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In this page: Economic Outline | Political Outline | COVID-19 Country Response

 

Economic Outline

Economic Overview

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

In recent years, the Moroccan economy has been characterised by macro-economic stability and low levels of inflation, relying mostly on exports, a boom in private investment and tourism. However, the COVID-19 shock has pushed the Moroccan economy into its first recession since 1995. The country’s economy rebounded in 2021 when it grew an estimated 5.7% thanks to a base effect and an extraordinary performance of the agricultural sector, rather than by a broad-based acceleration of economic activity (the service sector was still weak, pulled by the underperformance of Morocco’s relatively large tourism industry). GDP is expected to return to its pre-pandemic level by 2022, with the IMF forecasting growth of 3.1% this year and 3.7% in 2023, albeit this baseline scenario is subject to high uncertainty especially due to the ongoing global sanitary crisis, which prompted the closure of the country’s borders at the end of 2021.

Current expenditure on health and social protection saw a sharp increase in order to counterbalance the effects of the pandemic, thus halting the fiscal consolidation efforts undertaken by the national government in recent years. The budget deficit was estimated at 5.6% in 2021, and it is projected to decrease marginally to 5.3% this year and 4.9% in 2023, respectively, as a result of the GDP rebound. Similarly, the debt-to-GDP ratio climbed to 75.8% in 2021 (from a pre-pandemic level of 65.1%), and is expected to remain substantially stable around 76.6% over the forecast horizon (IMF). In order to support enterprises and individuals recovering from the impact of the coronavirus, the government set up a strategic investment fund worth USD 4.8 billion, as well as other measures to help people working in the informal sector, the issuance of partial guarantees to banks for loans granted to firms, a reduction in the Central Bank’s benchmark interest rate by 75 basis points (to a historically low 1.5%), and direct injections of liquidity into the financial system. Furthermore, the country secured good access to external finance, with large multilateral disbursements and two successful sovereign bond sales that reinforced foreign reserves. Inflation picked up to 1.4% in 2021 amid rising global energy prices and should decrease only slightly in 2022 before accelerating again the following year (1.2% and 1.6% - IMF).

Albeit its high levels, the unemployment rate had been declining in recent years; however, the spread of the pandemic prompted a surge, with unemployment estimated at 12% at the end of 2021 (from 10.2% before the pandemic), despite the government’s effort to support the economy. In a very unstable global context, the IMF forecasts the unemployment rate to gradually decrease to 11.5% this year and 11% in 2023. According to the Moroccan Higher Planning Commission, unemployment particularly affects the youth (15-24 years of age – at 26%) and recent graduates. The rate of poverty remains one of the highest in the Mediterranean region, with 15% of the population living under the poverty line.

 
Main Indicators 201920202021 (e)2022 (e)2023 (e)
GDP (billions USD) 119.87e114.60e126.04132.65140.72
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) 2.6e-6.3e5.73.13.7
GDP per Capita (USD) 3,368e3,188e3,4713,6173,801
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) -3.8-5.3e-5.6-5.3-4.9
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 65.175.4e75.876.676.6
Inflation Rate (%) 0.20.6e1.44.42.3
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labour Force) 10.2e12.2e12.011.511.0
Current Account (billions USD) -4.41-1.68e-3.87-4.32-5.38
Current Account (in % of GDP) -3.7-1.5e-3.1-3.3-3.8

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database, October 2021

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 

Main Sectors of Industry

Given the richness of Morocco's soil, the economy is dominated by the agricultural sector, which employs nearly 33.2% of the workforce and contributes to 11.7% of GDP (World Bank, latest data available). Barley, wheat, citrus fruits, grapes, vegetables, argan, olives, livestock and wine are the country's main crops. In recent years, the government has focused on this sector, through its "Green Morocco Plan" and the Agricultural Development Fund. The sector performed well in 2021: according to official sources, 2021 wheat production was estimated at almost 7.2 million tonnes, about 50% above the average and almost three times more than the drought stricken harvest in 2020; barley output in 2021 is estimated at 2.6 million tonnes, almost four times the amount harvested in the previous year; at 10 million tonnes, the 2021 cereal production exceeded the five year average by more than 60%. The country’s cereal production is highly variable, with local dams providing irrigation for only 15% of the agricultural land and rainfed agricultural production accounting for 85% of the aggregate output (FAO).

Morocco has a relatively small amount of mineral resources, phosphates being its main source of wealth. Industry contributes 26.1% of the GDP and employs 23% of the workforce. The main sectors are textiles, leather goods, food processing, oil refining, and electronic assembly. However, new sectors have been booming: chemistry, automotive parts, computers, electronics and the aerospace industry. The automotive industry, in particular, has been growing in the last decade, with double-digit annual growth in terms of job creation and exports (becoming the country’s main exporting sector and Africa’s main automotive hub). The emergence of new industries should allow the country to reduce its dependence on the agricultural sector. Morocco’s industrial sector is the largest beneficiary of foreign direct investment.

The services sector accounts for slightly above half of GDP and gives employment to 43.6% of the workforce. It is spearheaded by real estate and tourism, which has been very dynamic in recent years (accounting for around 11% of GDP and hitting a record of nearly 13 million arrivals in 2019). Nevertheless, tertiary activities recorded a downward trend following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a particularly weak tourism performance: according to the latest official figures, in the first eight months of 2021, the number of tourism revenues decreased by 61.5% compared to the same period in 2019.

 
Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 33.3 23.1 43.7
Value Added (in % of GDP) 12.2 25.3 51.2
Value Added (Annual % Change) -7.0 -5.6 -7.4

Source: World Bank, Latest available data.

 

Find more information about your business sector on our service Market reports.

Indicator of Economic Freedom

Definition:

The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labour freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.

Score:
63,3/100
World Rank:
81
Regional Rank:
9

Economic freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Index of Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation

 

Business environment ranking

Definition:

The business rankings model measures the quality or attractiveness of the business environment in the 82 countries covered by The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Country Forecast reports. It examines ten separate criteria or categories, covering the political environment, the macroeconomic environment, market opportunities, policy towards free enterprise and competition, policy towards foreign investment, foreign trade and exchange controls, taxes, financing, the labour market and infrastructure.

Score:
5.48/10
World Rank:
61/82

Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit - Business Environment Rankings 2020-2024

 

Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.

 

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Political Outline

Current Political Leaders
King: MOHAMED VI (since 30 July 1999) - hereditary
Prime Minister: Saad-Eddine al-Othmani (since 17 March 2017) - Party of Justice and Development
Next Election Dates
House of Representatives: September 2026
House of Councillors: October 2027
Current Political Context
The popularity of King Mohammed VI remained untouched by the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic crisis that followed.
The King appointed a new government comprising a coalition of liberal and conservative parties, led by Aziz Akhannouch, after the victory of his National Rally of Independents (RNI) party in the general elections that were held in September 2021, which revealed the collapse of the Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD) that had led the government over the previous two legislative terms.
A new coalition government was thus formed by the liberal RNI and Authenticity and Modernity (PAM) parties together with the conservative Istiqlal. The three parties together secured a comfortable majority, holding 270 seats compared to the 198 needed to pass legislation, announcing a shared common platform focusing on economic and social reforms. The new coalition government’s 2022 budget focused on employment creation measures and an extension of social programmes.
The dispute with the Polisario Front, which is seeking independence for Western Sahara, remains one of Morocco's main political challenges.
Main Political Parties
Multi-party system, consisting of numerous parties. Parties work with each other to form coalition governments.

- National Rally of Independents (RNI): centrist, relatively inclined towards social liberalism. Was the leading party in the last elections
- Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM): modernist and reform-oriented, formed by an advisor to the King and former Interior Minister
- "Istiqlal" Independence Party (PI): conservative nationalist
- Socialist Union of Popular Forces (USFP): left-wing socialist
- People's Movement (MP): centrist, dominated by Berber (Tamazight) speakers, but without a distinct Berber agenda
- Constitutional Union (UC): economically liberal, conservative on societal matters
- Party of Progress and Socialism (PPS): socialist, formerly communist
- Justice and Development Party (PJD): moderate Islamist, heads the ruling coalition
Type of State
Morocco is a Constitutional Monarchy Kingdom with an elected parliament.
Executive Power
The executive power is shared between the government and the King. The Prime Minister is promoted to head of government and as such presides over the Governing Council, but the Council of Ministers continues to be chaired by the King. The Government Council consists of all the ministers, deputy ministers and other Secretaries of State. It discusses public and sectoral policies, the commitment of the government's responsibility to the House of Representatives, current issues related to human rights and public order, bills, decrees, draft regulatory decrees and the appointment of secretaries and central directors of the public administration, university presidents, deans and directors of schools and higher institutes. The Governing Council only has deliberative power concerning the general policy of the State, international conventions, and the finance bill. The Council of Ministers, where only the head of government and the ministers sit, is responsible for the strategic direction of the state policy, the revision of the Constitution, draft organic laws, general guidance of the finance bill, amnesty, draft texts related to the military, the declaration of a state of siege, the declaration of war.
Legislative Power
The Parliament comprises the House of Representatives (395 deputies elected by universal direct suffrage for 5 years) and the House of Councillors (120 members elected by indirect universal suffrage for 6 years).
The Parliament votes the law; any bill must be successively examined by the two Houses. It moreover shares the initiative of the laws with the Prime Minister.
 

Indicator of Freedom of the Press

Definition:

The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:
136/180

Source: World Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders

 

Indicator of Political Freedom

Definition:

The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Ranking:
Partly Free
Political Freedom:
5/7
Civil Liberties:
5/7

Political freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Freedom in the World Report, Freedom House

 

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COVID-19 Country Response

COVID-19 epidemic evolution

To find out about the latest status of the COVID-19 pandemic evolution and the most up-to-date statistics on the COVID-19 disease in Morocco, consult the official governmental portal CovidMaroc (in French and Arabic), which also provides data about the geographical distribution of the epidemic. For daily updates on the situation, visit the website of the Moroccan Press Agency (MAP – in French). 
For the international outlook you can consult the latest
situation reports published by the World Health Organisation as well as the global daily statistics on the coronavirus pandemic evolution including data on confirmed cases and deaths by country.

Sanitary measures

To find out about the latest public health situation in Morocco and the current sanitary measures in vigour, please consult the official government platform CovidMaroc's dedicated pages (in French and Arabic). Further information can be sought on the website of the Ministry of Health (in French and Arabic). Further details in English are available here.

Travel restrictions

The COVID-19 situation, including the spread of new variants, evolves rapidly and differs from country to country. All travelers need to pay close attention to the conditions at their destination before traveling. Regularly updated information for all countries with regards to Covid-19 related travel restrictions in place including entry regulations, flight bans, test requirements and quarantine is available on TravelDoc Infopage.
It is also highly recommended to consult COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map provided and updated on the daily basis by IATA.
The US government website of Centers of Disease Control and Prevention provides COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Destination.
The UK Foreign travel advice also provides travelling abroad advice for all countries, including the latest information on coronavirus, safety and security, entry requirements and travel warnings.

Import & export restrictions

For the up-to-date information on all the measures applicable to movement of goods during the period of sanitary emergency due to the COVID-19 outbreak (including eventual restrictions on imports and exports, if applicable), please consult the website of the Moroccan Customs.
For a general overview of trade restrictions due to COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the section dedicated to Morocco on the
International Trade Centre's COVID-19 Temporary Trade Measures webpage.

Economic recovery plan
To consult a list of the economic measures put in place by the Moroccan government to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the national economy, please visit the dedicated pages on the website of the Ministry of Economy and Finance (in French and Arabic). The portal of the Moroccan Ministry of Interior provides information about the support packages for families working in the informal sector affected by the epidemic (in Arabic). For a summary in English of the economic and fiscal measures in vigour, refer to the website of KPMG.
For the general overview of the key economic policy responses to the COVID-19 outbreak (fiscal, monetary and macroeconomic) taken by the Moroccan government to limit the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the section dedicated to Morocco in the IMF’s Policy Tracker platform.
Support plan for businesses

For the information on the local business support scheme established by the Moroccan government to help small and medium-sized companies to deal with the economic impacts of the COVID-19 epidemic on their activity, please consult the portal of the Ministry of Economy and Finance (in French and Arabic). The website of the Customs and Indirect Taxes Administration provides additional information (in French).
For a summary in English of the economic and business measures adopted, refer to the website of KPMG.
For a general overview of international SME support policy responses to the COVID-19 outbreak refer to the OECD's
SME Covid-19 Policy Responses document. You can also consult the World Bank's Map of SME-Support Measures in Response to COVID-19.

Support plan for exporters

For the up-to-date information on possible support plans for exporters in Morocco, if applicable, please consult the website of the Ministry of Economy and Finance (in French and Arabic) and that of the national Investment and Trade Agency.

 

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Latest update: June 2022

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