A brand new Menas Associates off-the-shelf publication for 2018. Morocco Focus is produced monthly and analyses the political, economic, and security challenges that the country faces. If you would like to receive a free copy, then hit the button below:
The Forecast, 2018
Below is a summary of The Forecast: Morocco 2018 – download the pdf version of the document here:
Domestic politics and policy
The underlying risk of social unrest remains real.
Government data suggests that the Moroccan security forces remain on top of the local recruitment of jihadists to Islamic State (IS) and other terrorist networks, and that local intelligence will limit further serious attacks on tourist sites within Morocco. By the end of 2017, Morocco’s security services had reportedly intercepted and detained a total of nine terrorist networks, 186 terrorists and 20 jihadists returning to Morocco from conflict zones in Libya, Syria and Iraq.
However, the risk of domestic infiltration, particularly in areas of high unemployment and official neglect remains high, although notably not within the civil protest movement in Al Hoceima.
The still-unresolved status of the Western Sahara — over which Morocco has claimed sovereignty since the mid-1970s — continues to act as a drag on external diplomatic energies and resources. This issue has little prospect of being resolved in 2018.
Morocco will remain a stable and relatively dynamic economic partner in 2018, but frustration about inequality, territorial imbalances and a sense of underachievement against its own vision of economic development will remain. King Mohamed VI admitted as much in a speech in October 2017, surprising many observers by saying that ‘our national development model no longer responds to citizens’ growing demands and pressing needs; it has not been able to reduce disparities between segments of the population, correct inter-regional imbalances or achieve social justice.’
Energy & Other Indusrty
Morocco’s exports continue to diversify faster than that of its neighbours, above all the hydrocarbon-dependent Algeria, which is now facing stiff competition from Morocco’s overtures to Chinese investors.
- Morocco’s success in attracting offshore automotive assembly plants now means that cars represent Morocco’s largest export.
- Chinese electric car manufacturer BYD has recently joined Samsung’s plans to establish electric car manufacturing plants in the Tangler free zone.
- Aerospace also remains a key sector for expansion, with plans to more than double existing jobs from 11,500 to 34,500 by 2020.
Latest blog pieces
The EU announced on 14 December that it would commit an additional €118 million (US$133 million) to help Morocco tackle human trafficking and strengthen border management. The approved projects mean that the EU has pledged €148 million (US$167 million) to Morocco in...read more
Rai al-Youm — an online Arabic language newspaper that is critical of the Saudi government — reported from ‘well-informed sources’ that, despite multiple requests from Riyadh, the Moroccan government has refused to extradite Prince Mansour bin Abdullah al-Saud who is...read more
Morocco's King Mohammed VI's 12 October speech to both Houses of Parliament in Rabat to open the new legislative year mainly focused on the disparity between economic development in the country’s rural and urban areas, and the subsequent need for rural development....read more