NEW REPORT SAYS GROUND IN PLACE FOR MOROCCAN E-COMMERCE GROWTH

Internet

An essential prerequisite for larger e-commerce adoption in Morocco is growing at a healthy rate. Debit and credit cards in Morocco have grown by 30% 2002 to exceed 1.3 million. 2003 growth will be around 25% and will positively contribute to the e-commerce landscape in the market. Nonetheless, low Internet and PC penetration remain major impediments.

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³The Internet market in Morocco is highly competitive. The number of licensed ISPs in the country is in continuous growth with the Internet cafes dominating the service providers’ base. ISPs and Internet Cafes in Morocco need to acquire a similar Internet declaration from the ANRT to start operations.² Arab Advisors Group’s senior analyst, Hala Baqain wrote in the report. ³However, the public datacomm network (PDN) service is still a monopoly. Competition in the datacomm market was scheduled to materialize in 2002 as an incentive to the second fixed licensee however it failed with the failure of the tender. The Arab Advisors Group projects competition in the datacomm market to occur in 2003.² Ms. Baqain added.

Despite the competitive landscape, the Internet market in Morocco suffers from a very low subscriber base. The number of Internet subscribers reached 60,000 subscribers by yearend 2002 with a penetration rate of only 0.2%. The low monthly income and the low PC penetration rate are the major obstacles stifling the Internet growth in Morocco. In addition, the huge presence of the Internet cafes in the country means the actual Internet users in the country far exceeds the size of the registered Internet accounts. The Arab Advisors Group believes that Internet users in Morocco were 300,000 in 2002, a penetration rate of 1%.

Broadband ADSL service is ADSL is set to be launched this year, which is much later than most Arab markets. Maroc Télécom is currently conducting trials and other ISPs are invited to share with the trials for the launch of the service. "While the Internet and datacomm situation is far from flattering in Morocco, The government is directing its efforts to the development of the Information, Communications and Technology sectors (ICT) in the country. Within its plan for the enhancement of the ICT sector the government is focusing on five key themes: Education, Governance, Private sector development, E-commerce and Access. These themes formed the basis for the Moroccan national strategy for IT development and was called e-Maroc plan." Ms. Baqain commented.