“In 2013, despite the uncertainty surrounding the evolution of our major business partners and the global prices of energy commodities, growth is expected to be between 4pc and 5pc”, Bank Al-Maghrib governor, Abdellatif Jouahri, said.
Morocco’s economy, which is dependent on agriculture, phosphates, and tourism, suffered as a result of the global economic crisis. It shrank by 2.9pc over the course of 2012, but still managed to resume positive growth in the fourth quarter is an exotic gateway to Africa; its mountains, desert and coast are populated by Berbers and nomads, and its ancient medina lanes lead to souqs and riads.
Tourism in Marocco from Saharan dunes to the peaks of the High Atlas, Morocco could have been tailor- made for travellers. Lyrical landscapes carpet this sublime slice of North Africa like the richly coloured and patterned rugs you’ll lust after in local cooperatives. The mountains – not just the famous High Atlas but also the Rif and suntanned ranges leading to Saharan oases – offer simple, breathtaking pleasures: night skies glistening in the thin air; views over a fluffy cloudbank from the Tizi n’Test pass. On lower ground, there are rugged coastlines, waterfalls and caves in forested hills, and the mighty desert.
The varied terrain may inform your dreams, but it shapes the very lives of Morocco’s Berbers, Arabs and Saharawis. Despite encroaching modernity, with motorways joining mosques and kasbahs as manmade features of the landscape, Moroccan people remain closely connected to the environment. The nomadic southern ‘blue men’ brave the desert’s burning expanses in robes and turbans, with mobile phones in hand. Likewise, traditional life continues – with tweaks – in the techniques of Berber carpet makers; in date cooperatives; in medina spice trading; and in the lifestyles in ports like Essaouira and mountain hamlets.
Morocco has capitalized on its proximity to Europe and relatively low labor costs to build a diverse, open, market-oriented economy. In the 1980s Morocco was a heavily indebted countries before pursuing austerity measures and pro-market reforms, overseen by the IMF. Since taking the throne in 1999, King MOHAMMED VI has presided over a stable economy marked by steady growth, low inflation, and gradually falling unemployment, although a poor harvest and economic difficulties in Europe contributed to an economic slowdown in 2012.
Industrial development strategies and infrastructure improvements – most visibly illustrated by a new port and free trade zone near Tangier – are improving Morocco’s competitiveness. Key sectors of the economy include agriculture, tourism, phosphates, textiles, apparel, and subcomponents. To boost exports, Morocco entered into a bilateral Free Trade Agreement with the United States in 2006 and an Advanced Status agreement with the European Union in 2008. Despite Morocco’s economic progress, the country suffers from high unemployment, poverty, and illiteracy, particularly in rural areas.
In 2011 and 2012, high prices on fuel – which is subsidized and almost entirely imported – strained the government’s budget and widened the country’s current account deficit. Key economic challenges for Morocco include fighting corruption and reforming the the education system, the judiciary, and the government’s costly subsidy program.
By. Ayesha Habib
New York News