Morocco/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and recent debates  

4.2.3 Cultural/creative industries: policies and programmes

The cultural industry mixes creativity with the production and marketing of cultural goods and services that represent or convey various forms of cultural expression regardless of their commercial value (according to the definition of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions adopted by UNESCO in 2005).

The cultural industry includes printing, music, film, audio-visual and multimedia production and may include some architecture, fine arts, performing arts and others.

Lack of structure and internal coordination are two of the most important structural problems facing the cultural industry in Morocco. The MoC does not possess any accurate statistics about the size and components of the private cultural sector. The private art sector's events are arranged without the MoC’s knowledge and cooperation. Arranging events requires the planner to submit an application to the concerned province authority rather than the MoC, which keeps no records of names or dates of private art exhibitions. Without laws to regulate dialogue between the MoC and the rest of the Moroccan cultural scene, a kind of legislative vacuum is created.

The following descriptions and expenditures represent all available information about different cultural sub-sectors in Morocco.

Film Industry:
According to film revenues for 2010, which were announced by the Moroccan Cinematographic Centre, Moroccan theatres - of which there are 46, containing 71 screens - brought in revenue of over MD 72.5 million, through the sale of 2.5 million tickets, compared to MD 68 million in 2009, 66 million in 2008, and 64 million in 2007. 

According to the same report, the Moroccan film industry shattered records for international participation in film festivals and awards obtained. Moroccan films were shown in 118 festivals in 2011, compared to 83 in 2010. Moroccan films won a total of 42 prizes in 18 festivals. 

There were more than 52 national cinematic exhibitions, and 74 national film convoys. 

The Moroccan film industry has made a significant leap, both in terms of quality and quantity. A report on the activities of the Moroccan Cinematographic Centre in 2011, indicates that Moroccan film production has grown from 15 films in 2009, to 19 films in 2010, and then 23 in 2011. 

In 2013, the total film records indicated that the Commission for supporting the organisation of film festivals and demonstrations had been granted around 27.525.000, 00 dirhams since its establishment on the 15 January, 2013, of which 48 film associations working in the cinema sector have benefited, in addition to a support centre to organize the 14 cycles of the Moroccan Film Festival and the 11 cycles of the Mediterranean Short Film Festival in Tangier.

With respect to the first cycle of the festival (March 2013), the Commission examined 32 support requests, and received offers from organisers of festivals and events, who presented their projects before the members of the Committee. The final decision was to support 30 festivals with an amount of 11.995.000,00 dirhams.

With respect to the second cycle of the festival (July 2013), the Commission examined 27 support requests, and received requests from organisers of festivals and events, who presented their projects to members of the Committee. The final decision was to support 20 festivals with an amount of $15.530.000,00 dirhams.

During 2013, Morocco also embraced shooting 21 long films, 4 short films, 6 television series, 73 documentary films as well as 30 promotional films and 382 television reportages. The invested amount in Morocco as a result of these productions reached 220.886.830, 00 dirhams.

With regard to the film revenue for years 2011, 2012, 2013, the following table shows the number of reserved tickets and the value of revenue in Moroccan dirhams:



Number of tickets

Income in Dirhams











 As for presentation of cinema conveys, that came within the framework of the Moroccan film policy that aimed at bringing cinema to its audience, particularly in the territories that lacked cinema halls on the one hand, and seeking to enrich programs of culture and artistic festivals organised all over the Kingdom on the other, reaching 70 rounds. Film festivals and events during the same year, reached 66 cinematic events held under the supervision of National Associations.

Also in 2013, Morocco presented 143 films at international cinematic events resulting in 55 awards.

In 2014, the Committee granted support to the organisation of film festivals and events. An amount of $16.935 Million dirhams was given as government support to be distributed between 24 festival events.

However, there is a paradox that lies in the serious decline of theatre venues. Most of the movie theatres in the country are deteriorating, they are dirty with obsolete projection systems and speakers, dilapidated seats and furniture, and they lack security. They receive regular vice-squad checks, and have turned into hotbeds for hasheesh and alcohol use.

Book Industry:
Authors do not generate an income in Morocco, most publishers proceed with this profession only motivated by their fondness of the world of books and hope for a better future.

The difficulties that inhibit the development of this profession are:

  • The rate of illiteracy is high (still at 45%); book prices (50 dirhams on average) only give the publisher 10% of sale price; a lack of libraries; points of sale where books, tobacco and newspapers are sold in the same place, which obstructs the proliferation and marketing professionalism.

  • Lack of a tradition of reading in Moroccan family life, with the absence or limited number of public and school libraries, in addition to libraries in deteriorating conditions or abandoned entirely.

  • Failure of the education system with limited educational books in school programs. The number of books for each individual is less than what is recommended by UNESCO (one book per person).

  • Continuous decline of readers visiting the library.

  • Difficult book sales with few books exceeding 2,000 copies in the best of cases, except for some rare best sellers. This does not provide an opportunity for new publication: (2009 version: 1545, 2010, 2028, 2011: 2103 version),?

  • Some publishers do not print more than 500 copies of a book which reflects badly on the profession and negatively affects book prices.

  • There is little effort made to give publishing a professional structure, often publishers are a family business with no specific publishing projects or organized professional structure (lack of reading committees, editors, press releases, publishers and disregard for copyrights, management, promotion and marketing.)  

  • Books do not always meet the aspirations of the readers, or may not be in line with the atmosphere, and diversity of the community.

These are the same conclusions researcher and poet Hasan Al-Wazani’s recently revealed in his published French study, “The Book Sector in Morocco: Status & Horizons”, which claimed that the economic impact of book publishing on the Moroccan economy is marginal relative to other industries.

According to the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Technology, in 2006 the printing and publication sector produced goods amounting to MD 2.63 billion through 24 publishing and 444 printing houses, adding MD 903 million to the economy. Despite this progress, in-sector growth remains very modest, compared with most other Moroccan industries. Book production represented just 1% of national growth in 2006; the same amount book publishers claimed as personal salary in 2006.

A recent Moroccan exchange office study revealed a deep discrepancy between book exports and imports. The total value of Morocco’s imports between 2005 and 2007 was approximately MD 12.81, 36 times the value of Morocco’s total exports for the same period. 70.84% of Morocco’s imported goods come from Europe, amounting to MD 902.5 million between 2005 and 2007. Imports from France and Spain amounted to MD 762.3 million—84.46% of total European imports to Morocco. It represents about 42 times Morocco’s exports to Europe. The sum of Moroccan exports was 42 times smaller than that of French and Spanish imports to Morocco—MD 18.3 million.

Recent campaigns to increase schoolbook publishing have strengthened Moroccan ties to France and Spain. Presses in the two countries have increased printing of Moroccan schoolbooks.

After France, Lebanon is the largest importer of Moroccan goods. Lebanon’s total exports between 2005 and 2007 reached about MD 216.8 million, 123 times Morocco’s MD 2.6 million in total exports to Lebanon. Lebanon’s exports of Arabic books constitute a major source of the country’s exports.

Morocco’s book exports between 2005 and 2007 were valued at MD 35.8 million. Europe imported MD 19.7 million in Moroccan books, 92% of which were imported by France. This trend is unsurprising, given that the majority of Moroccan books are written in French.

Africa is the second largest importer of Moroccan books. Imports between 2005 and 2007 reached MD 12.6 million, accounting for 28% of Morocco's overall exports. Africa’s interest in Moroccan books stems from Morocco’s low-cost printing capabilities relative to other African nations.  Consequently, some African states have contracted Moroccan printing houses to print their school or religious books. This is reflected in the export volume to Mali and Senegal, which reached MD 4.5 million and 2.2 million, respectively, compared to Morocco’s book exports to Egypt (MD 779 thousand).

The most deficient aspect of the Moroccan printing industry is distribution. There are two distribution systems in Morocco, professional and self-distribution. Most professional distribution consists of school texts, foreign books and printed matter, whereas private distribution is more varied.

Moroccan cultural development benefits from the support of various funds in the form of special budgetary accounts subsidised by the state:

  • A National Fund for Cultural Work [49] was created in 1982 (see paragraph 6.3.2 of chapter 6).
  • A Film Production Support Fund (Account) [48] was created in 1987 (see paragraph 6.3.3 of chapter 6).
  • An Audio-Visual Sector Advancement Fund [46] was created in 1996 and transformed later into an account named the Insurance Companies Solidarity Fund after the audio-visual sector became independent.

Chapter published: 05-05-2016