Morocco Business Etiquette

by Cate Rushton; Updated September 26, 2017
Rabat, Morocco

Morocco is a traditional country with specific codes of conduct that are important to be aware of when conducting business there. The majority of the population is Muslim and Arabic is the official language. International travelers are welcome in Morocco, but sensitivity to Muslim religious tenets is a must. Before traveling, become familiar with Islam and some of the cultural norms of the society.

Meetings

Make appointments as much as one month in advance; call to confirm before traveling.

Be prompt for your appointment, but realize that your hosts may be late.

Be prepared for your meeting to be interrupted; business is conducted differently in Morocco. Associates often interrupt meetings to discuss other matters. Wait patiently, then resume where you left off.

Relationship-building is important when doing business in Morocco; businesses prefer to form long-term partnerships rather than quick contracts.

Take care not to embarrass or catch your Moroccan client unaware of important issues. Socially, this can cause your client to lose respect among his colleagues.

Your final contract may be viewed as negotiable; Moroccans love to negotiate even after signing a deal.

Decisions are deliberate and slow in Morocco. Do not try to push or play hard ball; this will be seen as very rude.

Try to work meeting times around prayer times; there are five prayers per day and times are typically listed in the local newspaper.

French is the common language used for business. Bring a translator along if necessary.

Dress and Appearance

Business meetings are formal. Wear a conservative, dark-colored suit and tie.

Women should be careful to dress appropriately with knees covered and long-sleeves. A business suit, dress or slacks and jacket are standard.

Refrain from wearing expensive or flashy jewelry.

Dress in tasteful, well-made clothing that is immaculate; shine shoes before meetings. Appearance is important to Moroccans, but you do not want to appear ostentatious.

Dining

If you are invited to a client's home, remove your shoes upon entering. Dress formally as this will denote respect. Do not automatically assume that an invitation will include a spouse; traditional Moroccans may not entertain men and women at the same table.

Bring a small gift to your client's home, but do not bring alcohol.

You will cleanse your hands at a washing basin brought to the table. A towel is provided for drying.

Your host will offer a blessing on the food and begin to eat, at which point you may eat as well.

Eat and drink with your right hand only, and do not wipe hands on your napkin.

You will drink water from a glass shared with the rest of the diners at the table.

About the Author

Cate Rushton has been a freelance writer since 1999, specializing in wildlife and outdoor activities. Her published works also cover relationships, gardening and travel on various websites. Rushton holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Utah.