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Morocco Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

The government announced on 6 August a USD12.8 billion “Economic Relaunch Pact”. The authorities, however, have not provided further information. Combined with the planned austerity measures as part of the 2021 Finance Bill, this will likely increase social discontent and localised protests due to economic losses, especially among the most impacted sectors. As such, protests and strikes organised by healthcare and transport sector unions have occurred throughout the outbreak, and are likely to continueNationwide protests similar to those since 2018 are unlikely, but the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to further highlight longstanding issues, including access and capacity in the healthcare sector and regional disparities, which the government is more likely to be blamed for rather than the king. Nonetheless, the government's rapid response, the contribution of Morocco's business and political elite, the weakness of the opposition, and the broad support that the monarchy enjoys will likely mitigate political stability risks.Jihadist activity is based on small, independent cells, which are likely to draw on returning jihadist fighters from Iraq and Syria. This increases the likelihood of low-capability attacks, particularly targeting tourists. Security forces are generally effective at dismantling jihadist cells and disrupting planning of attacks. Morocco’s economy is forecasted to contract by 3.8% y/y, mainly due to drought, which has decreased agricultural revenue, and to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is expected to lead to lower tourism receipt, remittances, and merchandise manufacturing exports. Owing to Morocco’s relatively low foreign reserves (around USD25 billion), the country has requested financial support from the International Monetary Fund (USD3 billion), African Development Bank (EUR264 million), and Arab Monetary Fund (USD211 million) to cope with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Morocco will likely seek additional external funding, as the government approved a law to suspend the country’s USD3 billion foreign debt ceiling in April.
Last update: September 9, 2020

Operational Outlook

Morocco's operational environment has benefited from the relaxation of regulations affecting foreign investment and the opening of the economy to the private sector. The 2016 investment charter restructured investment promotion under a centralised agency and developed free zones. Remaining obstacles to investment include high levels of illiteracy, unskilled labour, high non-salary costs of employing workers, pervasive corruption, and a slow-moving bureaucracy. Infrastructure investment has focused on expanding and improving sea, rail, and road links.

Last update: June 17, 2020

Terrorism

High

Jihadist activity in Morocco consists of small, independent cells with few members, organised around charismatic individuals who will likely draw on returning jihadist fighters from Iraq and Syria. These cells are generally divided between those planning attacks in Morocco and those recruiting young men to fight abroad, especially in Europe. The security forces are highly effective at disrupting cells in the planning stages of attacks. Nonetheless, the increasing geographical spread of groups increases the likelihood of successful low-capability attacks in the coming year by small cells, or self-radicalised individuals. In 2019, Morocco re-established military conscription, probably partly aimed at scaling up its military capabilities in case of destabilisation along its borders.

Last update: June 17, 2020

Crime

Crime levels are moderate in Morocco but are higher in areas with increased tourist density such as Marrakesh. They are also likely to increase during and following the COVID-19 virus pandemic, given that large sections of the population are classified as daily income earners whose livelihoods are directly affected by the confinement measures. Tourists are the principal targets for petty crime, including pickpocketing, credit-card fraud, and theft, as well as assaults and muggings. Sexual harassment can be a problem for both female expatriates and Moroccan women. The production and shipment of drugs is a major illicit industry in the northern provinces. Violent crimes in Morocco account for up to 10% of total crimes, most of which are related to the drug trade, with powerful criminal interests occasionally attacking each other. The penalties for trafficking and the possession of illegal drugs are severe.

Last update: June 17, 2020

War Risks

The territorial dispute over Western Sahara is unlikely to be resolved in the one-year outlook; infrequent and limited skirmishes involving small-arms fire are probable along the border. Renewals of the UN mandate will likely continue preventing direct military confrontation between Morocco and the Polisario Front, and the latter's main backer, Algeria, which probably wishes to avoid a return to armed conflict. Ongoing political transition in Algeria and change in the Polisario leadership further reduce the likelihood of an armed conflict.

Last update: June 17, 2020

Social Stability

High

Economically driven protests have gained traction since October 2016 with the emergence of the Rif-based Hirak movement in 2017 and with protests in Jerada since 2018. Protests have spread nationwide and to urban centres over high living costs, working conditions, and lack of economic (work) opportunities. Co-ordinated labour union actions are likely to mount mainly peaceful strikes in multiple sectors. These are, however, unlikely to significantly threaten government stability or the monarchy's legitimacy. COVID-19-related confinement measures are likely to prompt protests demanding the re-opening of businesses. Protests are unlikely to involve salaried workers, whose incomes have not been significantly impacted.

Last update: September 15, 2020

Health Risk

Very high

Vaccinations required to enter the country

No vaccinations are required to enter the country.

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Other Vaccinations

Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).

Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).

Meningococcal Meningitis: For prolonged stays, or in case your travels will put you in close contact with a local population affected by an epidemic of the disease (for children over the age of two years).

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Natural Risks

Very high

Morocco is situated in an active seismic region; an earthquake struck near Al-Hoceima in February 2004 (northeast), leaving 300 people dead. In July 2017, two more earthquakes struck Al-Hoceima (magnitude 4.0) and Saidia (magnitude 4.9), leaving minor damage.

Furthermore, significant flooding in the High Atlas valley can also take place during the rainy season (November to March). Torrential rains may sporadically damage roads and result in landslides. Localized flooding is generally due to poor water discharge systems.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Transportation

Elevated

Traffic accidents are a major concern. Morocco has a record of poor road safety, partly due to local driving habits (e.g. poor-quality vehicles, high speed driving, disobeying driving laws, etc.). Poor street lighting and harsh weather conditions also contribute to the high rate of accidents.

"Petits taxis" - smaller taxis that are commonly found in most cities - hold up to three passengers. Most such taxis are metered. Some petits taxis will pick up additional passengers traveling the same route, at which point the fare will be divided. Each town features its own particular color for petits taxis; for example, they are red in Casablanca and blue in Rabat. Petits taxis are generally recommended for use rather than public transportation within cities. "Grands taxis" are usually white Mercedes cars that use fixed urban or interurban routes. They can be crowded and uncomfortable. These are generally not recommended for use by visitors except in rural areas where there are no other transportation options.

Buses may be used to travel between certain cities. Comfort and safety may vary according to the chosen company.

Train networks are poorly maintained and delays are common.

Moroccan international airports adhere to international air safety standards. Security personnel are present and the government has taken steps to improve airport security, especially since the terrorist attacks in Paris of November 2015.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Infrastructure

Telecommunications networks are good in major cities, with available internet access and developed 4G networks. However, access to telecommunications networks is limited in rural areas.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

The climate in Morocco varies by elevation and by region, with Mediterranean conditions in the north, more temperate conditions in the west, and arid conditions in the south.

The climate along the coast is temperate; between May and October the region experiences pleasant temperatures and sunny days. Winters are cooler but still sunny. The ocean remains cool throughout the year on the Atlantic coast. The Sirocco and Chergui, hot and dry winds from the Sahara, sometimes sweep through the country and significantly raise temperatures, particularly inland. In the mountainous regions conditions are cold and damp during the winter months with snow falling in the Atlas Mountains.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +212
Police-Emergency (inside agglomerations): 19
Royal Gendarmerie (outside agglomerations): 177
Fire Dept., Ambulance: 15

Electricity

Voltage: 127/220 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019