Morocco's economic boom

In ten years the country has become the fifth largest economy in Africa and the third largest in North Africa
Employees of the French Renault group in Morocco work on a production line at the Renault factory in Tangier.

AFP/FADEL SENNA  -   Employees of the French Renault group in Morocco work on a production line at the Renault factory in Tangier

Morocco is experiencing one of its best economic moments. Despite problems, bad relations with neighbours such as Algeria and youth unemployment, the Kingdom now has a GDP of 114 billion euros, making it the fifth largest economy in Africa and the third largest in the northern regions of the continent. This fact represents a great and accelerating economic dynamism that gives the nation great advantages in all sectors. The annual report known as Doing Business, in its latest ranking, has placed the Alawi country at number 53, up more than 50 places from 114. 

Morocco, for its part, has implied several factors that have made it one of the best economies on the African continent and that is proven by the figures obtained by the nation. Its good position has coincided with the coronation of King Mohammed VI in 1999. The monarch has managed to put Morocco on the map with great measures, especially by investing in various sectors, mainly the automobile, aeronautics and agriculture. 

Laboratorio del centro de formación en tecnologías de la información "1337" en la ciudad central de Marruecos, Khouribga
AFP/FADEL SENNA - Laboratory of the "1337" IT training centre in the central Moroccan city of Khouribga.

There are also other factors behind the country's strong performance. Morocco is a country with a strategic position in the world, as it opens the door, together with Spain, to boatmen and traders who want to enter the Mediterranean Sea and the countries bathed by these waters. It also serves as a gateway to sub-Saharan Africa, since the continent is a target for large companies and the Maghreb facilitates their entry. At the same time, it is the only nation that serves as the main gateway to the Americas, something that benefits both Arab and Asian countries.

Another factor that makes Morocco relevant in the world is its political system, which is a monarchy. Mohammed VI has implemented major social and political changes, which have resulted in the establishment of an important stability that the surrounding countries, which do not have monarchies, do not have. For his part, the monarch has succeeded in investing in important actions and above all in obtaining large foreign investments that foreign countries have taken good advantage of. As a result, a number of well-known companies have established themselves in the region and, as a result, are making inroads into the continent. 

Mina de fosfato en la fábrica de Boucraa de la Compañía Nacional de Fosfatos de Marruecos (OCP) situada en las provincias del sur, a 100 km al suroeste de la ciudad de El Aaiún
REUTERS/YOUSSEF BOUDLAL - Phosphate mine at the Boucraa factory of the Moroccan National Phosphate Company (OCP) in the southern provinces, 100 km southwest of the city of Laayoune

Morocco's investment is also quite substantial and makes it a major investor. Currently, the focus is on expanding its investment policies in neighbouring African countries and it is receiving great results, as the country does not try to do business in a "colonialist" way that EU countries or others try to do. "Morocco is the leading recipient of foreign direct investment from the Maghreb and one of Spain's main trading partners outside the EU, along with Turkey, the United States and the United Kingdom," said Ricardo Santamaría, Director of Country Risk and Debt Management at Cesce. 

The Alawi kingdom is entering the list of new powers, and this brings challenges, but also consequences. Many countries, especially European ones, are threatened by Morocco's incipient entry into the world economy and many do not conceive that, as a former colony, it could become relevant. The Maghreb country has had to stand up to European regions such as Germany, which produced a secret report by the German institute SWP (Stiftun Wissenschaft Und Politik) in which the central European country recognises Morocco as a threat and calls on the EU to take measures to prevent it from dominating and controlling its neighbouring countries. Recently it has also had to confront Spain over differences over issues such as the reception of Polisario Front leader Brahim Ghali for hospital treatment on Spanish territory.

Mercado de verduras en las afueras de Casablanca
REUTERS/YOUSSEF BOUDLAL - Vegetable market on the outskirts of Casablanca

Things have changed and now is the time for Morocco to play a leading role. Thanks to new alliances with the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel, China and others, the nation is experiencing one of its best economic moments and everything points to this continuing 'in crescendo'.