Morocco Country Report
The king remains the ultimate political arbiter in Morocco, despite the 2011constitutional changes establishing a constitutional monarchy. There is persistent jihadist intent to attack tourists, including by jihadist returnees from Syria and Iraq, but effective security forces regularly dismantle jihadist cells. Although having gained traction since 2016, protests are likely to remain geographically limited to the Rif region. Catalysts include corruption, police violence, and delays to investment projects.
Morocco's use of resources in Western Sahara raises protest risks and increases the likelihood of Sahrawi legal challenges to contracts through international courts, most likely in fishery, mining, and renewable energy. Onerous bureaucracy and lack of transparency present the main risks to foreign investors, but Morocco's general compliance with EU standards and pro-investment outlook largely mitigate these risks.
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 new investment charter restructured investment promotion under a centralised agency and developed free zones. The government prioritises structural and legal reforms improving protection for foreign investors. 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.
Jihadist activity in Morocco focuses on small, independent cells with few members, organised around charismatic individuals likely drawing 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. 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.
The territorial dispute over Western Sahara is unlikely to be resolved in the foreseeable future, with infrequent and limited skirmishes involving small-arms fire probable along the border. The renewal of the UN mandate in April 2018 is likely to 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.
Economically driven protests, although having gained traction since October 2016 with the emergence of the Rif-based Hirak (movement) and in Jerada in 2018, are likely to remain geographically limited to the Rif. Widespread, politically destabilising protests would occur in the unlikely event of rapid cuts in food subsidies. Although peaceful, solidarity marches and protests occur nationwide. Co-ordinated labour union actions are likely to mount mainly peaceful strikes in multiple sectors, but are unlikely to threaten government stability. Violent protests are more likely in Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara, where the security forces are likely to respond with force to rioting by disaffected Sahrawis.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
No vaccinations are required to enter the country.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Police-Emergency (inside agglomerations):||19|
|Royal Gendarmerie (outside agglomerations):||177|
|Fire Dept., Ambulance:||15|
Voltage: 127/220 V ~ 50 Hz