Cultural and creative industries

The culture policy of the Government of Morocco is to facilitate access to culture and to sustain artistic creation, while also developing and reinforcing the teaching of arts and culture. Cultural and creative industries are often represented by leading sectors such as textiles, leather and handicrafts. These benefit from strong support from the private sector, which allowed the country to become a source of textile and leather production. These companies, however, need to regroup and become more competitive. Handicrafts in Morocco benefit from a very rich cultural background and old traditions, but the sector remains largely dominated by mono-artisans and an informal economy. Furthermore, the diversity of clusters indicates that Morocco has the potential to improve its presence on national and international markets despite facing important challenges, such as a limited export capacity and the necessity to integrate informal workers. In 2007, the Ministry of Craft and Social Economy established “Vision 2015”, a strategic development programme to develop the handicraft sector. Deriving from this vision, the Ministry developed regional handicrafts development plans to support artisans and small and medium-sized enterprises. At the operational level, the Ministry is active in each region or city with the handicrafts regional delegation and with chambers of handicrafts. Concurrently, the Ministry is implementing a National Moroccan Handicraft Label to preserve values and the professional environment.


Existing cluster framework and cluster programmes

The first step towards creating a cluster policy in Morocco could be argued to be the introduction of the concept of “Système Productif Localisé ” (SPL), which mainly focused on industrial sectors. Thereafter, the government designed what would progressively become the national cluster policy: in 2006, the Emergence Plan gave a first strong orientation for the most important industrial sectors — such as automotive and aeronautics — and their respective industrial platforms. In 2009, the government implemented the “Initiative Maroc Innovation” strategy to strengthen cooperation between public research entities and industry, implement the Moroccan offer for innovating products and services and promote financial mechanisms to strengthen innovation. The initiative produced three pilot projects dedicated to information and communications technology, microelectronics, electronics and mechatronics. In 2010, a process was set up in order to identify potential cluster projects in accordance with national development strategies, develop a roadmap for cluster development based on best practices at the international level and develop specifications for cluster selection. The process is led by the Ministry of Industry, Trade, Investment and the Digital Economy. Until now, nine clusters were selected and integrated into the national cluster policy programme.


Potential clusters in cultural and creative industries

The cluster realities identified relate to handicrafts (15 clusters), textile and leather (four clusters), construction (two clusters) and culture (one cluster), which are:

  • Carpets in Rabat
  • Ceramic building material in Casablanca
  • Ceramic and pottery decoration in Salé
  • Cinema in Ouarzazate
  • Copperware in Fes
  • Copperware in Marrakesh
  • Decoration and furniture in Fes
  • Decoration and furniture in Marrakesh
  • Decoration in Casablanca and Kénitra
  • Decoration in Tétouan and Tanger
  • Denim textile in Casablanca
  • Furniture in Casablanca
  • Home textile in Casablanca and Rabat
  • Leather in Marrakesh
  • Marble in Kénitra-El Jadida
  • Pottery in Safi
  • Shoes and leather goods in Casablanca
  • Shoes and leather goods in Fes
  • Silver jewellery in Tiznit
  • Wood decoration (marquetry) in Essaouira
  • Zellige ceramic in Fes


Other economic realities in cultural and creative industries
  • Publishing: production is in steady decline, with no more than 20 editors and four to five distribution companies for 100 bookstores nationwide; the limited critical mass does not allow for a cluster
  • Audio-visual, multimedia and videogames: Maroc Numeric Cluster is dedicated to the development of mobile solutions and services, which lie outside of the scope of cultural and creative industries (CCIs). Fields within CCIs have a promising potential for growth but, as a result of their limited critical mass, cannot be considered a cluster
  • Music: while the Moroccan music scene is very lively, there is not a complete value chain that would allow the development of a cluster
  • Performing arts: no cluster reality has been identified since not all the value chain is covered and there is no geographical concentration
  • Visual arts: no cluster reality has been identified in this segment as it does not fulfil the five cluster criteria
  • Heritage management: a new institution dedicated to national museums — the National Foundation for Museums — has been created but no cluster reality has been identified in this sector
  • Advertising: advertising agencies are service providers that do not, at this stage, participate in a cluster
  • Architecture: there are 3,500 to 4,000 architects but no formal cluster as architects tend to group for specific projects only
  • Handicrafts: other realities have also been detected but they lack critical mass, have a limited coverage of the value chain and focus on the local demand; these include basketry in the Eastern and Rif region, ceramic and palm tree products in the Drâa Valley, pottery in Oued Laou, rural carpets in the Atlas region and Sahara oasis products in Guelmin


The two selected clusters

Home textile cluster in Casablanca:

  • Sector: home textile for the living room segment in Casablanca
  • Strengths: the positioning adopted by the participating group reveals a strong link with one of the key elements of the Moroccan habitat: the living room. This choice increases the potential for differentiation and market access on a recognized niche and the strong connection to Moroccan cultural heritage. The desire to modernize home textiles while building on this heritage is undeniably attractive and strategic in terms of market access. Its potential economic impact is promising, its value chain strong and its vision and strategy relevant, structured and consistent with the proposed diagnosis
  • Weaknesses: the export ability of companies is currently limited: it is less than 10 per cent. In addition, it lacks information related to the management of environmental issues, especially since the textile sector can have important repercussions on the environment


    Interior design cluster in Marrakesh:

    • Sector: decoration and furniture in Marrakesh
    • Strengths: this cluster is characterized by the richness of the business segments it represents: furnishings and decoration (including crafts emblematic of the city of Marrakesh), leather work, brassware and ceramics among others. This strong historic link is accompanied by very good market recognition and a high potential for development. In addition, the strong desire to innovate in terms of design is reinforced by the city’s awareness of contemporary trends and by the presence of many local and foreign designers. The proposed strategic plan, although succinct, was nonetheless promising and ambitious. The will to re-conquer the export sector is undeniably an exciting challenge for this cluster
    • Weaknesses: no response was given on environmental management aspects. This needs to be addressed as some segments, such as the leather tanneries, are generating environmental issues. The social impact was not addressed in sufficient detail and in a robust way: at present this sector is strongly linked to small structures, informal workers and also to problematic knowledge sharing from the maâlems 


      For more information, please contact:

      Olivier Stoullig
      Programme Coordinator