-1 April, Rabat)
Ms Ségolène Royal, Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy (4 February, Ouarzazate)
Mr Jean-Pierre Raffarin, Chair of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee (21-22 January, Rabat)
• Ms Martine Pinville, Minister of State for Commerce, Small-Scale Industry, Consumer Affairs and the Social and Solidarity Economy (19-22 November)
• Mr Matthias Fekl, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, the Promotion of Tourism and French Nationals Abroad (21-22 October)
• Ms Annick Girardin, Minister of State for Development and Francophonie (13 October)
• Mr Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development (Tangiers, 7 October)
• Ms Elisabeth Guigou, Chair of the National Assembly Foreign Affairs Committee (2 October)
• Mr François Hollande, President of the Republic (Tangiers, 19-20 September, accompanied by the following Ministers: Mr Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development; Ms Ségolène Royal, Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy; Ms Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, Minister of National Education, Higher Education and Research; Ms Myriam El Khomri, Minister of Labour, Employment, Vocational Training and Social Dialogue; and Mr Jean-Marie Le Guen, Minister of State for Relations with Parliament.
• Mr Nicolas Hulot, Special Envoy of the President of the Republic for the Preservation of the Planet (2 June)
• Mr Michel Sapin, Minister of Finance and Public Accounts (13 April)
• Mr Manuel Valls, Prime Minister (9 April)
• Mr Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development (9-10 March)
• Mr Bernard Cazeneuve, Minister of the Interior (14 February)
• Ms Elisabeth Guigou, Chair of the National Assembly Foreign Affairs Committee (Rabat, 5-6 January)
France remained Morocco’s second-largest partner, supplier and customer, behind Spain. Moroccan exports to France are dominated by textiles, electrical and electronic components, and agrifood products.
France has been Morocco’s second-largest supplier (12.9% market share in 2013) since 2012, overtaken by Spain for first place (13.5% in 2013). Indeed, despite regular growth in our exports, our market share has been receding since 2000 because of the opening-up of the Moroccan market, which is very favourable to companies from emerging countries (China became Morocco’s third-largest supplier in 2009, before being overtaken by the United States) and our European partners, whose SMEs are more competitive than ours.
The growth of tourism and the scale of capital flows from France also characterized our economic relations with Morocco during the 2000s. France is a leading source of remittances from Moroccans living abroad. French tourists are also the largest group of visitors to Morocco, and the revenue associated with this flow is estimated at €1.5 billion. Capital flows from France are thus crucial for Morocco’s balance of payments, as they allow it to partially offset the country’s growing trade gap.
France remains, moreover, the leading foreign investor in Morocco. In 2013, the flow of French foreign direct investment to Morocco totalled €1.3 billion, with France holding 36.9% of total FDI stock in the country. In this respect, Morocco stands with China and India as one of the three main destinations for French FDI. Lastly, the installation of Renault-Nissan in Tangiers should, given the direct investments planned by the company (€600 million-1 billion) and the probable investments of their subcontractors, generate a major flow of French FDI in the coming years.
The number of subsidiaries of French companies in Morocco totals around 750, employing more than 80,000 people. There are also a great many Moroccan companies let by French entrepreneurs or with French equity. Most major French groups are present in Morocco (36 CAC40 companies), while SMEs are also increasingly active there.
Our cooperation is implemented in the following framework:
• the priorities set out by the Interministerial International Cooperation and Development Committee (CICID) and the guidelines established during high-level meetings between heads of government;
• the Partnership Agreement on cultural cooperation and development which was signed by the Prime Ministers on 25 July 2003 and entered into force in March 2010.
In the field of education, in 2013 almost 31,500 students, of whom 65% were Moroccans, attended the 39 French educational institutions in Morocco (including 23 establishments of the Agency for French Teaching Abroad – AEFE). The French Institute of Morocco (IFM) in 11 locations (Agadir, Casablanca, Fez, Marrakesh, Meknes, Oujda, Rabat, Kenitra, Tangiers, Tetuan, El Jadida), created on 1 January 2012, two Alliance Française Teaching Centres (Essaouira and Safi), and one Campus France office attached to the French Institute of Rabat (IFR) provide a significant, active French presence in the country. The 32,000 Moroccan students in France are our leading cohort of international students.
The State visit in April 2013 opened the way for new partnership agreements between French and Moroccan higher education establishments. The most emblematic project is that for the creation of a French National Institute of Applied Sciences (INSA) in Fez, attached to the Euro-Mediterranean University of Fez (UEMF) and granted the “Union for the Mediterranean” label. Other projects include a School of Architecture at the International University of Rabat, in cooperation with the Nancy School of Architecture (ENSAN); the Paris Est University Centre for Research and Higher Education (PRES-Paris Est), which welcomed its first students in October 2013; the Casablanca École Centrale (ECC) College of Engineering; a Mediterranean Institute for Logistics and Transport (IMLT) in Tangiers, in partnership with the University of Valenciennes and the French École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées; an international technological university institute (IUT); a school of medicine within the University of Agadir; and a higher education institution modelled on the French Conservatoire national des arts et métiers (CNAM).
French is a genuine second language in Morocco. Our support for the teaching of French, which fosters trainer training and the opening of international classes, seeks to consolidate this position.
The AFD group has been operating in Morocco since 1992. The Agence française de développement (AFD, French Development Agency) operates through its subsidiary Proparco, which is devoted to funding the private sector, as well as through the Centre for Financial, Economic and Banking Studies (CEFEB), based in Marseille, and the French Global Environment Facility (FFEM), for which the AFD provides the secretariat. Morocco is the leading recipient of support from the AFD, with exposure (disbursed sums + funds awaiting disbursement) totalling €2565 million. The AFD focuses essentially on the sectors of water, the environment and socio-economic infrastructure, with an additional emphasis on the private sector, such as to support modernization of small and very small enterprises.
Updated: 1 April 2016