E-commerce boom: what challenges and issues for the sector?

The growth of digital – or all digital – was driven by the outbreak of the health crisis. With the massive use of new technologies, digital transformation appears to be one of the most powerful growth levers for the Moroccan economy. Public and private players have embarked on digital transformation strategies to be as close as possible client. E-commerce is therefore an integral part of these different strategies.

Ecommerce has seen tremendous growth over the last few years, with apps popping up everywhere. From now on, the Moroccan customer can have what he wants, when he wants and where he wants. How has e-commerce activity developed so far, what infrastructure has been implemented by national public actors to facilitate its growth, how has the private sector contributed to this growth and what are the challenges ahead? So many questions arise for a sector that has seen its activity boosted by the health crisis. But the development of e-commerce is not just two or three years old. Government and private initiatives have multiplied to ensure continuous growth, but within the rules of art.

The economic opportunities of e-commerce
E-commerce offers new opportunities in terms of economic growth and job creation, in addition to being an important factor for social inclusion. “It also helps small companies to access international markets more easily and create new sources of income”, tells us the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. This type of trade has seen spectacular growth in Morocco in recent years, with its turnover increasing from MAD 743 million (MDH) in 2012 to MAD 15 billion (MMDH) in 2021, registering an average annual growth of 40 %. It is true that this evolution was accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has contributed to raising the awareness of commerce and distribution agents, of different sizes, to the potential of e-commerce. This resulted in particular in the opening of online stores and the offer of a home delivery service.

Among the reasons that have made the sector show strong growth, there is also the support of the public power. Officials from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry explain, in this regard, that “Morocco has a favorable environment for the development of electronic commerce due to several factors, including a high Internet penetration rate (93% according to ANRT), the maintenance of increased bank access among the population and a new generation of consumers passionate about social networks and new technologies”.

A tailored regulatory framework
Morocco is, in fact, committed to creating the necessary conditions for the development of this sector, thus understanding the challenges and potential that electronic commerce offers to the national economy. This involves several concrete actions. The government has developed a comprehensive legal framework comprising a set of relevant laws that concern all aspects of e-commerce, in particular the Commercial Code, through Law No. 15-95, but also consumer protection, through the Law No. 31-08 of February 18, 2011 enacting consumer protection measures.

For the online payments component, Law No. 34-03 and Law No. 103-12, relating to credit institutions and equivalent entities, also regulate transactions (banking law). With regard to the protection of personal data, an important aspect in the success of electronic commerce, Law No. 09-08 of February 18, 2009 legislates the aspect of protecting natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data. Law No. 53-05 on the electronic exchange of legal data, in turn, ensures the electronic exchange of data. Offenses relating to automated data processing systems are also governed by Law No. 07-03 which complements the Penal Code and, finally, cybersecurity is regulated by Law No. 05-20.

Strengthening the digitalization of commerce
As part of the integration of traders on the digital platforms of national locomotives, the ministry established partnerships with three e-commerce locomotives in the Moroccan market, with a view to training independent traders in digital marketing and introducing them to this type of business.

Thus, Glovo, Jumia and more recently Avito have committed themselves to the three, to integrate 16,000 merchants into their online sales platforms to allow them to achieve an additional turnover of 15 to 20%. “The implementation of these three agreements should generate the creation of around 11,000 direct and indirect jobs by 2025”, confirms the supervising ministry.

With regard to training for innovation in e-commerce, the ministry created, in partnership with the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University and the OCP Foundation, the “Moroccan retail tech builder”, a platform for incubating and accelerating digital start-ups in the retail, for the emergence of national champions with high added value, and to encourage the development of innovative digital tools at the service of shopkeepers and consumers. According to ministry officials, “The purpose of this platform is to support a hundred project leaders, from the ideation phase to the acceleration phase, and thus promote the dissemination of innovative digital solutions. 🇧🇷

Sanae Raqui / ECO Inspirations

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