Morocco: A two-speed country

8:22 PM Aida Alami 0 Comments

While Morocco takes pride in its pro-market, macroeconomic reforms, which spur competition and foreign direct investment, the economy’s progress as a whole - which still depends on agriculture - falls short of sizzling growth.
The kingdom's major infrastructure projects include modern highways, tourism, a growing manufacturing sector, a nascent aeronautics industry, a new port and free trade zone near the city of Tangier in the north, and a massive solar plant in the country's remote southern desert with a renewable electricity goal of 40 percent by 2020.
Such projects, however, are not generating enough employment in a country where - according to the World Bank - more than a fifth of young people are out of work.
This has created a two-speed Morocco.
The country's business community is gaining higher exports from the "new" industries [cars, aeronautics, and electronics], while this year's poor harvest drags down total GDP growth below two percent in 2016.
"Morocco’s economic model, based on attracting foreign investment in carefully selected sectors and building major infrastructure projects, is not really sustainable in the long term," Riccardo Fabiani, a senior analyst of Eurasia, told Al Jazeera.
Corruption in Morocco remains widespread in both the public and business spheres, Fabiani said, leading the country to slide backwards in terms of high unemployment, poverty, illiteracy and stalling living standards.
"The mega projects are rarely supported by a buoyant, local business environment. Their impact is limited by these structural weaknesses," Fabiani added.
"In addition, in the past five years the government has reduced spending by cutting public sector jobs and subsidies. This has pushed many young Moroccans to look for precarious jobs in the informal sector, despite having university degrees."
To the detriment of Moroccans, improving access to health and education are considered low priority compared with the push to build mega projects, said Omar Hyani, a Rabat-based financial analyst and city councilor.

Rest of the story on the Al Jazeera Website

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