Morocco's economic situation is forcing the new government of the Alawi kingdom to take historic measures. The consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic have prompted the government led by tycoon Aziz Akhanouch to approve record public investment for the coming year. The figure amounts to 245 billion dirhams - around 23 billion euros. According to the Minister of Economy and Finance, Nadia Fattah Al-Alawi, the increase in public spending is a "crucial measure to revive the economy", following the impact of Morocco's financial reality.
The draft finance law (PLF) shows an important projection for the growth of Morocco's economy in 2021 of up to 5.2 per cent. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is even more optimistic in this regard, indicating an economic growth of 5.7 per cent this year. This figure would make the Kingdom the best performer in the Maghreb region, followed by Algeria (3.4 per cent) and Tunisia (3 per cent). These numbers reflect an even greater improvement considering that in 2020 Morocco's economy suffered its worst recession in 25 years, plunging 7 per cent as a result of the pandemic.
Reviving the economy also means increasing employment. Since the Akhanouch government came to power, they have made it clear that one of their priorities is the social sphere. That is why the PLF aims to create 250,000 direct jobs within the next two years. "Our priority is to strengthen the social state in the health, education and employment sectors, and to advance in the project to generalise social protection", said Minister Fattah at a press conference, who also highlighted the tourism sector, which will be promoted gradually due to the restrictions still in place with several countries.
In fact, the arrival of the Delta Plus variant is causing serious setbacks in many countries, and Morocco has decided to suspend all flights to those that are suffering most severely from this COVID-19 variant. Currently, the Alawi kingdom has interrupted air connections with the Netherlands, Germany and the United Kingdom. The latter registers around 50,000 cases of the coronavirus every day, so the Moroccan Ministry of Health warns of "the need to avoid a possible relapse of severe and critical cases and deaths related to COVID-19, which have occurred in several European countries".
In addition to the threat posed by this increase in infections in many European states, Morocco has several sensitive issues to deal with. The gas issue with Spain and Algeria, and the rupture of diplomatic relations and the consequent escalation of tension with the latter, are some of the headaches that the Rabat government will have to face in the short term. A resolution to any of these issues does not appear to be in sight, and Aziz Ajanuch's government must get to work on them as soon as possible. For the time being, it has begun by promoting an increase in public spending, which it hopes will make economic recovery possible in the shortest possible time.