Thursday, December 10, 2009

Policy Recommendations

The current policies, implemented between 1999 and now, created by the Moroccan Government, King Mohammed VI, and Bank Al-Maghrib (the Central Bank of Morocco) are aimed at the final objective to become an emerging industrial country by 2015. These policies have already been showing optimism towards Morocco’s growth because they include a diverse and disciplinary approach to the development of the non-agricultural aspect of the Moroccan economy. They are focused on improving non-agricultural employment opportunities and making them more numerous. This includes investments in the creation of special sectorial zones in industry, tourism, and services outsourcing. Moroccan policy makers are trying to avoid depending on agriculture to produce GDP because the yield of crops fluctuate dramatically from year to year and droughts are unpredictable and inevitable. Morocco’s investments in tourism, services, and industry should cause demand growth in Europe, which is Morocco’s key export market and source of tourism, meaning that Morocco should become more attractive to European nations. To explain how I would supplement or change the existing policies in Morocco, I recommend four different plans of action.

Policy makers, dealing with tourism which is looking to become one of Morocco’s most profitable industries, should continue to implement policies that will direct some of Morocco’s GDP away from depending on agriculture. With 45% of Morocco’s population being farmers, government intervention can decrease that amount by giving farmers the incentive to work in industry, tourism, or services. Not only can the government prove that these three occupations are more stable than farming but they can also influence farmers by offering them a promised wage that is set at what the most a farmer could make if their crops yielded as much as it possibly could. They could also offer farmer free or very cheap trainging. On average, agriculture only makes up 14% of Morocco’s GDP. If Morocco wants to make investments that will better its future, the government and Bank Al-Maghrib should work out a deal to decrease the farming population and gradually increase the population of Moroccans in industry, tourism, and service within the next 5 to 10 years by incentivising farmers to stop farming.

Another policy that Morocco should follow to improve its GDP and way of life is to invest in new construction and infrastructure, which they can advertise to attract tourist from around the world. The Moroccan government should dedicate much of its GDP to the creation of new resorts, water parks, and other attractions that would give investors the incentive to invest in Moroccan property and the incentive for tourists to visit. Morocco’s northern border is lined with thousands of miles of coastal land that stretches from the Atlantic Ocean all the way into the Mediterranean Sea. Morocco should take advantage of this ocean front property and build beach resorts and other tourist attractions. This is an investment that I believe would dramatically reshape Morocco’s image in 20 to 30 years.

I believe Morocco, having the second largest GDP (only to Egypt) among Muslim countries without oil, can further increase its GDP by loosening up on religious policy. Although over 98% of the population is Muslim, the Government should make a sacrifice and advocate for the practice of freedom of religion. Moroccans do have a choice to practice other religions, but it is largely looked down upon and scolded because many orthodox Muslims show no tolerance towards other religions (Jewish Virtual Library). If Morocco were to reach a state where people aren’t discriminated because of their religion, I believe they would have an even better chance to increase GDP because tourism would eventually increase, they would be open to negotiate and/or trade with other countries, women would be seen more as equals, and the overall image of Morocco would gradually be changed in the long-run. Although this could cause some adverse effects, such as the entire Muslim world abandoning Morocco, I believe it is worth the risk and within 20 years Morocco could be seen as more of a Muslim European or Muslim Mediterranean country, rather than an orthodox Muslim country.

Although King Mohammed VI announced a change to the personal status code in 2003 that would give women greater rights on matters covering marriage and divorce, I believe allowing Moroccan women to have even more rights would be beneficial to the overall well being of the country. Ever since the beginning of U.S. history we have experienced problems facing women's rights but, even though the U.S. is nothing like Morocco, now American women are attending college more than American men (Marklein. 2005). I believe that if the Moroccan government can overcome the strict nature of Islamic tradition and advocate for the rights of women, eventually women will become more educated and this will give Moroccan’s more people who can grow up and better their country. Although women's rights in the U.S. took over 200 years to come about, I believe Morocco is further ahead in women's rights than most other Muslim countries (Huffington Post. 2009). If the Government and King Mohammed VI allow influential Moroccan women to come up with their own women's rights policies, I believe Moroccan women will experience freedom from being treated as inferior to men within 50 years.

I believe these four policies can eventually give Morocco the chance to become a world power, but they may have some adverse effects. The policies that could experience negative consequences could be the plans to advocate for religious freedom and women's rights. Although I believe these would dramatically benefit Morocco in the long-run, there is a possibility that these policies could cause the rest of the Muslim world to abandon Morocco and show them little to no support, or even opposition, because most Muslim countries believe in following strict traditional Islamic laws, called Sharia (Pipes. 2008). Morocco shouldn’t be worried about other Muslim countries scolding it for changing its views because if Morocco decides to implement these four policies and become more westernized, it may have the support of the U.S. and/or other westernized countries.

Works Cited

Irvine, Stephanie. "Morocco women win rights." BBC NEWS | News Front Page. 11 Oct. 2003. Web. 03 Dec. 2009. <>.

Kadiri, Fadoua. "Religious Freedom in Morocco, smothered or flourishing?" 27 June 2009. Web. 03 Dec. 2009. <,-smothered-or-flourishing_a578.html>

"WTO | Trade policy review - Morocco 2009." World Trade Organization - Home page. 24 June 2009. Web. 03 Dec. 2009. <>

"Jews of Morocco." Jewish Virtual Library - Homepage. Web. 11 Dec. 2009. <>.

Marklein, Mary. "The Coming American Matriarchy -." Reason Magazine. 19 Oct. 2005. Web. 11 Dec. 2009. <>.

"Moroccan Culture Series: Women." Free French Lessons - Learn French at About - Learn, Speak, Teach French. Web. 10 Dec. 2009. <>.

"Morocco: A Look At Women's Rights 5 Years After Reforms." Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post. 06 Sept. 2009. Web. 11 Dec. 2009. <>.

Pipes, Daniel. "Resisting Islamic Law ::." Daniel Pipes. 21 Feb. 2008. Web. 11 Dec. 2009. <>.

Moroccan Money

Morocco’s currency is called the Moroccan Dirham. As of now, the nominal exchange rate for one Moroccan Dirham equals 0.132088 U.S. dollars. The Dirham is the most liquid form of money in Morocco and it has been the stable form of currency since Morocco gained its independence from France in 1956 and it officially replaced the French franc in 1974. The Dirham is a good medium of exchange, store of value, and unit of account because it is accepted by all firms and households in Morocco as the only form of money that buyers give to sellers in exchange for goods and services. Households and firms also use the Dirham as a measurement that Moroccans use to post prices and record debts. The Dirham is also an item that Moroccans can reliably save, store, and retrieve for future purposes and it will be useful when it is retrieved. The Moroccan Dirham is fiat money which is officially decreed by the central bank of Morocco, called the Bank Al-Maghrib. The Bank Al-Maghrib is based in the capital of Rabat and it holds reserves of foreign currency with an estimated worth of 36 billion U.S. dollars. In addition to currency management, Bank Al-Maghrib also has a number of privatized banks thay it supervises by supplying retail services. Inflation in Morocco is only growing at a 2% rate, which is average for developed countries.


Unemployment Rate: 9.50%

Labor Force Participation Rate: 32.39%

Of the Participation Rate:

28.7% Female

71.3% Male

derived from 2005

The most widely available jobs in Morocco are agricultural jobs. 45% of the labor force participates in farming, 20% is involved with industrial jobs, and 35% have service jobs. Industrial jobs include: off shoring, car production, aeronautics, electronics, textiles and leather, and agricultural business (Touahri. 2009). Although land can often be dry because of the unpredictable droughts, farming is one of the most popular occupations in Morocco because a high education isn’t needed to be a farmer and only 52.3% of the Moroccan population is literate. Service occupations, such as tourism jobs, are also popular because many service jobs don’t need high levels of education. Men make up over 70% of the labor force because they are more educated and women are seen as inferior (Moroccan Culture Series: Women). 98% of the Moroccan population is Muslim and follow strict Muslim laws, therefor many women are seen as submissive to their husbands. On average, Moroccan men stay in school for two years longer than the 39% of women who go to school, causing men to be more qualified for certain occupations and causing more men to have an opportunity at an education.

As of right now Morocco is experiencing positive growth, after a period of cyclical unemployment, most likely because of King Mohammed VI who came to the throne in 1999. Before Mohammed VI came to the throne, the government, under rule of King Hassan II, was thought to have been corrupt because of his autocratic rule where he refused to take risks at changing Morocco for the populations well-being (Meldon. 1999). In 2003 the unemployment rate was 19%, but now it is estimated to be 9.5%. This growth in employment can be contributed to the actions of King Mohammed VI and the Moroccan Government who, for example, established the National Pact for Industrial Emergence which is dedicated to investing almost $3 billion towards training, human resources, and other investments to make Moroccan industry more prosperous (Touarhi. 2009).

Works Cited

Meldon, Jerry. "Our Man in Morocco." Third World Traveler. Sept. & oct. 1999. Web. 10 Dec. 2009. <>.

"Moroccan Culture Series: Women." Free French Lessons - Learn French at About - Learn, Speak, Teach French. Web. 10 Dec. 2009. <>.

"NationMaster - Time Series Labor force participation rate, female % of female population ages 15-64 Morocco." NationMaster - World Statistics, Country Comparisons. Web. 10 Dec. 2009. <>.

Touahri, Sarah. "Industrial pact to create 220,000 jobs in Morocco by 2015 ()." 19 Feb. 2009. Web. 10 Dec. 2009. <>.

International Trade

Morocco participates in outward-oriented policies when it comes to trade. Morocco’s imports include crude petroleum, textile fabric, telecommunications equipment, wheat, gas and electricity, transistors, and plastics. It mostly imports and exports from France and Spain. Its exports consist of clothing and textiles, electric components, inorganic chemicals, transistors, crude mineral, fertilizers (phosphates), petroleum products, citrus fruits, vegetables, and fish (Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. 2009).

On January 1, 2006, Morocco signed the United States-Morocco Free Trade Agreement which allowed U.S. exports to gain immediate duty-free access to the Moroccan market and the U.S. now provides Morocco with technical assistance supporting Free Trade Agreement compliance and regulatory reform (United States Trade Representative. 2009). In 2004 Morocco also signed the Agadir Agreement with Egypt, Jordan, and Tunisia which removed all tariffs on trade between these four countries (European Comission. 2004). Although it is not stated on the web, it can be assumed that Morocco charges tariffs on exports and imports to and from France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Great Britain, India, and even Japan because these are Morocco’s only other main trade partners. Moroccos main and most profitable legal export is phosphorous for fertilizer. Another major export is hashish, although it is illegal. Unlike his father Hassan II, King Mohammed VI is tolerant towards the export of hashish into Spain and other European countries because he sees the its affluent affects to the many Moroccan cities, such as Tangiers (Pelhamin. 2000). Morocco’s main trading partner is France because Morocco gained independence from the French in the 1970s and a majority of Moroccans speak French. Morocco trades among their comparative advantage. Because it has a comparative advantage in phosphates and hashish, Morocco can produce those at lower opportunity costs and more efficiently (Afrol News) (Cannabis in Morocco).

Works Cited

"Afrol News - Major phosphate trader out of Western Sahara." Afrol News - African News Agency. Web. 10 Dec. 2009. <>.

"Cannabis in Morocco: Introduction." Laurent Laniel - DrugSTRAT - Drugs&Strategy - Homepage. Web. 10 Dec. 2009. <>.

"European Commission : Trade : Morocco (Bilateral relations)." EUROPA - European Commission - Homepage. Web. 10 Dec. 2009. <>.

"Morocco Free Trade Agreement |." Office of the United States Trade Representative. Web. 10 Dec. 2009. <>.

Pelhamin, Nick. "Morocco's king shows tolerance as late rains bring record hashish crop - Africa, World - The Independent." The Independent | News | UK and Worldwide News | Newspaper. 15 Aug. 2000. Web. 10 Dec. 2009. <>.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Morocco Data Table and Analysis

Data Table & Analysis

GDP $137.126 billion
GDP real growth rate 5.90%
GDP per capita $4,362
Population living below the poverty line 15%
Life expectancy 71.8 years
Adult literacy 52.30%
Birth Rate 20.96 births/ 1,000 population
Death Rate 5.45 death/ 1,000 population
Population Growth Rate 1.48%
Age structure 0-14: 30%
15-64: 64.7%
65 and older: 5.2%

derived from CIA World Factbook

Compared to the 193 other countries in the world, Morocco has the 59th highest GDP, the 93rd highest population growth rate, and the 125th oldest life expectancy age. As the population is growing by 1.48% (93rd lowest in the world. Slightly high compared to developed countries) a year, Morocco's GDP per capita is small ($4,362. 148th lowest in the world), but is growing from year to year despite the fact that money in the Moroccan economy is having to be spread between more and more people. Since Morocco is considered a Third World developing country and it has a low GDP per capita, Moroccan citizens have poor quality of life. Although Moroccan’s are poor compared to the rest of the world, only 15% of the Moroccan population lives below the poverty line. This can be contributed to the fact that only 52.3% of the population is literate, therefore uneducated, making it harder for them to make more money. The majority of jobs in Morocco (44.6% of the labor force are farmers) don’t require an education and they have decent pay when compared to other Moroccans, so this can contribute to the fact that only 15% of the population is in poverty. Fewer school-age children are in school because Moroccan parents would rather have their children spend their time earning money through work, rather than using that time to get an education. Only 63% of school-age children attend school in Morocco (Arye L. Hillman. 2004).

Being a poor country, Morocco has poor health care, which is why only 5.2% of the population is 65 or older. The low percent of old population is due to insufficient health care, which is also a reason why 3.7% of births are fatal. Of the population that is literate, only 39% are females because the main religion is muslim (98.7% of the population), so women are traditionally treated as inferior and get married young so as to raise kids, avoiding a money making job. Although women do have the option to work, they are traditionally stay at home moms. If females do attend school, they only attend for 9 years on average, whereas males attend for 11 years on average.

Morocco’s low GDP per capita may be indirectly linked to Morocco’s geography and government. It is located in the dry Sahara desert of northern Africa, making the land poor for farming and making natural resources minimal. It does have an open economy, but because of the location it doesn’t have much to trade with other countries. Ruled by a constitutional monarchy, Morocco may have also been a possible victim of corrupt government, or the king may not have had an incentive to better the quality of living for his population (Abderrahim El Ouali.2006). The government, being ruled by Muslims, also may have no incentive to democratize or westernize because it strictly believes in Muslim tradition.

El Ouali, Abderrahim. "CORRUPTION-MOROCCO: Worries Rise With It - IPS" IPS Inter Press Service. 21 Feb. 2006. Web. 09 Dec. 2009. .

Hillman, Arye L. "Educating Children in Poor Countries." International Monetary Fund. Economic Issues, 20 June 2004. Web. 8 Dec. 2009. .

Central Intelligence Agency. (2009). The World Factbook: Morocco. Updated November 7, 2009, Retrieved November 22, 2009, from


Morocco’s productivity focus’ on its physical capital, human capital, natural resources, and technological knowledge. Physical capital is produced primarily from industrial parks (mostly in Casablanca and Tangier), the governments decision to switch to privatization, and the many manufacturing factories. Morocco’s main source of physical capital comes from industrial parks, such as the Casablanca Tehcnopark and the Tanger-Med industrial port. Human capital is based on education and the skills it takes to be productive. Only 52.3% of the population is literate and have received an education where above 45% of the population is involved in agriculture, even though farming produces only 14% of the countries GDP. Morocco’s most profitable natural resources consist of phosphates, fish, citruses, manganese, lead, silver, and copper (Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. 2009). Morocco’s technological advancements have somewhat caused them to keep up with the rest of the world. Over 10 million people in Morocco use the internet and in 2001 Morocco established the Casablanca Technopark to improve all industrial aspects including technology. The Technopark provides training programs for students, whose careers involve technology, and serves as human capital. It is also Morocco’s first industrial park which provides information technology, training programs, and consists of 132 companies (International Business Wiki). Its main purposes are to enhance information technology, software engineering, and IT ventures.

The industrial poles, such as the Technopark in Casablanca, have been giving companies in Morocco more optimism. These industrial parks allow company owners to avoid overhead costs and fees by using the same facilities to conduct business. This also allows company owners to formulate and share ideas together. Morocco’s low literacy rate may be due to the fact that 45% of the labor force population is involved with agriculture, meaning they don’t need to be able to read to farm (CIA World Factbook). This could be one of the determinants of Morocco’s struggle to develop and earn more GDP. Much of Morocco’s natural resources can be determined by the weather in Morocco because much of the natural resources are citruses and other agricultural products. Since it is a dry country, some years can be more profitable than others. Phosphates are Morocco’s most profitable resource because it is a fertilizer mineral than can be mined and sold to other countries. Morocco’s industrial parks have allowed Morocco to keep up with technological advancements and they have increased the population of Morocco’s middle class by giving poor people the opportunity to be educated and get better jobs. Another thing that causes changes in productivity is the celebration of the Muslim holiday Ramadan where muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking, or doing anything in excess or ill-natured, including some work (Bennmehdi. 2008).

Works Cited

Bennmehdi, Hassan. "Productivity drops during Ramadan in Morocco ()." 19 Sept. 2008. Web. 09 Dec. 2009. <>.

"CIA - The World Factbook -- Morocco." Welcome to the CIA Web Site Central Intelligence Agency. Web. 09 Dec. 2009. <>.

"Morocco (03/09)." U.S. Department of State. Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, Mar. 2009. Web. 09 Dec. 2009. <>.

"Morocco's Technology - International Business - a Wikia wiki." International Business Wiki. Web. 09 Dec. 2009. <'s_Technology>.

Savings & Investments

Morocco is currently investing in capital so as to grow their GDP with the new King Mohammed VI, who came to the throne in 1999. King Mohammed VI allowed the establishment of the Casablanca Technopark which is increasing Moroccan investors optimism towards a better future. With Morocco’s new industrial poles, long term growth is possible and probable. In 2008 Morocco spent 32.1% of its GDP on investments. In a June, 2000 interview with Time Magazine, Mohammed VI explained his belief that education is the most important aspect of life. He is also currently trying to build Morocco’s education so as to make Morocco prosperous in the long run. Also, in his interview, Mohammed VI explained how his father was a strict conservative ruler, but Mohammed VI promises to Time Magazine that he will change Morocco for the better now that he is king (Scott Macleod interview with Mohammed VI. 2000).

Read the interview at:


"The King Speaks." Interview by Scott Macleod. Time 20 June 2000. Print.

Getting my picture with a snake in Marrakech Plaza Djemaa el Fna

Getting my picture with a snake in Marrakech Plaza Djemaa el Fna

Cooking a lambs head in our hostel

Cooking a lambs head in our hostel

Bargaining for Keepsakes.

Bargaining for Keepsakes.

Surfing in Essaouira

Surfing in Essaouira
My brother and I attempting to ride our first waves on the East side of the Atlantic