Morocco wants to lure back its citizens living abroad to reverse a brain drain and reduce poverty, but many say they have worked hard to carve out a life in Europe and to return would be a leap into the unknown.
The three million Moroccans living abroad represent around 10 per cent of the country's resident population and their money transfers are its biggest foreign currency source after tourism.
An official report early this year said
The government is turning to expatriates to help build the businesses that will create those jobs.
But many of those who fled unemployment in
Even those struggling in the European job market who feel discriminated against because of their origins say a return to
"It's already hard enough getting by in
The government is trying to boost sluggish economic growth by enacting investment-friendly reforms and making the banking sector more robust to cut lending rates.
High-value industrial exports are being nurtured with free trade deals and heavy transport infrastructure investment to reduce the economy's reliance on drought-prone agricultural.
While foreign investment in
Some 2.58 billion US dollar were repatriated in the first half of 2006, 24 per cent more than a year earlier, but most went to support families and build second homes.
Many Moroccans living abroad say they are put off starting a business by complex administrative procedures, the risk of long delays in getting the right documents, and a perception that you need powerful contacts in business and government.
"This reticence is linked to a totally outdated image," said Jelloul Samsseme, head of
At annual meet-and-greet events to coincide with the summer exodus to the motherland, officials try to convince Moroccans based abroad that setting up shop at home has never been easier.
Procedures are far simpler, interest rates have fallen and the state offers tax breaks and help buying land.
Nezha Chekrouni, the minister for Moroccans living abroad, said: "Yes, there are still many problems but we are doing our best to solve them.
"We hope to establish new instruments ... including an investment fund."
Tough for children
Kamal Lahsen, 35, grows lettuce in
"It's got easier to create a company and I think I could get financial help," he said. "Next year I'll try to get some money together and then - who knows?"
Builder Jawad, 35, remains to be convinced.
"My father had a business here building shop interiors but he went bankrupt and the reason was corruption," he said.