View the information below regarding the economy of Morocco. The summary and statistics contains
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Morocco Country Page.
GDP (2002): $37.15 billion.
Per capita GDP: $1,255.
Natural resources: Phosphates, fish, manganese, lead, silver, copper.
Agriculture (14% of GDP): Products--wheat, barley, citrus fruits, vegetables, olives, livestock, and fishing.
Industry (32% of GDP): Types--phosphate mining, manufacturing and handicrafts, construction and public works, energy.
Trade (2002): Exports--$7.78 billion: food, beverages and tobacco 20.5%, semi processed goods 23.5%, consumer goods 37.3%. Major markets--EU 74.5%, India 4.2%, Japan 3.8%, U.S. 3.4%.
Imports--$11.73 billion: food, beverages and tobacco 11.8%, energy and lubricants 15.6%, capital goods 19.3%, semi-processed goods 22.0%, consumer goods 24.1%. Major suppliers--EU 49.4%, Saudi Arabia 5.9%, U.S. 3.4%.
Economy of Morocco
Macroeconomic stability coupled with relatively slow economic growth has characterized the Moroccan economy over the past several years. The Youssoufi government introduced a number of important economic reforms. The Jettou government continues to pursue reform, liberalization, and modernization aimed at stimulating growth and creating jobs. Employment, however, remains overly dependent on the agriculture sector, which is extremely vulnerable to inconsistent rainfall. Morocco's primary economic challenge is to accelerate growth in order to reduce high levels of unemployment and underemployment (currently at about 23%).
Through a foreign exchange rate anchor and well-managed monetary policy, Morocco has held inflation rates to industrial country levels over the past decade. Inflation in 2000 and 2001 were below 2.5%. Despite criticism among exporters that the dirham has become badly overvalued, the current account deficit remains modest. Foreign exchange reserves are strong, with more than $7 billion in reserves, the equivalent of 11 months of imports at the end of 2001. The combination of strong foreign exchange reserves and active external debt management gives Morocco ample capacity to service its debt. Current external debt stands at about $13.9 billion or about 30% of GDP.
Economic growth has been hampered by an over-reliance on the agriculture sector. Agriculture production is extremely susceptible to rainfall levels and ranges from 13% to 20% of GDP. Given that almost 50% of Morocco's population depends directly on agriculture production, droughts have a severe knock-on effect to the economy. Over the long term, Morocco will have to diversify its economy away from agriculture to develop a more stable economic basis for growth.
The current government is continuing and intensifying a series of structural reforms begun in recent years. The most promising reforms have been in labor market and financial sectors and privatization has accelerated the sale of Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) licenses and the sale of the state tobacco company in the last few years. Morocco also has liberalized rules for oil and gas exploration and has granted concessions for many public services in major cities. The tender process in Morocco is becoming increasingly transparent. Many believe, however, that the process of economic reform must be accelerated in order to reduce urban unemployment below the current rates above 20%.
In April 2002, President Bush and King Mohammed VI committed to negotiate a bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) by the end of 2003. The U.S.-Morocco FTA, the second in the Arab world and the first under President Bush's Middle East Free Trade Area, is on track to meet this deadline. The negotiations proceeded at a record pace, producing a comprehensive agreement covering not only market access but also intellectual property rights protection, transparency in government procurement, investments, services, and end e-commerce. The FTA will provide new trade and investment opportunities for both countries and will encourage economic reforms and liberalization already under way.