Economy of Morocco
Morocco's market economy benefits from the country's relatively low labour costs and proximity to Europe, which aid key areas of the economy such as agriculture, light manufacturing, tourism, and remittances. Morocco is also the world's largest exporter of phosphate, which has long provided a source of export earnings and economic stability. Economic policies pursued since 2003 have brought macroeconomic stability to the country with generally low inflation, improved financial performance, and steady progress in developing the service and industrial sectors. However, poverty, illiteracy, and unemployment rates remain high.
France has played a major part in Morocco’s economy since it was the country's first foreign investor, creditor and most importantly the first trade partner. Many agreements have since taken place with other countries, the latest two being the ‘US-Morocco Free Trade Agreement’ with the USA, which came into being on 1 January 2006, and the ‘free exchange’ with Turkey. Over the last 50 years Morocco has continued to grow, with its GDP per capita rising to 47% in the 60s and, just ten years later, peaking to a massive 274%. Unfortunately a massive change in trend caused it to recess to just 8.9% by the nineties.
In recent years, Morocco's economy has been expanding thanks to free trade deals with international partners, but unemployment remains an issue - especially for graduates.
Although Morocco’s economic performance over the past decade has been sound overall, the crisis in Europe, high world commodity prices, and a poor harvest slowed growth in 2012 and put pressures on the fiscal and external accounts.
According to Moroccan Economy and Finance Minister, Morocco is feeling the effects of the world economic crisis after years of trying to keep out of it. The new problems include a decrease in liquidity, deteriorating trade figures, and a decline in remittances from Moroccans working abroad.
Nevertheless, thanks to recent economic reforms, Morocco has improved its overall competitiveness, according to a new report from the World Economic Forum. The Geneva-based organization ranked Morocco 70th in a list of 140 countries, an improvement from 75th place in 2010.
The report indicates that Morocco improved its standing by improving its business climate, standard of living, sustainable economic growth, and foreign investment. In addition to being ranked 70th globally, it was ranked 9th in the MENA region and 2nd in the Southern Mediterranean.
Morocco performed especially well in the area of tourism, ranking 26th globally due to its impressive investment plans to expand the sector. If it plans correctly, the Forum believes Morocco could achieve its goal of becoming a top 20 tourist destination.
Morocco continues to face external risks linked to uncertainties in the euro zone and volatility of oil prices.
Area: 710,850 sq km, this including the Western Sahara.
Population: 32,649,130 (2012 est.)
Principal Towns: Casablanca, Marrakesh, Tangiers, Fez, Meknes, Tetouan, Oujada.
Languages: Arabic is the official language, but French is widely used while some Spanish is still spoken in the north. There is also a larger Berber-speaking minority.
Gross Domestic Product: $97.2 billion (2012 est.)
GDP per capita: $2977 (2012)
International Reserves: $18.4 billion (2012)
Climate: Morocco has, essentially, a Mediterranean climate, but with marked variations from one year to the next -- as a result agricultural production can vary considerably.
Winters are generally mild with an average temperature of 10 degrees C in the coastal regions but below 5 degrees C in the mountains in the interior. Summers are hot, even in the mountains, with an average temperature of over 20 degrees C, sometimes topping 30 degrees C, especially in the south.
Currency: $1 = 8.51 Moroccan Dirham (MAD)
Age Distribution (2012 est.)
0-14 years: 27.1%
15-24 years: 18%
25-54 years: 41.7%
55-64 years: 7%
65 years and over: 6.3%
Population Growth (2012 est.) 1.1%
Education: 56.1% of the total population age 15 and over can read and write (2009).
Minerals: Phosphates, iron ore, manganese, lead, zinc, fish, salt
Independence Day, 18 November
Diplomatic representation of Morocco to Switzerland