Morocco is an Arab North African country with a population of over 33 million growing at an annual rate of 1.3%. About 59.7% of Morocco population is urban, and the number of Moroccans living abroad exceeded 3.3 million in 2006.
Life expectancy at birth in Morocco increased from 68 years in 2000 to 74.3 years in 2015. The Life expectancy range between men and women is about two years (73 years for men and 75 years for women), but the gap increases to five years between rural and urban areas (77 years in urban and 72 years in rural areas). The population of Morocco has been aging in the last decade caused by a fertility rate hovering at two during the last decade coupled with an increase in life expectancy. This can be seen in the drop of the percentage of the population below 30-year of age from 62.5% in 2000 to 53.5% in 2015.
In 2011, more than 5 million Moroccans (15.6% of the population) were multi-dimensionally poor, while an additional 12.6%, around 4 million people, lived near multidimensional poverty.
Education in Morocco is free and obligatory in primary school. Adult literacy rate for the population above 15 years of age reached 71.7% in 2015, with a primary school enrollment rate of 116.1% in 2014 and a Gender Parity Index (GPI) of 1.0. The tertiary enrollment noticeably increased from 10.2% in 2000 to 24.6% in 2014, striking successfully the gender parity in 2014.
Real GDP growth reached 4.9% in 2015 with the Government’s prudent economic policies and sustained structural reforms. In the past 15 years, the economic performance of Morocco has been volatile with GDP growth rates (2005 constant prices) fluctuating from rates above 7% in 2001 and 2006, to as low as 1.9% and 4.5% in 2000 and 2014, respectively. GDP (Purchasing Power Parity, constant 2011 prices) and GNI per capita (Purchasing Power Parity) for 2015 leveled at Int$ 257 billion and Int$ 7,680 respectively, compared to an average GNI per capita of Int$ 16,445 in the Arab countries. The Moroccan economy is relatively diversified, where the manufacturing and agriculture play a major role in the economic growth with a gross value added of 18.2% and 12.9% as a percentage of GDP, respectively, in 2014. The economy is characterized by a low inflation rate at 1,6% in 2015 and a cash surplus of 1% of GDP in 2015. In 2013, the Government has started to phase out fuel subsidies and continues to take bold steps to reduce its deficit. However, in order to create more fiscal space, the Government is urged to curb its public debt that reached 63.7% of GDP in 2015.
The country has ratified several free trade agreements with its principal economic partners, namely with the European Union (EU). The Association Agreement between the EU and Morocco entered into force in 2000 and the EU-Morocco Agreement on agricultural, processed agricultural and fisheries products entered into force in 2012. Negotiations for a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) between the EU and Morocco were launched in 2013. Morocco is part of the Agadir Agreement, signed with Egypt, Jordan, and Tunisia, within the framework of the installation of the Greater Arab Free Trade Area. The US-Morocco Free Trade Agreement with the United States and the agreement of free exchange with Turkey both came into force in 2006.
The main industrial exports in Morocco are textiles, and natural and chemical fertilizers. Textiles exports halved to 9.8% of total exports in 2014 from 21.3% in 2002, while the natural and chemical fertilizers’ share more than doubled in the last decade reaching8.6% in 2014 compared to 4.2%.
Over the last fifteen years, Morocco has witnessed a drop in its unemployment rate from 13.4% in 2000 to 9.7% in 2015. However, this rate remains high among youth and university students reaching 20% for this age group. At the geographical level, unemployment continues to be higher in urban areas; registering 14.6% compared to only 4.1% in rural areas in 2015. Joblessness is a long-term phenomenon in Morocco where 65.3% of the unemployed have been jobless for more than a year.
Gender gaps between women and men in unemployment are almost non-existent, for women unemployment rate registered 10.5%, almost equivalent to men of 9.4% in 2015. This is also the case among youth with a rate of 19.7% for men and 18.2% for women in 2015.
Morocco is a net hydrocarbon importer where net oil exports stood at minus 54.2 million barrels in 2012 and net natural gas exports at minus 38.92 billion cubic feet in 2013. The country produces limited amounts of oil, natural gas, and refined petroleum products, which are mainly consumed domestically.
Crude oil production in Morocco increased from 73 thousand barrels in 2003 to 182.5 thousand barrels in 2005 and remained constant at this level; however, it stayed well below the 2012 consumption level of 54.4 million barrels. Similarly, natural gas production fell below consumption, totaling 2.8 billion cubic feet compared to 41.7 billion cubic feet of consumption in 2013.
This overview has been drafted by the ADP team based on most available data as of 30 September 2016.