Africa Report 19.10.2021

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The Kingdom of MOROCCO : Economic Perspectives

Before the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Moroccan economy has been characterised by:

  • Macroeconomic stability
  • Low level of inflation
  • High level of exports
  • Boom in Private investment and Tourism

The Pandemic pushed the country’s economy into its first recession since 1995. In 2020, GDP reached a negative rate of 7%.

The Extractive industry is the only industry which increased in value added. The IMF expects GDP growth to rebound to 4.5% in 2021 and 3.9% in 2022.

  • The Primary sector accounts for 2% of the country’s GDP and employs up to 33.3% of the workforce. The main crops of the country are Barley, wheat, citrus fruits, grapes, vegetables, argan, olives, cattle, and wine. Moroccan economy relies on this sector, the 2021 budget forecasts 14% increase for Agriculture (14.8 billion Dirhams).
  • The Industrial Sector contributes to 7% of GDP and barely employs 23.2% of the working population. The country’s industrial sectors are mainly export oriented: textile, leather, food processing, petroleum refining and electronic. New sectors are booming chemicals, vehicle parts, IT and aerospace industry. Phosphates are the country’s main source of wealth. Morocco is the main automobile hub of Africa.
  • The Tertiary Sector contributes to 2% of GDP and employs about 43.7% of the total working population. It is driven by real estate and Tourism (11% of GDP, nearly 13 million arrivals in 2019. The pandemic crisis caused the Moroccan tourism sector a loss of 18.2 billion dirhams (around USD 2 billion) from January to August 2020.

With more than 36 million inhabitants, the 11th most populous country in Africa, Morocco is the continent’s 5th richest country with an estimated GDP of USD 113.55 Billion in 2020. Unemployment rate increased to 11.9% in 2020 (9.2% in 2019) pushed by the pandemic. It’s expected to decrease to 10.5% in 2021 and 9.7% in 2022. Unemployment particularly affects young people; the 15-24 years are touched by a 26% unemployment rate. 15% of the population in the Mediterranean region live below the poverty line.

Population (2021 UNFPA)4.3 million inhabitants
GDP / Capita USD (2020, IMF)USD 654
HDI (2020, UNDP)175th over 190
Doing Business (2020 World Bank rank) 175th over 190
Corruption Perceptions Index 2020137th over 180
Unemployment rate (World Bank 2020)3.3%

On a Demographic point on view, 99% of the population are Sunni Muslims of the Maliki rite, 1% are Christians and Jews. Density is at 79 inhabitants per Km², and literacy rate reaches 73.8% of the population.

On a Political point on view, the Kingdom of Morocco is a monarchy. King Mohammed VI was enthroned on July 30, 1999. In the last legislative elections in October 2016, the Justice and Development Party (PJD), conservative with Islamist references) came first with 32% of the vote, giving it 128 of the 395 seats. The next parliamentary elections will take place on the fall of 2021.

On an Economical point of view, current spending on health and social protection to offset the effects of the pandemic, has obviously increased, halting the government efforts to reducing public spending. Budget deficit was estimated to 5.3% in 2020 and is expected to remain stable at 5.5% in 2021 and 5.2% in 2022. Besides, debt-to-GDP ratio climbed to 76.1% in 2020 (vs 65.2% in 2019) and it is expected to remain stable in a couple years (77.1% in 2021 and 77.4% in 2022). The government has implemented a strategic investment fund of USD 4.8 Billion, to help businesses and individuals recover from the impact of the Covid-19: a support for people working in informal sector and a partial guarantee to banks for loans to businesses.

Economic Indicators201820192020 2021e 2022e
GDP ($ Billion current price)3.263.183.073.113.25
GDP growth (%)1.2-2.5-3.03,24.1
Inflation rate (%)23.527.01710.915.2
Public debt (% GDP)39.453.361.863.664.2
Current balance (% GDP)-22.5-21.5-21.4-21.6-21.9

 

Central bank of Morocco (Bank AL-Maghrib)

In 2020, a reduction in the benchmark interest rate of the Central Bank by 75 basis points was set set. It represented a historically low level of 1.5%. The monetary authorities injected, directly, liquidity into the financial system. Those measures helped maintain Inflation to a moderate level of 0.6%. In the coming years, Inflation is expected to increase slightly at 0.8% in 2021 and 1.2% in 2022 (IMF).

Below are detailed the key figures from the monetary policy report (October 13, 2021 board meeting)

 

Focus on Exports and Imports

In 2019, Morocco was the number 58th economy in the world in terms of GDP (current US$), the 62nd exporter in the world and 53rd importer in the world. The country exported USD 32.9 Billion and imported USD 49.2 Billion, resulting in a negative trade balance of USD 9.3 Billion. Mixed Mineral or Chemical Fertilizers ($2.71B), Phosphoric Acid ($1.48B) and Non-Knit Women’s Suits ($1.39B). Morocco exports mostly to Spain ($7.43B), France ($6.39B), Italy ($1.42B), United States ($1.38B), and Germany ($1.2B).

The top imports are Refined Petroleum ($4.56B), Cars ($2.05B), Vehicle Parts ($1.31B), Petroleum Gas ($1.28B) and Coal Briquettes ($1.1B). It imports mostly from Spain ($9.28B), France ($5.42B), China ($4.47B), United States ($3.47B) and Germany ($2.57B).

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