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Contact at AFI team is Mustapha Jobarteh
This entry was last updated on 19 September 2022 using IFs v7.63.

In this entry, we first describe the Current Path (CP) forecast for Morocco as it is expected to unfold to 2043, the end of the third ten-year implementation plan of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 long-term vision for Africa.

The Current Path forecast is divided into summaries on demographics, economics, poverty, health/WaSH and climate change/energy. A second section then presents a single positive scenario for potential improvements in stability, demographics, health/WaSH, agriculture, education, manufacturing/transfers, leapfrogging, free trade, financial flows, infrastructure, governance and the impact of various scenarios on carbon emissions. With the individual impact of these sectors and dimensions having been considered, a final section presents the impact of the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario.

We generally review the impact of each scenario and the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario on gross domestic product (GDP) per person and extreme poverty except for Health/WaSH that uses life expectancy and infant mortality.

The information is presented graphically and supported by brief interpretive text.

All US$ numbers are in 2017 values.

Summary

  • Current Path forecast
    • The Kingdom of Morocco is a country in North Africa with a population of 36.5 million people (2019). With a GDP per capita of US$8 256, Morocco is classified as a lower middle-income economy according to the World Bank 2021 ranking. In 2019, 3.7 million people lived below the poverty line of US$3.20 per day, equivalent to 10.2% of the population. Jump to forecast: Current Path
    • On the Current Path, Morocco’s population will increase to 43.3 million people in 2043, an expansion of close to 19%. The country is going through the third stage of the demographic transition, with declining birth rates that currently stand at 2.4 births per woman and increasing life expectancy, which was 75.5 years on average in 2019. Morocco will continue to become more urbanised with 72.3% of its population living in towns and cities by 2043. Jump to Demographics: Current Path
    • Morocco records solid economic growth and increases its GDP (MER) by more than 64% to US$232 billion in 2043 on the Current Path from US$141.7 billion in 2019. The country’s economy becomes more formalised with the informal sector accounting for 19.5% of GDP in 2043, down from 21.9% in 2019. Jump to Economics: Current Path
    • By 2043, Morocco will grow its GDP per capita to US$10 132 from US$8 369 in 2019, and reduce the share of people living below the US$3.20 poverty line by close to 5 percentage points to 5.5% compared to 10.2% in 2019. Jump to Poverty: Current Path
  • Sectoral scenarios
    • The Stability scenario will accelerate poverty reduction and bring the share of the population living below US$3.20 per day down to 5.2% by 2043 versus 5.5% in the Current Path forecast. Jump to Stability scenario
    • The Demographic scenario will ensure that Morocco benefits from a greater demographic dividend than in the Current Path forecast. Jump to Demographic scenario
    • In the Health/WaSH scenario, life expectancy for Moroccans will increase from 75.6 years in 2019 to 79.6 years in 2043 compared to 79.1 years on the Current Path. Jump to Health/WaSH scenario
    • The Agriculture scenario will free Morocco of food import dependence and lead to agricultural surplus production. It will also reduce the poverty rate to 4% by 2043. Jump to Agriculture scenario
    • Since an education system has a lot of inertia, the Education scenario only translates into a modest increase in the GDP per capita to US$10 368 versus US$10 132 on the Current Path in 2043. Jump to Education scenario
    • In the Manufacturing/Transfers scenario, the service sector is the only sector that will experience a gain in terms of its relative contribution to GDP. Jump to Manufacturing/Transfers scenario
    • Given that Moroccans already enjoy universal access to electricity, the Leapfrogging scenario only has a marginal impact. Jump to Leapfrogging scenario
    • In the Free Trade scenario, the GDP per capita will be US$964 higher than on the Current Path. Jump to Free Trade scenario
    • In the Financial Flows scenario, foreign direct investment inflows will account for 3.2% of GDP compared to 2.8% in the Current Path forecast. Jump to Financial Flows scenario
    • In the Governance scenario, the share of the population living below the poverty line will decline to 5.1% by 2043. Jump to Governance scenario
    • Among the sectoral interventions, the Free Trade scenario will result in the release of significantly more carbon than any other scenario, resulting in additional emissions of 2.2 million tons of carbon above the Current Path forecast, which stands at 29 million tons in 2043, up from 6.4 million tons in 2019. The Free Trade scenario is followed by the Agriculture and the Manufacturing/Transfers scenarios, which would lead to carbon emissions of 30.5 million and 30.3 million tons, respectively, by 2043. Jump to Impact of scenarios on carbon emissions
  • Combined Agenda 2063 scenario Jump to Combined Agenda 2063 scenario
    • In the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario, Morocco’s carbon emissions rise to 37.43 million tons versus 29 million tons on the Current Path. The country sees a significant increase in the GDP per capita in 2043 — US$14 116 compared to US$10 132 in the Current Path forecast. The scenario drastically reduces poverty by 2043 such that 1.7% of the population, or 750 000 people, will live below the poverty line versus 5.5%, or 2.37 million, in the Current Path forecast, using US$3.20. Valued at US$379 billion, the economy will be twice as large as in the Current Path forecast (60% larger) and Africa’s eighth largest economy by 2043.

All charts for Morocco

Chart 1: Political map of Morocco
Chart
Morocco: Current Path forecast

Morocco: Current Path forecast

This page provides an overview of the key characteristics of Morocco along its likely (or Current Path) development trajectory. The Current Path forecast from the International Futures forecasting (IFs) platform is a dynamic scenario that imitates the continuation of current policies and environmental conditions. The Current Path is therefore in congruence with historical patterns and produces a series of dynamic forecasts endogenised in relationships across crucial global systems. We use 2019 as a standard reference year and the forecasts generally extend to 2043 to coincide with the end of the third ten-year implementation plan of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 long-term development vision.

The Kingdom of Morocco is a country in the Maghreb region of North Africa. It borders Algeria to the east and the disputed territory of the Western Sahara to the south, and overlooks the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. In fact, Morocco is the only African country to have both Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines, with a total of 1 835 km of coastline. Morocco’s land area covers approximately 446 300 km2. In 2019, the country had a population of about 36.5 million people. Its official and predominant religion is Islam, and the official languages are Arabic and Tamazight, spoken by the Berber people which became an official language in 2011.[1Britannica, Morocco – Languages] The Moroccan dialects of Arabic and French are also widely spoken.

Morocco’s largest city and port is Casablanca; however, the capital city is Rabat. Morocco is a unitary semi-constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament. The King of Morocco and the prime minister lead the executive branch. Legislative power sits with the two chambers of parliament: the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors. Judicial power rests with the Constitutional Court. The king holds vast executive and legislative powers, especially over the military, foreign policy and religious affairs. The king can issue decrees that are de facto laws, and he can also dissolve the parliament after consulting the prime minister and the president of the constitutional court.

Morocco claims ownership of the non-self-governing territory of Western Sahara, a sparsely populated area of mostly desert and a former Spanish colony. Western Sahara was annexed by Morocco in 1975 and has since been the subject of a long-running territorial dispute between Morocco and its indigenous Saharawi people, led by the Polisario Front.[2BBC News, Western Sahara profile, 7 September 2021]

The country experiences a typical Mediterranean climate characterised by mild wet winters and hot dry summers, especially for most of the country north of the Western Sahara. October to April is usually the rainy season.

Chart 1: Political map of Morocco
Chart
Demographics: Current Path

Demographics: Current Path

In 1990, Morocco had a population of 24.8 million people. By 2019 it had increased to 36.5 million. The country is going through the third stage of the demographic transition which is characterised by low death rates and diminishing birth rates due to economic progress, improvements in women's status and education, as well as access to contraception. In 2019, Morocco’s average total fertility was 2.4 births per woman, down from 4.4 births per woman in 1990. The current fertility rate is still well above replacement level fertility which is 2.1 births per woman. Morocco will likely reach replacement level fertility around 2027. By that time, the country’s total population will be 43.3 million.

With a median age of 29.3 years, Morocco is still relatively young, although it has the second oldest population in North Africa. At 32.6 years, only Tunisia has a higher median age. The average median age for the region is 26.7 years. Over time, Morocco’s population age structure has shifted: in 2019, 51% of the population was younger than 30 years, compared to 69% in 1990. By 2043, only 41% of the population is expected to be younger than 30 years of age. The share of the population that is 65 years and older, on the other hand, has increased from 4% in 1990 to 7% in 2019, and is set to account for 14% of the population by 2043. By then, 43.3 million people are expected to live in Morocco.

In 2019, average life expectancy for Moroccans was 75.5 years, ranking fourth highest in North Africa. On the Current Path, life expectancy will increase to 79.1 in 2043.

In line with its demographic profile, Morocco already is a predominantly urban country: 63% of the population lives in cities and towns and only 37% inhabit rural areas. Out of the 23 million Moroccans that live in urban areas, about 3.8 live in Casablanca,[3World Population Review, Casablanca population 2022] the country’s largest city, port and financial centre. Casablanca is followed by Fez, Tangier and Marrakech that are also important urban population centres.

By 2043, the share of Moroccans living in cities and towns will increase to 72.3%, which is the equivalent of 31.3 million people. This is significantly above the anticipated average rate of 59.4% for its lower middle-income peer group on the continent. In North Africa, however, Libya, Algeria and Tunisia are more urbanised than Morocco. Egypt is still predominantly rural with only 42.8% of its population living in urban areas.

In North Africa, Morocco is the second most densely populated country after Egypt. In 2019, population density was 0.8 people per hectare, which makes Morocco comparable to countries like Kenya, Senegal or Côte d’Ivoire. Population density is set to increase to 1 person per hectare by 2043.

The majority of Morocco's population lives to the west of the Atlas Mountains, a large range that protects the country from the Sahara Desert. Casablanca, the country’s largest city and commercial and financial hub concentrates about 16.5% of the country’s urban population. Rabat, the political capital, is home to about 1.4 million citizens. Other major cities include Tangier, Fez and Marrakech.

Chart 4: Population density map for 2019
Chart
Economics: Current Path

Economics: Current Path

Between 1990 and 2019, Morocco’s GDP increased almost threefold from US$48.6 billion to US$141.7 billion. Until 2043, the country’s GDP will grow by about 64% to US$232.6 billion. In 2019, Morocco was the fourth biggest (in terms of 2017 PPP) lower middle-income economy in Africa, after Nigeria, Egypt and Algeria. On the Current Path, Morocco’s economy will drop to rank 7 by 2043. Other than Nigeria, Egypt and Algeria, Angola, Tanzania and Kenya will have larger economies than Morocco.

Although many of the charts in the sectoral scenarios also include GDP per capita, this overview is an essential point of departure for interpreting the general economic outlook of Morocco.

In 2019, Morocco’s GDP per capita ranked 6 out of 23 Africa’s lower middle-income countries at a value of US$8 256, compared to the group's average of US$9 142. Morocco’s per capita income will increase to US$10 132 per capita by 2043, but in the ranking it will drop to place 8. The group’s average GDP per capita will be US$9 142 in 2043.

In 2019, Morocco’s informal sector accounted for approximately 21.9% of GDP. This is likely a conservative figure as in 2021 Morocco’s Central Bank estimated the sector to account for 30% of GDP.[4North Africa Post, Informal sector represents 30% of Morocco’s GDP- Central Bank study, 9 January 2021] Within IFs, Morocco had the third largest informal sector in North Africa after Mauritania and Tunisia. The average value for Africa’s lower middle-income economy in 2019 is 29%.

Morocco’s informal sector is a burden on the formal economy because of low contributions to tax revenues and the subsequent negative impact on expenditure on public utilities. By 2043, the contribution of the informal sector to the country’s GDP is forecast to fall to 19.2%.

In 2019, 35.5% of Morocco’s labour force, approximately 8.5 million people, worked in the informal sector. Typically, those workers are vulnerable to lose their job/income and they lack pensions or health insurance. The share of workers in the informal sector will drop to 30.5% over the coming decades.

The IFs platform uses data from the Global Trade and Analysis Project (GTAP) to classify economic activity into six sectors: agriculture, energy, materials (including mining), manufacturing, services and information and communication technologies (ICT). Most other sources use a threefold distinction between only agriculture, industry and services with the result that data may differ.

In 2019, Morocco’s service sector accounted for more than half of the country’s GDP (US$51.4 billion), followed by the manufacturing sector, which represented 24.5% (US$34.8 billion). The third largest sector, both in terms of its contribution to GDP as well as in absolute terms, is the agriculture sector, which accounts for 15.4% and is worth US$21.8 billion. Lastly, the ICT and materials sectors account for 8.9% and 3.4%, respectively. The service sector will remain the most important contributor to Morocco’s GDP by far. Its share is set to grow to 52.3% (valued at US$121.6 billion) by 2043. The manufacturing sector is also set to increase to account for 25.8% valued at US$60 billion. The contribution of the agriculture sector, on the other hand, will drop quite drastically to 11.7% in 2043, although in absolute terms the sector will still experience growth at a value of US$27.1 billion. The contribution of the ICT sector will drop by 2.5 percentage points but increase by 67% in absolute terms: from US$8.9 in 2019 to US$14.9 in 2043. Over the same period, the contribution from the materials sector will increase by 1.3 percentage points but more than double in absolute terms.

Morocco’s expected trajectory roughly mirrors that of its lower middle-income peer group with the service sector representing both the current and future lion’s share of contribution to GDP. Morocco’s manufacturing sector is the third largest in North Africa and the fifth largest among its lower middle-income peers.

The data on agricultural production and demand in the IFs forecasting platform initialises from data provided on food balances by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). IFs contains data on numerous types of agriculture but aggregates its forecast into crops, meat and fish, presented in million metric tons. Chart 9 shows agricultural production and demand as a total of all three categories.

In 2019, Morocco’s agriculture sector accounted for 15.5% of GDP, less than in the average lower middle-income economy on the continent where agriculture represented about 17.7% of GDP. In 2019, crop yields were only 3.6 tons per hectare compared to the average of just over 5 tons for its African income peer group. In Egypt, for example, crop yields were 29.2 tons per hectare in 2019. In Morocco, many agriculture producers still rely on traditional technologies and have limited access to fertilisers, pesticides and mechanisation, which negatively impacts productivity.[5International Trade Administration, Morocco – Country commercial guide, 10 December 2020] In 2019, Morocco’s agricultural production stood at 36.8 million metric tons, falling short of matching agricultural demand of 40.4 million metric tons. The forecast is for a narrowing gap between demand and production, resulting in about 1.5 million metric tons of unmet demand in 2043 compared to 3.7 million metric tons in 2019.

Poverty: Current Path

Poverty: Current Path

There are numerous methodologies for and approaches to defining poverty. We measure income poverty and use GDP per capita as a proxy. In 2015, the World Bank adopted the measure of US$1.90 per person per day (in 2011 international prices), also used to measure progress towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 1 of eradicating extreme poverty. To account for extreme poverty in richer countries occurring at slightly higher levels of income than in poor countries, the World Bank introduced three additional poverty lines in 2017:

  • US$3.20 for lower middle-income countries 
  • US$5.50 for upper middle-income countries
  • US$22.70 for high-income countries.

As a lower middle-income country, the World Bank uses the US$3.20 per day benchmark to define extreme poverty in Morocco. The country’s poverty burden is low. In 2019, 3.7 million Moroccans lived below the poverty line. This equals 10.2% of the population and is more than 28 percentage points below the average poverty rate for Africa’s lower middle-income economies, which is 38.3%. Over time, the share of Moroccans living in extreme poverty will further decrease. In the Current Path forecast, 2.4 million people will live below the poverty line in 2043 — this is 5.5% of the population, which is a significant improvement. In 2019, Morocco had the second lowest poverty rate among Africa’s lower middle-income countries; Tunisia had the lowest.

Carbon Emissions/Energy: Current Path

Carbon Emissions/Energy: Current Path

The IFs platform forecasts six types of energy, namely oil, gas, coal, hydro, nuclear and other renewables. To allow comparisons between different types of energy, the data is converted into billion barrels of oil equivalent (BBOE). The energy contained in a barrel of oil is approximately 5.8 million British thermal units (MBTUs) or 1 700 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy.

Morocco's total energy production was equivalent to about 4 million barrels of oil in 2019. By 2043, it is estimated to increase threefold to 12 million barrels of oil equivalent. The country’s energy mix is dominated by other renewables, accounting for 57% of total energy production in 2019, followed by hydro at 26% and gas at 17%. By 2043, the country’s reliance on other renewables is set to grow significantly reaching 94%. Hydro will drop to 4% of total energy production and gas to 2% by then. In comparison, the contribution of renewables in the average African lower middle-income economies is forecast to stand at 8.1% of total energy production in 2019.

Carbon is released in many ways, but the three most important contributors to greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO) and methane (CH4). Since each has a different molecular weight, IFs uses carbon. Many other sites and calculations use CO2 equivalent.

In 2019, Morocco emitted 19.04 million tons of carbon making it the sixth largest emitter in Africa though with the fifth largest economy. Emissions will increase to 29 million tons of carbon by 2043.

Stability scenario

Stability scenario

The Stability scenario represents reasonable but ambitious reductions in the risk of regime instability and lower levels of internal conflict. Stability is generally a prerequisite for other aspects of development and this would encourage inflows of foreign direct investment (FDI) and improve business confidence. Better governance through the accountability that follows substantive democracy is modelled separately.

The intervention is explained here in the thematic part of the website.

Overall, Morocco is a relatively stable country. However, it does face a range of security threats which are related to its political system, economic challenges and corruption, radical Islam, organised crime, as well as the ongoing Western Sahara conflict. Despite constitutional reforms in 2011, the king remains very powerful. Morocco has a relatively large youth bulge, and inequality and youth unemployment are a significant concern. Further, the country faces threats of terrorism from Islamist extremism. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) have repeatedly called Moroccans to carry out terrorist attacks. Domestic Salafiya-Jihadiya cells also pose a threat.[6AL Strachan, Conflict analysis of Morocco, GSDRC, January 2014]

The Stability scenario reflects significant interventions in increasing regime stability, lowering levels of internal conflict, resulting in reduced military expenditure and larger inflows of FDI.

Morocco scores higher on the security dimension of governance compared to the average of lower middle-income economies in Africa (0.79 versus 0.72). In 2019, it ranked fourth after frontrunners Tunisia, Cape Verde and Ghana. In the Stability scenario, security in Morocco will improve further to a score of 0.82 in 2043.

In 2019, Morocco’s GDP per capita was US$8 256, more than double the average lower middle-income GDP per capita of US$3 056. In the Stability scenario, Morocco’s GDP per capita will increase to US$10 419 by 2043 — an increase of US$287 compared to the Current Path forecast.

As a lower middle-income economy, the US$3.20 benchmark to define extreme poverty applies to Morocco. In 2019, 3.7 million people were living below the US$3.20 poverty line. In the Stability scenario, about 2.25 million people will live in extreme poverty by 2043, representing a reduction of 120 000 people compared to the Current Path forecast.

In 2019, 10.2% of Moroccans were living below the poverty line — a significantly lower share than the average of 50.1% in Africa’s lower middle-income economies. Poverty in Morocco will decline further over the coming decades. The Stability scenario accelerates this trend: by 2043, about 5.2% of the population will live below the poverty line compared to 5.5% in the Current Path forecast.

Demographic scenario

Demographic scenario

This section presents the impact of a Demographic scenario that aims to hasten and increase the demographic dividend through reasonable but ambitious reductions in the communicable-disease burden for children under five, the maternal mortality ratio and increased access to modern contraception.

The intervention is explained here in the thematic part of the website.

Demographers typically differentiate between a first, second and even a third demographic dividend. We focus here on the contribution of the size of the labour force (between 15 and 64 years of age) relative to dependants (children and the elderly) as part of the first dividend. A window of opportunity opens when the ratio of the working-age population to dependants is equal to or surpasses 1.7.

Given Morocco’s current stage in the demographic transition, increased access to modern contraception will only have a modest impact on the country’s total fertility rate which was estimated at 2.4 children per fertile woman in 2019. In the Demographic scenario, fertility rates will decline more quickly than on the Current Path. By 2027, the average fertility rate will already be 1.9 births per woman. On the Current Path, that rate will only be achieved six years later. A lower average fertility rate would slow down population growth and translate into a smaller population by 2043: 42.9 million instead of 43.3 million people.
The interventions in the Demographic scenario let Morocco benefit from a greater demographic dividend than on the Current Path.

The infant mortality rate is the number of infant deaths per 1 000 live births and is an important marker of the overall quality of the health system in a country.

At 17.3 infant deaths per 1 000 live births, infant mortality in Morocco is the third highest in North Africa, following Mauritania and Algeria, but significantly below the average for the group of African lower middle-income economies which is 46.6 deaths per 1 000 live births. Infant mortality in Morocco has improved greatly since 1990 when it stood at 59.6 deaths per 1 000 live births. The Demographic scenario will reduce infant mortality rates in Morocco to 9.2 deaths per 1 000 live births by 2043 compared to 10.5 deaths in the Current Path forecast.

In the Demographic scenario, Morocco’s GDP per capita is expected to increase from US$8 256 in 2019 to US$10 168 compared to US$10 132 on the Current Path.

Compared to the Current Path, the Demographic scenario will reduce the number of people living in extreme poverty (using US$3.20) from 3.7 million in 2019 to 2.32 million in 2043. This is the equivalent to 5.4% of the population, compared to 5.5% on the Current Path — a marginal difference.

Health/WaSH scenario

Health/WaSH scenario

This section presents reasonable but ambitious improvements in the Health/WaSH scenario, which include reductions in the mortality rate associated with both communicable diseases (e.g. AIDS, diarrhoea, malaria and respiratory infections) and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) (e.g. diabetes), as well as improvements in access to safe water and better sanitation. The acronym WaSH stands for water, sanitation and hygiene.

The intervention is explained here in the thematic part of the website.

In 2019, average life expectancy for Moroccans was 75.6 years, ranking fourth highest in North Africa. On the Current Path, life expectancy will increase to 79.1 in 2043. In the Health/WaSH scenario, average life expectancy is expected to increase to 79.6 years. This is more than 5 years above the average life expectancy for Africa’s lower middle-income economies in the Health/WaSH scenario which is forecast to be 74.1 years by 2043.

In 2019, Morocco had an infant mortality rate of 17.3 deaths per 1 000 live births, the third highest in North Africa. The interventions in the Health/WaSH scenario reduce Morocco’s infant mortality to 10.4 deaths per 1 000 live births in 2043 compared to 10.5 deaths in the Current Path forecast.

Agriculture scenario

Agriculture scenario

The Agriculture scenario represents reasonable but ambitious increases in yields per hectare (reflecting better management and seed and fertiliser technology), increased land under irrigation and reduced loss and waste. Where appropriate, it includes an increase in calorie consumption, reflecting the prioritisation of food self-sufficiency above food exports as a desirable policy objective.

The intervention is explained here in the thematic part of the website.

The data on yield per hectare (in metric tons) is for crops but does not distinguish between different categories of crops.

In 2019, yields in Morocco stood at 3.6 metric tons per hectare, which is relatively low compared to the average of 5.1 metric tons per hectare of the average for Africa’s lower middle-income peer group. In the Current Path forecast, yields in Morocco will increase to 4.4 tons by 2043. In the Agriculture scenario, yields will increase by 75% over the same time period and amount to 6.3 metric tons per hectare. The result is that instead of producing 48.1 million metric tons of crops in 2043, Morocco will produce 64.6 million metric tons — 34% more.

In 2019, total agricultural demand in Morocco exceeded production by 3.58 million metric tons. That gap is forecast to reduce to 1.51 million metric tons by 2043 meaning that demand will be growing more slowly than production.

In 2019, net agricultural imports accounted for just over 10.5% of agricultural demand. On the Current Path, import dependence is set to decrease and imports are expected to account for 3.7% by 2043. The Agriculture scenario will significantly accelerate Morocco’s path to free itself from import dependence. By 2043, import dependence will be negative at −28.8%. The country would be producing 64.6 million metric tons of crops, meat and fish, and therefore exceed the expected demand of 50 million metric tons.

The Agriculture scenario will increase the GDP per capita from US$8 256 to US$10 764 by 2043, US$632 more than on the Current Path. In fact, the interventions in the Agriculture scenario are the ones that imply the second greatest boost for GDP per capita among the sectoral interventions. Morocco’s GDP per capita will be above the average of its lower middle-income peers in Africa, which is expected to be US$9 582 in the Agriculture scenario.

The positive impact of the interventions in the Agriculture scenario on poverty is significant: by 2043, only 4% of Morocco’s population will be living in extreme poverty compared to 5.5% in the Current Path forecast. The interventions in the Agriculture scenario will reduce the number of Moroccans living in poverty from 3.7 million in 2019 to 1.78 million by 2043. This is a significant improvement compared to the Current Path forecast, in which the number of people living in poverty will be 2.37 million. Morocco by far outperforms its lower middle-income peer group. In the Agriculture scenario, 33.5% of the population will live below the poverty line by 2043 compared to 38.32% in the Current Path forecast.

Education scenario

Education scenario

The Education scenario represents reasonable but ambitious improved intake, transition and graduation rates from primary to tertiary levels and better quality of education. It also models substantive progress towards gender parity at all levels, additional vocational training at secondary school level and increases in the share of science and engineering graduates.

The intervention is explained here in the thematic part of the website.

In the Education scenario, the mean years of education increases from 6.1 years in 2019 to 8.2 years in 2043. This represents an improvement of 0.2 years over the Current Path forecast of 8 years. Morocco performs significantly worse than its income peer group with an average mean of 7.2 years of education in 2019 that could increase to 8.8 years by 2043 in the Education scenario. The country ranks second to last within North Africa with only Mauritania having worse overall educational outcomes.

Girls are disadvantaged in accessing education in Morocco. In 2019, the mean years of education for females was 5.5 years compared to 6.8 years for males. The interventions in the Education scenario will only slightly reduce the gender gap. Females could reach 7.8 mean years of education by 2043 versus 8.6 years for males. These numbers will be 7.6 and 8.5 for females and males, respectively, on the Current Path.

Morocco’s primary test score in 2019 was 32.4 and therefore lower than average for Africa’s low middle-income countries which was 33.6. However, on the Current Path, Morocco will perform above average reaching a score of 37.4 by 2043 compared to the average score of 35.3 for its peer group. The Education scenario will accelerate progress improving average test scores for primary learners to 43.5 in 2043.

The average test scores for secondary learners in Morocco was 42.3, somewhat above the average of 41.7 for its income peer group. It will increase to 46.5 on the Current Path and to 55.8 in the Education scenario.

Morocco’s GDP per capita will increase to US$10 137 on the Current Path compared to US$10 368 in the Education scenario — a gain of US$236.

In the Education scenario, 5.1% of Morocco’s population will live in extreme poverty by 2043, down from 10.2% in 2019. This translates to 2.2 million poor people in 2043, 170 000 fewer than in the Current Path forecast for 2043.

Manufacturing/transfers scenario

Manufacturing/transfers scenario

The Manufacturing/Transfers scenario represents reasonable but ambitious manufacturing growth through greater investment in the economy, investments in research and development, and promotion of the export of manufactured goods. It is accompanied by an increase in welfare transfers (social grants) to moderate the initial increases in inequality that are typically associated with a manufacturing transition. To this end, the scenario improves tax administration and increases government revenues.

The intervention is explained here in the thematic part of the website.

Chart 30 should be read with Chart 8 that presents a stacked area graph on the contribution to GDP and size, in billion US$, of the Current Path economy for each of the sectors.

In the Manufacturing/Transfers scenario, the service sector will experience the largest gain in terms of its relative contribution to GDP. Its contribution is expected to increase by 0.57 percentage points in 2043. The service sector is followed by the manufacturing sector that will see its relative contribution to GDP increase by 0.18 percentage points in 2043. The increased importance of the service sector is most prevalent between 2035 and 2037 when the sector’s contribution to GDP is up by 0.87 percentage points.

The value of the service sector is forecast to increase by US$11.6 billion in the Manufacturing/Transfers scenario compared to the Current Path forecast. The Manufacturing/Transfers scenario will increase the contribution from the manufacturing sector by US$5.4 billion in 2043 compared to the Current Path. The ICT sector will contribute an additional US$1.6 million in this scenario, increasing its contribution to GDP by 0.15 percentage points.

In the Manufacturing/Transfers scenario, government to household welfare transfers will more than double over the coming two decades from US$10.8 billion in 2019 to US$23 billion in 2043. On the Current Path, government to household transfers will grow at a slower rate reaching US$16 billion in 2043. On both trajectories, Morocco’s level of government to household transfers is significantly lower than the average for its African income peer group. Government to household transfer stood at US$114.2 billion in 2019 and by 2043 will reach US$428.9 billion in the Manufacturing/Transfers scenario versus US$293 billion in the Current Path forecast.

Morocco’s GDP per capita will increase by US$560 in the Manufacturing/Transfers scenario compared to the Current Path reaching US$10 692 in 2043.

The Manufacturing/Transfers scenario will reduce the share of Moroccans living below the poverty line from 10.2% in 2019 to 4% in 2043 compared to 5.5% in the Current Path forecast. This represents a 1.5 percentage point improvement that will translate to 650 000 people escaping poverty in 2043 in the Manufacturing/Transfers scenario.

Leapfrogging scenario

Leapfrogging scenario

The Leapfrogging scenario represents a reasonable but ambitious adoption of and investment in renewable energy technologies, resulting in better access to electricity in urban and rural areas. The scenario includes accelerated access to mobile and fixed broadband and the adoption of modern technology that improves government efficiency and allows for the more rapid formalisation of the informal sector.

The intervention is explained here in the thematic part of the website.

Fixed broadband includes cable modem Internet connections, DSL Internet connections of at least 256 KB/s, fibre and other fixed broadband technology connections (such as satellite broadband Internet, ethernet local area networks, fixed-wireless access, wireless local area networks, WiMAX, etc.).

Morocco, like most lower middle-income African countries, had a very low fixed broadband rate of 5 subscriptions per 100 people in 2019. In the Leapfrogging scenario, fixed broadband is set to increase tenfold to 50 subscriptions per 100 people by 2043 — still a very low number. On the Current Path, the subscription rate will increase to only 28.5. Regarding fixed broadband, Morocco performs above the average of its African income peer group.

Mobile broadband refers to wireless Internet access delivered through cellular towers to computers and other digital devices.

In 2019, Morocco had a mobile broadband subscription rate of 76.8 subscriptions per 100 people, a rate that is significantly higher than the average of 49.06 subscriptions per 100 people for Africa’s lower middle-income economies. In fact, Morocco ranks sixth within its peer group.

Mobile broadband in Morocco will increase rapidly and reach 137 subscriptions per 100 people by 2025 both in the Current Path forecast and in the Leapfrogging scenario. Thereafter, subscriptions increase more slowly as the saturation effect sets in, getting to 153.4 subscriptions per 100 people by 2043. In other words, mobile broadband subscriptions will increase either way but the Leapfrogging scenario accelerates this path by a couple of years.

In 2019, 36.4 million people in Morocco had access to electricity which means that electricity access was universal at a rate of 99.5%. This is why the interventions in the Leapfrogging scenario hardly have any margin to make an impact. In 2043, 43.2 million people will have access to electricity versus 43.1 million in the Current Path. In the Leapfrogging scenario, the access rate will effectively be 99.8%.

Given universal electricity access in Morocco, there is no differential impact on rural versus urban areas either.

In the Leapfrogging scenario, Morocco’s GDP per capita will increase from US$8 256 in 2019 to US$10 428 in 2043 compared to US$10 132 on the Current Path — a difference of US$296. In the Leapfrogging scenario, Africa’s lower middle-income economies will on average have a GDP per capita US$9 619 by 2043.

The interventions in the Leapfrogging scenario are projected to benefit poverty reduction efforts in Morocco. The share of the population living below the US$3.20 poverty line will drop from 10.2% to 5.1% by 2043, compared to 5.5% on the Current Path trajectory. When assessing absolute numbers, the Leapfrogging scenario will reduce the number of people living in poverty to 2.2 million versus the projected 2.4 million in the Current Path forecast. The average poverty rate for Morocco’s lower middle-income peer group on the Current Path is 38.3% — more than 7 times higher and 36% in the Leapfrogging scenario.

Free Trade scenario

Free Trade scenario

The Free Trade scenario represents the impact of the full implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) by 2034 through increases in exports, improved productivity and increased trade and economic freedom.

The intervention is explained here in the thematic part of the website. 

The trade balance is the difference between the value of a country’s exports and its imports. A country that imports more goods and services than it exports in terms of value has a trade deficit, while a country that exports more goods and services than it imports has a trade surplus.

In the Free Trade scenario, Morocco’s exports will increase by 63% in 2043 and imports by 81% in value. Morocco’s 2019 trade deficit stood at −8% of GDP. In the Free Trade scenario, that deficit will reduce significantly until 2027 when it will stand at −1% of GDP. Thereafter, the deficit begins to grow again reaching −8.4% of GDP in 2036 before it eventually stands at −5.5% in 2043. In the Current Path forecast, the trajectory is similar with less pronounced extremes. By 2043, Morocco’s trade deficit is forecast to be −3.7% of GDP.

The implementation of the AfCFTA in the Free Trade scenario reduces the short-term trade deficit for Morocco versus the Current Path forecast. However, between 2039 and 2043, the trade deficit will be lower on the Current Path than in the Free Trade scenario.

The GDP per capita is projected to increase to US$10 132 on the Current Path versus US$11 096 in the Free Trade scenario — a gain of US$964. The Free Trade scenario interventions imply the greatest boost to Morocco’s GDP per capita among the sectoral interventions. The average GDP per capita for Africa’s lower middle-income peer group which will reach US$10 050 in the Free Trade scenario.

Trade openness will reduce poverty in the long term after initially increasing it due to the redistributive effects of trade. Most African countries export primary commodities and low-tech manufacturing products, and therefore a continental free trade agreement (AfCFTA) that reduces tariffs and non-tariff barriers across Africa will increase competition among countries in primary commodities and low-tech manufacturing exports. Countries with inefficient, high-cost manufacturing sectors might be displaced as the AfCFTA is implemented, thereby pushing up poverty rates. In the long term, as the economy adjusts and produces and exports its comparatively advantaged (lower relative cost) goods and services, poverty rates will decline.

In the Free Trade scenario, poverty in Morocco will decrease more rapidly. By 2043, 4.9% of people will live in poverty in the Free Trade scenario compared to 5.5% in the Current Path forecast. The 0.6 percentage point difference translates to 250 000 Moroccans who will escape poverty in the Free Trade scenario.

Financial Flows scenario

Financial Flows scenario

The Financial Flows scenario represents a reasonable but ambitious increase in worker remittances and aid flows to poor countries, and an increase in the stock of foreign direct investment (FDI) and additional portfolio investment inflows to middle-income countries. We also reduced outward financial flows to emulate a reduction in illicit financial outflows.

The intervention is explained here in the thematic part of the website.

Compared to the average for Africa’s lower middle-income countries of 1.67%, foreign aid accounts for a slightly higher share of GDP in Morocco at 1.85% in 2019. In fact, the country ranks 18th out of 23 lower middle-income economies on the continent in terms of aid receipts as a percentage of GDP. In both the Current Path forecast and the Financial Flows scenario, the contribution of foreign aid to GDP is projected to fall to 0.87% of GDP.

FDI flows to Morocco accounted for 2.8% of GDP in 2019, 0.2 percentage points above the average for Africa’s lower middle-income economies. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on FDI flows manifests in the sharp drop to 1.1% in 2020. In the Financial Flows scenario, FDI as a share of GDP is projected to recover and even surpass pre-pandemic levels. By 2043, FDI flows are expected to account for 3.2% of Morocco’s GDP compared to 2.8% in the Current Path forecast. In Africa’s lower middle-income economies, FDI is set to account for 4% in the Financial Flows scenario and for 3.5% on the Current Path.

In 2019, remittance inflows to Morocco accounted for 5% of GDP. By 2043, remittance as a percentage of GDP will drop to 3.4% in the Current Path forecast and to 3.7% in the Financial Flows scenario. However, in absolute terms, remittances will increase from US$7.1 billion in 2019 to US$8.8 billion by 2043, respectively, US$0.8 billion more than in the Current Path forecast. The group of Africa’s lower middle-income economies shows the same trend. On average, the absolute volume of remittances will increase, but their relative contributions to GDP will decrease from about 2.6% in 2019 to 2% in 2043 in the Current Path forecast and 2.3% in the Financial Flows scenario by 2043.

In the Financial Flows scenario, Morocco’s GDP per capita will increase to US$10 258. This represents a gain of US$126 compared to the Current Path forecast.

The interventions in the Financial Flows scenario will reduce the share of Moroccans living in extreme poverty to 5.4% by 2043 compared to 5.5% in the Current Path forecast. This translates to about 30 000 people who will escape poverty in the Financial Flows scenario by 2043 compared to the Current Path.

Infrastructure scenario

Infrastructure scenario

The Infrastructure scenario represents a reasonable but ambitious increase in infrastructure spending across Africa, focusing on basic infrastructure (roads, water, sanitation, electricity access and ICT) in low-income countries and increasing emphasis on advanced infrastructure (such as ports, airports, railway and electricity generation) in higher-income countries.

Note that health and sanitation infrastructure is included as part of the Health/WaSH scenario and that ICT infrastructure and more rapid uptake of renewables are part of the Leapfrogging scenario. The interventions there push directly on outcomes, whereas those modelled in this scenario increase infrastructure spending, indirectly boosting other forms of infrastructure, including those supporting health, sanitation and ICT. 

The intervention is explained here in the thematic part of the website.

In 2019, 36.4 million people in Morocco had access to electricity, which means that electricity access was universal at 99.5% of the population. This is why the interventions in the Infrastructure scenario hardly have any margin to make an impact. In 2043, 43.3 million people will have access to electricity versus 43.1 million in the Current Path. With the Infrastructure scenario, the access rate will effectively be 100%.

Given universal electricity access in Morocco, there is no differential impact on rural versus urban areas either.

Indicator 9.1.1 in the Sustainable Development Goals refers to the proportion of the rural population who live within 2 km of an all-season road and is captured in the Rural Access Index.

Investments in rural road infrastructure are associated with positive socio-economic impacts, such as increased rural incomes and poverty reduction, improving maternal health as well as paediatric health and increased agricultural productivity. In 2019, only 42.9% of Morocco’s rural population had access to an all-weather road. This is 18.5 percentage points below the average access rate for Africa’s lower middle-income economies at 61.4% and almost 33 percentage points below the average for North Africa as a region. The Infrastructure scenario will improve rural road access in Morocco by more than 12 percentage points compared to the Current Path. By 2043, 55.2% of the rural population will have access to an all-weather road compared to 53% in the Current Path forecast.

Improvements in the Infrastructure scenario will increase the GDP per capita from US$8 256 in 2019 to US$10 345 in 2043, US$213 above the Current Path forecast. By 2043, the average GDP per capita for the group of lower middle-income economies will be US$7 335 in the Infrastructure scenario.

In the Infrastructure scenario, the share of Moroccans living in poverty will drop from 10.2% in 2019 to 5.3% in 2043 versus 5.5% on the Current Path. It means that 2.3 million rather than 2.4 million people will live in poverty in that scenario.

Governance scenario

Governance scenario

The Governance scenario represents a reasonable but ambitious improvement in accountability and reduces corruption, and hence improves the quality of service delivery by government.

The intervention is explained here in the thematic part of the website.

As defined by the World Bank, government effectiveness ‘captures perceptions of the quality of public services, the quality of the civil service and the degree of its independence from political pressures, the quality of policy formulation and implementation, and the credibility of the government’s commitment to such policies’.

Chart 51 presents the impact of the interventions in the Governance scenario on government effectiveness.

In 2019, Morocco scored 2.5 on the government effectiveness index. This is far above the average of its income peer group on the continent as well as North Africa’s average both with a score of 1.9. Morocco ranks second among its peers after Cape Verde. In the Current Path forecast and in the Governance scenario, Morocco’s government effectiveness quality score will improve to 2.7 and 2.9, respectively, by 2043.

In the Governance scenario, the GDP per capita will increase to US$10 475 in 2043 compared to US$10 132 on the Current Path.

In the Governance scenario, Morocco will reduce the share of the population living below the poverty line to 5.1% by 2043 compared to 5.5% in the Current Path forecast. The interventions in the Governance scenario will also reduce the number of Moroccans living in poverty to 2.23 million in 2043 compared to 2.37 million on the Current Path.

Impact of scenarios on carbon emissions

Impact of scenarios on carbon emissions

This section presents projections for carbon emissions in the Current Path for Morocco and the 11 scenarios. Note that IFs uses carbon equivalents rather than CO2 equivalents.

Morocco’s carbon emissions in the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario, which combines all the sectoral scenarios, are discussed in Chart 60 (jump link to Chart60). Among the sectoral interventions, the Free Trade scenario will release significantly more carbon than any other scenario, resulting in additional emissions of 2.2 million tons of carbon above the Current Path forecast, which stands at 29 million tons in 2043, up from 6.4 million tons in 2019. The Free Trade scenario is followed by the Agriculture and the Manufacturing/Transfers scenarios which would lead to carbon emissions of 30.5 and 30.3 million tons, respectively, by 2043. The Demographic scenario will have the smallest impact on increasing carbon emissions.

Combined Agenda 2063 scenario

Combined Agenda 2063 scenario

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The Combined Agenda 2063 scenario consists of the combination of all 11 sectoral scenarios presented above, namely the Stability, Demographic, Health/WaSH, Agriculture, Education, Manufacturing/Transfers, Leapfrogging, Free Trade, Financial Flows, Infrastructure and Governance scenarios. The cumulative impact of better education, health, infrastructure, etc. means that countries get an additional benefit in the integrated IFs forecasting platform that we refer to as the synergistic effect. Chart 55 presents the contribution of each of these 12 components to GDP per capita in the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario as a stacked area graph.

The Combined Agenda 2063 scenario will increase Morocco’s GDP per capita by an additional US$3 984 above the Current Path forecast in 2043. Among the sectoral interventions, the Free Trade scenario will have the greatest positive impact on the GDP per capita, with an increase of US$964 in 2043. The second and third largest impact on the GDP per capita will be achieved in the Agriculture and the Manufacturing/Transfers scenarios with additions to the GDP per capita of US$632 and US$560, respectively. The Financial Flows scenario will add the least to GDP per capita of only US$126 by 2043.

Whereas Chart 55 presents a stacked area graph on the contribution of each scenario to GDP per capita as well as the additional benefit or synergistic effect, Chart 56 presents only the GDP per capita in the Current Path forecast and the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario.

In the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario, by 2043 Morocco’s GDP per capita is expected to be US$14 116 — almost 40%, or US$3 984, higher than on the Current Path. The average GDP per capita of its lower middle-income peer group is set to be US$14 170 in that scenario.

Extreme poverty in Morocco will essentially be eradicated in the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario. By 2043, only 1.7% of the population will live below the US$3.20 extreme poverty line, which translates to 750 000 people. In the Current Path forecast, 5.5% of Moroccans, or 2.37 million people, will live in extreme poverty.

See Chart 8 to view the Current Path forecast of the sectoral composition of the economy.

In the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario, the service sector is the only sector that will experience an increase in contribution to Morocco’s GDP compared to the Current Path with an additional 4.7 percentage points. This will translate into an increase in GDP of US$94.2 billion attributable to services alone. The remaining sectors will either remain stable in terms of their contribution to GDP or lose in relative importance, chief among them agriculture and manufacturing with −2.1% and −1.3%, respectively. In absolute terms, however, all sectors will grow. The second largest increase is seen in the manufacturing sector contributing an additional US$32.8 billion to the economy in the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario. The agriculture sector is set to add an additional US$9.2 billion and the ICT sector an additional US$8.3 billion to the economy.

Morocco’s GDP will grow substantially to US$387.9 billion by 2043, compared to US$232.6 billion in the Current Path forecast. In other words, in the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario, by 2043 Morocco’s economy will be close to three times its current size (2.7 times) and more than 66% larger than on the Current Path. Morocco’s economy would be Africa’s 11th largest economy by 2043.

In 2019, Morocco’s carbon emissions stood at 6.4 million tons. In the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario, and due to economic growth and increased energy demand, carbon emissions will increase more than fivefold to 37.4 million by 2043. The difference in projected carbon emissions between the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario and the Current Path forecast is almost 8.4 million tons as Morocco’s economy grows.

Endnotes

  1. Britannica, Morocco – Languages

  2. BBC News, Western Sahara profile, 7 September 2021

  3. World Population Review, Casablanca population 2022

  4. North Africa Post, Informal sector represents 30% of Morocco’s GDP- Central Bank study, 9 January 2021

  5. International Trade Administration, Morocco – Country commercial guide, 10 December 2020

  6. AL Strachan, Conflict analysis of Morocco, GSDRC, January 2014

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Cite this research

Mustapha Jobarteh (2022) Morocco. Published online at futures.issafrica.org. Retrieved from https://futures.issafrica.org/geographic/countries/morocco/ [Online Resource] Updated 19 September 2022.