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Morocco Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

Enduring high unemployment of 10.2% (26.5% among youth), official corruption, and poverty prompt regular localised civil unrest. Although having gained traction since 2016, large protests gathering low thousands should remain geographically contained to the Rif region without threatening political stability or the king’s wider popular legitimacy. King Mohammed VI remains Morocco’s ultimate political arbiter, although 2011 constitutional changes establishing constitutional monarchy ostensibly reduced his direct powers over parliament and the government. Jihadist activity in Morocco is based on small, independent cells. It is likely to draw on returning jihadist fighters from Iraq and Syria. This increases the likelihood of low-capability attacks, particularly targeting tourists such as the recent murder of two Scandinavian tourists on 17 December 2018, by small cells or self-radicalised individuals. Security forces are generally effective at dismantling jihadist cells and disrupting planning for attacks. Onerous bureaucracy and inadequate transparency, particularly in commercial hearings, present the main risks for foreign investors, but Morocco's general compliance with EU standards and pro-investment outlook mitigate these risks. Morocco's use of resources in Western Sahara increases the likelihood of Sahrawi legal challenges in international courts to contracts allegedly promoting the use of Western Saharan resources, mainly in the fishing, mining, and renewable energy sectors. Morocco's economy is growing steadily but is exposed to agricultural volatility: we forecast real GDP growth of 3.1% in 2018 and 3.4% in 2019, before acceleration in 2021–22. Consumer price inflation will stabilise at 1.7% in 2019, after ending 2018 at 1.9%. Fiscal consolidation has slowed, but the budget deficit should improve to 3.4% of GDP in 2019, from an estimated 3.7% in 2018, as government spending remains restrained. The current-account balance deteriorated in early 2018 given higher energy import costs, but healthy export growth and softer oil prices should permit improvement to around 4.0% of GDP in 2019. © 2019, IHS Markit Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
Last update: January 17, 2019

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. Morocco has a large but unskilled labour force. Obstacles to investment include high levels of illiteracy, 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: December 28, 2018

Terrorism

High

Jihadist activity in Morocco focuses on 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 by small cells, or self-radicalised individuals, in the coming year.

Last update: December 28, 2018

War Risks

The territorial dispute over Western Sahara is unlikely to be resolved in the one-year outlook, with infrequent and limited skirmishes involving small-arms fire probable along the border. A renewal of the UN mandate in October 2018 will likely continue preventing direct military confrontation between Morocco and the Polisario Front. The latter's main backer, Algeria, probably wishes to avoid a return to armed conflict.

Last update: December 28, 2018

Social Stability

High

Economically driven protests have gained traction since October 2016 with the emergence of the Rif-based Hirak (movement) and in Jerada in 2018 and have spread nationwide and to urban centres over high living costs and working conditions. 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. Instead, government reshuffles are likely in the one-year outlook. Violent protests are more likely in Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara, where the security forces are more prone to respond with force to rioting by disaffected Sahrawis.

Last update: December 28, 2018

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