Information on Morocco

Morocco is located in the north-west of Africa, with a population of nearly 32 million and a surface area of 710,850 square kilometers. Its capital is Rabat; other major cities are Casablanca (the Economic Capital), Marrakech, Agadir, Fes and Tangier.

Morocco is bordered by the Atlantic Coast to the west, Spain, the Strait of Gibraltar and the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Algeria to the east and Mauritania to the south via its Western Sahara territories.

Morocco has a political system of a constitutional monarchy; the actual sovereign is His Majesty the King Mohamed VI. Morocco is a member of the Arab League, the Arab Maghreb Union, the French-speaking world and the Organization of the Islamic Conference. Morocco looks for strengthening its relations with the European Union. In 2008, it was granted an “advanced status” with the European Union. On 15th May 2009, Morocco has joined the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe.

Morocco is the fifth economic power in Africa. It is the second North African economic power, after Algeria. In 2008, the growth rate of Morocco reached 6.5% approximately.

Morocco has an important Gross Domestic Product (GDP) compared with other African countries. In 2008, it was around $ 85.2 billion, so be 9% of the total Gross Domestic Product of the continent.  Morocco is called on to consolidate this point, taking into account an annual average growth of 8% since the accession to the throne of His Majesty the King Mohamed VI in 1999. However, this growth remains variable and volatile as it is dependent on the results of the agricultural season. In fact, it is this characteristic, which has allowed Morocco to benefit from a considerable growth in 2009 due to the uncommon rainfalls that beat down on Morocco during winter 2008 / 2009.

The proximity of Morocco to the European Continent has been beneficial to the national economy insomuch as the latter has largely taken advantage of the numerous relocations carried out by foreign companies. Since the early 2000s, Morocco implemented an attractive tax policy in terms of offshoring. In 2008, the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development placed the Kingdom of Morocco in the third position as regards the increase in the creation of jobs in the offshoring sector, after Estonia and China. The example of Call centres is a case in point. We may also refer to aeronautics.

Morocco has always known how to benefit from its double coastal location. Moreover, the carrying out of Tangier - Med project has undeniably constituted a turning point as far as the maritime policy is concerned. Built between Tangier and Ceuta, the port is located at 15 km from the continental Spain. In 2012, this port complex should be able to deal with 8 millions containers, which will make from it the biggest African port in terms of the transport of goods. The adjacent free zone should, among other things, accommodate the new factory of Renault.

The economic system of Morocco presents several facets. It is characterized by a large opening towards the outside world. As far as Trade is concerned, France remains the main partner of Morocco. France is also the main creditor and foreign investor in Morocco.

Since the early 1980s, the Moroccan government has followed an economic program, aiming to accelerate the economy growth with the support of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the Paris Club of creditors. The reforms of the financial sector have been implemented and state enterprises are being privatized.

The economy of Morocco is considered a relatively liberal economy, governed by the law of supply and demand. Since 1993, the country has adopted a policy of privatization of some economic sectors as well as an economic policy, based on the modernization of the Economy. The main free trade agreements, ratified between Morocco and its economic Partners are:

  • The Euro-Mediterranean agreement with the European Union, whose objective is to integrate the European Free Trade Association on the horizon of 2012
  • The Agadir agreement, signed with Egypt, Jordan, and Tunisia, within the scope of the installment of the Greater Arab Free Trade Area
  • The US-Morocco agreement with the  United States, which came into force on the 1st January 2006
  • And lately the free trade agreement with Turkey

Government reforms and steady yearly growth of 4-5% from 2000 to 2007, have promoted the development of various sectors of activity. Moroccan Economy has become more and more diversified, with the development of new services and industrial poles, like Casablanca and Tangier.

The major resources of the Moroccan economy are tourism, fishing, agriculture, phosphates, textiles and telecommunications. Tourism plays an important part since independence. Export of sea products is important as well. Mining industry contributes to about one-third of the annual gross domestic product. Morocco is the world's third-largest producer of phosphates (after the United States and China); however, prices’ fluctuations of phosphates on the international market have a great impact on Morocco economy.

The production in textiles and clothing is booming. This sector accounted for approximately 34% of total exports in 2002, employing 40% of the industrial labour. The government expresses great interest in increasing the textiles and clothing exports from $1.27 billion in 2001 to $3.29 billion in 2010.

Agriculture plays also an essential role in the development of the Moroccan economy. In 1999, nearly half of the workforce was employed in this sector, which represents 18% of the gross domestic profit of Morocco. It is to be pointed out that the rehabilitation of the agricultural sector, combined with a positive rainfall rate, have led to a growth of over 20% in 2009.

Financially speaking, it goes without saying that despite the actual counter-performances, resulting from the financial crisis of 2008, the stock exchange of Casablanca reinforces its status of the second position in the African stock-market, after Johannesburg and Cairo.