Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

Public-private partnerships grow in Morocco

Written by Christelle Marot, PARIS on Tuesday, May 24th 2011 à 15:37 | Read 1544 times

Transport, water and electricity distribution, drainage and education: in Morocco, the private provision of a number of public services is becoming more commonplace.

Public-private partnerships grow in Morocco
MOROCCO. Transport, water and electricity distribution, drainage, education: in Morocco, the private rovision of a number of public services is becoming more commonplace, in the context of economic deregulation and the tightening of budgetary constraints.  

One successful example of a private-public partnership is the port complex of Tangiers, at a total cost of €3 billion. Around half of this amount was financed by private operators. 

The port is developed and operated by the Agence spéciale Tanger Méditerranée (TMSA), a government agency. For its part, the private sector is responsible for facilities. To operate this colossal project, Moroccan authorities rely on large world-scale operators: APM Terminals, Eurogate  and Marsa Morocco , in particular for the concession of terminals. Tanger Med I began operations in 2007. 

The second phase of the port complex, Tanger Med II, will be operational in mid-2014, which will increase the storage capacity of the port from 3 million to 8.2 million Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit containers (TEU). One terminal is yet to be awarded to the private sector. 

Higher education: The private sector to the rescue

Another area in which the private sector plays a growing role is education. To meet the needs of the economy and as a palliative for the failure of the public sector, the authorities aim to increase the share of the private sector from around 7% now to 20%.

In Casablanca, the private Mundiapolis  campus, which opened its doors in 2009, offers training that matches the emergence-type needs expressed in national strategic plans: IT, telecoms networks, offshoring, on-board electronics, management, marketing, finance and accounting.

The campus, which can cater for 3500 students, is located on the aeropole of Nouaceur, an industrial zone developed by the Office National Des Aéroports   (ONDA), the Centre Régional d’Investissements (CRI de Casablanca) and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and New Technologies.

Despite the absence of a clear regulatory framework, such private initiatives are growing in number: the International University of Rabat, Universiapolis  in Agadir, CUPM in Marrakesh, etc.

While there has been a law to supervise private higher education since 2000, about ten decrees to regulate the sector, encouraging finance and taxation are still awaiting promulgation.

Mixed picture in water and electricity sectors

While Tanger Med is a success and education has great potential, the problems relating to water and electricity under PPP arrangements are more sensitive.

In Morocco the popular challenge has not saved French groups Suez and Veolia  , the delegated managers of public services in several large cities in the kingdom. In the wake of their political demands, the demonstrators of 20 February demand better governance and greater transparency in economic affairs.

Lydec, the Moroccan subsidiary of Suez, has operated in Casablanca since 1997 under a contract with the metropolitan area.

For its part, Veolia has obtained the contract for the management of water, drainage and electricity in the cities of Tangiers, Tetouan, Rabat and Salé via its subsidiaries Amendis and Redal.
    However, a number of users and associations have condemned rising charges and delays in the construction of infrastructure and subsidised connections; criticisms raised in the 2009 report by the State Audit Office in Rabat, made available to the public in the second quarter of 2011.

For Mehdi Lahlou, economist and president of the Moroccan Association for the World Contract on Water (ACME Morocco   ), "these private companies, which obtain concessions for thirty years, have no technical or financial interest in investing over the very long-term”.


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