| Residents of Marrakech
have a reputation for kindness and humour, so it is unnecessary
to be too formal when doing business. In personal business communication,
plain speaking and a keenness to make eye contact are appreciated.
However, over-casualness can be considered as rudeness or laziness
so businesspeople should preserve a smart appearance, even though
suits are not expected when the weather is very hot. Appointments
for meetings should be made and, while promptness is appreciated
in Morocco, it is wise to allow some leeway regarding timing. |
Negotiations often involve a great deal of consultation and bargaining,
partly to build up a trusting relationship between the 2 parties.
A deal may take time, and brisk attempts to rush the process may
scupper the arrangement. Contrary to Western business dealings,
which are mostly conducted on a 1-to-1 level, visitors here should
expect to deal with a number of businesspeople connected to the
company. Although several executives speak English, French is the
preferred language of commerce in Marrakech.
normal business hours Monday to Friday from 8.30 am to 12.00 pm
and 2.30 pm to 6.30 pm. During Ramadan the hours are Monday to Friday
from 9.00 am to 3.00 pm.
The Moroccans are enormously hospitable people but do expect courtesy
from their guests. If invited to a Moroccan’s home, it is
traditional to take a small gift for the women (Western perfume
or a traditional food from abroad) and children. Refreshments will
always be offered, normally mint tea and it is impolite to refuse
and visitors should expect to be given up to 3 glasses.
In addition, hands should be washed before all
meals and, if food needs to be handled, you should only use your
right hand. Guests should not smoke, drink or eat
in public during Ramadan and, at other times of
the year, it is wise to be cautious and guided by the host. It is
always sensible to refrain from asking for alcohol if it is not
visible – the rules of hospitality would require the host
to provide it and this may be in conflict with their religious beliefs.
While Morocco is an Islamic nation, it is very broadminded by Middle
Eastern standards, so businesswomen should not feel overly intimidated
when working in the country, but are advised, however, to dress
conservatively and hemlines should unquestionably be below the knee.