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Country Report Morocco August 2017

Country Report Morocco August 2017

  • August 2017
  • ID: 1697962
  • Format: PDF
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit


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Outlook for 2017-21

  • Tensions in the northern Rif region remain high, but overall stability in the country will not be threatened. Demands for higher living standards will exert pressure on the regime, which will respond with modest reforms.
  • The governing coalition formed in March is broader and more fragmented than the previous government, which will limit the powers of the main party, the Parti de la justice et du développement, and slow policymaking.
  • The kingdom will increasingly assert its role as a diplomatic and economic power in Sub-Saharan Africa. The EU will remain Morocco's main trade and investment partner, but the Western Sahara dispute will strain diplomatic ties.
  • The fiscal deficit will narrow gradually over the forecast period, from 3.7% of GDP in 2017 to 3% of GDP in 2021, as the authorities pursue fiscal con-solidation but are constrained by the need to placate a restless population.
  • Real GDP will expand by 3.5% a year on average in 2017-21, supported by services and manufacturing. Agricultural production will remain a key determinant of GDP growth, despite ongoing efforts to diversify the economy.
  • The current-account deficit will widen to an average of 4.8% of GDP in 2017-18, as demand for capital goods boosts import spending. It will then average 5% of GDP in 2019-21, driven mainly by changes in the trade balance.


  • On July 20th, in the northern town of Al Hoceima, Moroccan police fired tear gas at an unauthorised protest of hundreds of people who were asking for the release from prison of Nasser Zefzafi, the leader of Hirak, the main group behind the Rif protests, who was arrested in May.
  • On July 29th King Mohammed VI pardoned 1,178 prisoners, including 58 members of Hirak. However, the leader of the movement, Mr Zefzafi, remains in jail.
  • During his speech for Throne Day, on July 29th, the king criticised the Moroccan political class for not meeting citizens' expectations, as well as deficiencies within the public administration.
  • A civilian court has jailed 23 Sahrawi activists for their role in deadly clashes in Western Sahara, but the judicial authorities have been accused of basing their verdicts on confessions obtained under torture.
  • The latest data from the Office des changes showed that the nominal value of Morocco's trade with Sub-Saharan Africa jumped to Dh19.2bn (US$2bn) in 2016, from less than Dh10bn in 2008.

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