Morocco's organised food retailing industry is relatively well developed compared to most markets in North Africa. However, comparisons with the likes of Egypt, Algeria and Libya are not too challenging and in wider terms, Morocco's food retailing sector still has a long way to go in the process of formalisation . In 201 2 , we estimate food retailing sales to have been about US$800mn, which is still fairly small for a country with a population of about 32mn. Given Morocco's relative wealth with a per capita GDP close to US$3,000, we believe there is a lot of room for growth. What is more, as one of the region's most politically stable countries, Morocco has had little trouble attracting foreign direct investment into its food and drink industry with some notable events taking place in 2012. We see this rising to US$1.2bn by 2017, which would represent a compound annual growth rate of 7.9%.
Morocco's potential both in terms of its own market and as a base to target the wider North Africa region has been in evidence over the past year or so. Danone and Kraft Foods have made acquisitions total ling close to US$1bn this year while in retail, the French company Casino announced plans in 2012 to expand through its subsidiary, Monoprix , with around 15 stores expected to be launched by 2015.
Across North Africa, the majority of the region's retail markets are fragmented and most outlets remain independent family-run stores, offer ing convenience and geographical proximity to customers, a s well as extensive product ranges. However, as we have seen following deal activity by Danone and Kraft, and with Casino now intent on expanding, North Africa and specifically Morocco is definitely of major interest to multina tional food and drink companies.