In 788, about a century after the Arab conquest of North Africa, a series of Moroccan Muslim dynasties began to rule in Morocco. In the 16th century, the Sa'adi monarchy, particularly under Ahmad al-MANSUR (1578-1603), repelled foreign invaders and inaugurated a golden age. The Alaouite Dynasty, to which the current Moroccan royal family belongs, dates from the 17th century. In 1860, Spain occupied northern Morocco and ushered in a half century of trade rivalry among European powers that saw Morocco's sovereignty steadily erode; in 1912, the French imposed a protectorate over the country. A protracted independence struggle with France ended successfully in 1956. The internationalized city of Tangier and most Spanish possessions were turned over to the new country that same year. Sultan MOHAMMED V, the current monarch's grandfather, organized the new state as a constitutional monarchy and in 1957 assumed the title of king. Since Spain's 1976 withdrawal from what is today called Western Sahara, Morocco has extended its de facto administrative control to roughly 80% of this territory; however, the UN does not recognize Morocco as the administering power for Western Sahara. The UN since 1991 has monitored a cease-fire between Morocco and the Polisario Front - Western Sahara's liberation movement - and leads ongoing negotiations over the status of the territory.
Northern Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, between Algeria and Western Sahara
phosphates, iron ore, manganese, lead, zinc, fish, salt
Population - distribution
the highest population density is found along the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts; a number of densely populated agglomerations are found scattered through the Atlas Mountains
Arabic (official), Berber languages (Tamazight (official), Tachelhit, Tarifit), French (often the language of business, government, and diplomacy)
Casablanca 3.515 million; RABAT (capital) 1.967 million; Fes 1.172 million; Marrakech 1.134 million; Tangier 982,000 (2015)
- Conventional long form
- Kingdom of Morocco
- Conventional short form
- Local long form
- Al Mamlakah al Maghribiyah
- Local short form
- Al Maghrib
parliamentary constitutional monarchy
- Geographic coordinates
- 34 01 N, 6 49 W
- Time difference
- UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
- Daylight saving time
- +1 hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
Morocco has capitalized on its proximity to Europe and relatively low labor costs to work towards building a diverse, open, market-oriented economy. Key sectors of the economy include agriculture, tourism, aerospace, automotive, phosphates, textiles, apparel, and subcomponents. Morocco has increased investment in its port, transportation, and industrial infrastructure to position itself as a center and broker for business throughout Africa. Industrial development strategies and infrastructure improvements - most visibly illustrated by a new port and free trade zone near Tangier - are improving Morocco's competitiveness.
- External debt stocks
- US$ 42,988,614,000
- Total tax rate (% of commercial profits)
- Real Interest Rate
- Manufacturing, value added (% of GDP)
- Current Account Balance
- US$ -4,531,144,636
- Labor Force, Total
- Employment in Agriculture
- Employment in Industry
- Employment in Services
- Unemployment Rate
- Imports of goods and services
- US$ 45,727,988,376
- Exports of goods and services
- US$ 35,205,790,701
- Total Merchandise Trade
- FDI, net inflows
- US$ 2,318,278,900
- Commercial Service Exports
- US$ 14,681,864,336
barley, wheat, citrus fruits, grapes, vegetables, olives; livestock; wine
automotive parts, phosphate mining and processing, aerospace, food processing, leather goods, textiles, construction, energy, tourism
- clothing and textiles, automobiles, electric components, inorganic chemicals, transistors, crude minerals, fertilizers (including phosphates), petroleum products, citrus fruits, vegetables, fish
- Spain 22.1%, France 19.7%, India 4.9%, US 4.3%, Italy 4.3% (2015)
- crude petroleum, textile fabric, telecommunications equipment, wheat, gas and electricity, transistors, plastics
- Spain 13.9%, France 12.4%, China 8.5%, US 6.5%, Germany 5.8%, Italy 5.5%, Russia 4.4%, Turkey 4.3% (2015)
- Country Risk Rating
- A somewhat shaky political and economic outlook and a relatively volatile business environment can affect corporate payment behavior. Corporate default probability is still acceptable on average.
- Business Climate Rating
- The business environment is acceptable. Corporate financial information is sometimes neither readily available nor sufficiently reliable. Debt collection is not always efficient and the institutional framework has shortcomings. Intercompany transactions may thus run into appreciable difficulties in the acceptable but occasionally unstable environments rated A4.
- A favorable geographic position, close to the European market
- Strategy to move upscale and diversify production in automotive, aeronautics, electronics, offshoring, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, textiles/leather, and agri-food
- Macroeconomic stability policy
- Political stability and commitment to reforms
- Economy very dependent on performances in the agricultural sector
- Significant social and regional disparities
- The poverty rate remains high even though it is falling
- Weakness in productivity and competitiveness
- High unemployment rate
After an exceptional year in 2015, a lack of rainfall led to a decline in agricultural production in 2016 causing a sharp slowdown in the Moroccan economy. Although non-agricultural GDP growth remained dynamic, it did not make up for the negative contribution from the primary sector to activity. Consumer demand nevertheless remained resilient whereas agricultural sector accounts for 40% of the active population. Investment was the main engine behind activity. Growth is set to pick up clearly during 2017. A good harvest season in 2017 should enable a significant increase in agricultural GDP whereas growth in non-agricultural GDP should continue at a modest pace following on from 2016. The manufacturing sector should benefit from the rise in productive investment in 2016, resulting in an increase in capital goods. The automotive sector should benefit from the slight recovery in Europe as should phosphates, which will post better performances than in 2016 in a less strained global market. Growth in services is expected to be more mixed, with activity in trade services and communications likely to be robust in response to dynamic consumer demand driven by an increase in credit and higher remittance from Moroccan diaspora. Inflation is likely to remain modest enabling the central bank to implement an inflation targeting policy which would go hand in hand with a reform of the exchange rate regime toward a more flexible system in H2 2017.
The consolidation of public finances following on from the IMF’s aid program has favored a rebalancing of the public accounts. The reform of subsidies indeed helped massively reduce current spending, helping to structurally lighten the state budget. In addition, the decline in the public deficit has stemmed from the fall in current spending and an increase in public revenues, especially the rise in customs revenues and domestic taxation. After narrowing in 2016, the public deficit should continue to fall in 2017. The time taken to form a government should not change the implementation of a 2017 finance law. Economic growth combined with better collection of taxes should benefit revenues. Investment spending should continue with a rise in investments under the framework of the green Morocco plan as well as in the renewable energies sectors and education. The ratio of public debt to GDP remains high but should fall in 2017. The consolidation of public finances and better management of debt should indeed lead to a change in the debt trajectory.
In 2017, Morocco should continue to benefit from low oil prices enabling it to maintain a low energy balance albeit slightly higher than in 2016. The slight recovery in Europe should add weight to growth in exports for the automotive and aeronautics sectors. The services balance should be in surplus thanks to the performances expected in the telecoms sector, although it is likely to remain limited by the prospect of a decline in the tourism sector. FDI should maintain its level of growth in 2017.
The banking sector should remain profitable and well capitalized. Doubtful loans are continuing to rise in the textiles, property and maritime transport sectors but they remain well-provisioned for. Credit should continue to stimulate investment moderately in 2017 with a recovery expected in corporate loans.
Legislative elections in October 2016 renewed the Justice and Development Party led by former Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane as the leading political representation in the assembly. The former prime minister was requested to create a new government on the basis of a new coalition in October 2016.
With the aim of preserving its attractiveness, Morocco will have to continue reforms enabling an improvement and cleaning up of the business environment especially concerning the simplification of administrative procedures associated with the promotion of investment and modernization of the legal framework. The country has also been particularly active in the African continent and is considering reintegrating the African union. In December 2016, the King of Morocco ended an important diplomatic tour in Africa with the aim of strengthening his presence in the continent. Finally, the country was particularly active on the international front, hosting the COP22 in Marrakech in November 2016.