Morocco Economy Overview
The restructuring of the economy, which grew in the colonial period on agricultural and mining bases, started very slowly in the years following the regained independence (1956). But the constant efforts to diversify the economy and reduce dependence on foreign countries have so far only partially achieved the goal of reducing unemployment and improving the standard of living of the population. At the beginning of the first decade of the 21st century, the economy was growing on average by 2.7% in real terms. Morocco therefore seems to have embarked on a path of relative growth, due to an acceleration of the privatization and liberalization program of the economy, greater openness to international investments and the signing of important trade agreements with the European Union (2000) and with the United States (2006).
Agriculture employs 40% of the active population, but contributes only 15.7% to the formation of the gross domestic product (2008). Morphology and climate condition the distribution of crops, concentrated in 4 agricultural areas: the central-northern Atlantic and Mediterranean coastal areas (intensive cereal farming, fruit and vegetable farming); the western and central-northern highlands (extensive cereal farming); the mainly grazing areas of the inland mountains; the irrigated oases of the Presaharan and Saharan region. More than half of the arable land is used for the cultivation of cereals, whose production, due to the low unit yields and the irregularity of the rainfall regime, is subject to considerable fluctuations. Barley, wheat, corn predominate over the others, but they are still insufficient for internal needs and must be largely imported. Colonization has given impetus to seasonal and early horticulture, mainly practiced in irrigated lands by the ocean. Industrial crops include beet and sugar cane, sunflower, flax, cotton and tobacco. Among the Mediterranean crops, the vine, which supplies table grapes and above all for wine, and the olive tree show a certain regress compared to the past; not so citrus fruits, of which Morocco has become a notable exporter. Among the Mediterranean crops, the vine, which supplies table grapes and above all for wine, and the olive tree show a certain regress compared to the past; not so citrus fruits, of which Morocco has become a notable exporter. Among the Mediterranean crops, the vine, which supplies table grapes and above all for wine, and the olive tree show a certain regress compared to the past; not so citrus fruits, of which Morocco has become a notable exporter. For Morocco 2011, please check internetsailors.com.
The breeding, with about 25 million head, mainly sheep and goats, remains commonly linked to a subsistence economy based on the extensive exploitation of spontaneous vegetation: it is practiced in a nomadic and semi-nomadic form (with some exceptions) and warns the negative effects of long periods of drought. Fishing is a growing activity, thanks to the good seabed and currents, and has its main ports in Safi, al-Mohammadiyya, Casablanca and Agadir.
The exploitation of underground resources relies on the extraction of phosphates, whose proven reserves amount to 2/3 of the world total: they are extracted from the Khouribga, Youssoufia, and, further south, Bou Craa fields, in the Western Sahara. 1/3 of the phosphates are transformed into fertilizers (over 3 million tons per year) and the rest exported. Energy resources are scarce: coal from the Giarada basin (near Oujda), natural gas and oil (Sidi Kacem and Sidi Rhalemn) cover only a small part of internal needs; moreover, large hydrocarbon deposits have recently been identified along the Atlantic coast, which should allow Morocco to reduce the high degree of dependence on exports. Electricity production, essentially from thermoelectric power plants, amounted to 21, 8 billion kWh in 2006. The range of other mineral resources is wide: iron, manganese, cobalt, lead, zinc, tin, copper, etc. Incentives of various kinds and the competition of both internal and foreign capital have favored the development of modern industry, alongside the activities inherited from the colonial era. Among the basic industries, the steel industry, lead metallurgy, petrochemicals and above all chemistry (phosphoric acid, fertilizers) and cement factories are active. They are flanked by textile manufactures, divided into artisan factories and large companies, mechanics (assembly of motor vehicles), food industries (especially sugar and fish conservation), tanning, which has a long tradition of craftsmanship, paper, the cork factory. The industry has not pushed out the handicraft,
Internal communications are guaranteed by a good road network (57,625 km, in 2006, of which 35,664 were asphalted), integrated by the railway network (1907 km), largely built by the French. Casablanca is the busiest road and rail hub, as well as the largest air and sea hub, and plays an important international role.
The trade balance remains clearly passive: energy sources, steel products, foodstuffs (wheat) and manufactured goods predominate among imports; In addition to phosphates, exports include chemicals, textiles and fruit. The trade balance deficit, largely due to dependence on foreign energy supplies, is partially offset by important remittances from emigrants (over 2 million, of which 500,000 in France) and by tourism revenues (6.5 million entries in 2006). The most intense exchanges take place with France, Spain, Saudi Arabia, China, Italy and Germany.