Morocco’s Ambassador to Austria, Lotfi Bouchaara, was elected on Monday as first vice-president of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ), during the 26th session of the Commission, which runs through May 26.
Morocco's net international reserves amounted to 241.9 billion dirhams until May 12, 2017, Bank Al-Maghrib said.
During the week of May 11-17, Bank Al-Maghrib injected 20 billion dirhams.
As for the interbank rate, it remained at 2.28%, while the average trading volume increased from 4.9 billion dirhams one week before to 5.5 billion dirhams, the central bank pointed out in its weekly indicators.
During the same period, the Dirham depreciated by 0.86% against the Euro and appreciated by 1.35% against the dollar.
MAP 22 May 2017
Aaron Mike Oquaye, Speaker of the Ghanaian Parliament expressed, here Monday, his country's willingness to take advantage of the pioneering Moroccan experience in Africa in several vital sectors.
Washington, DC, May 22, 2017, Moroccan American Center for Policy (MACP) – In the twelve years since its implementation, the US-Morocco Free Trade Agreement (FTA) has dramatically exceeded the predictions initially set by the United States International Trade Commission (ITA), according to a new report published today by the Moroccan American Center for Policy chronicling the origins and impact of the deal.
“In broad terms, the ITA… predicted that US exports were ‘likely to increase by $740.0 million, and US imports from Morocco [were] likely to increase by $198.6 million,’” stated the report, titled “Exceeding Expectations: The US-Morocco FTA.” “US exports were able to hit this target by 2007, in just its second year of implementation. Through mostly sustained improvement up to 2016, US exports to Morocco have actually increased by about $1.4 billion, amounting to a 286 percent boost.” Meanwhile, “Moroccan exports to the US reached their target in 2008,” and since 2010 “have seen consistent improvement,” growing by about $560 million overall.
The report notes that of the six US free trade agreements implemented between 2004 and 2010 (Chile and Singapore in 2004, Bahrain and Morocco in 2006, and Oman and Peru in 2009), “Morocco’s success stands out among this group. In the first two years following implementation, US exports to Morocco shot up by 118 percent, nearly double the percentage of the next most successful over a similar time period . Moroccan exports to the US grew by 18 percent as total bilateral trade grew by 68 percent—the highest among this group of FTA partners. In terms of jobs, the Morocco FTA was again the top performer, with an estimated 101 percent increase in US jobs supported by exports to Morocco over the same period.”
In addition to generating economic benefits for both countries, the FTA kicked off a series of initiatives further strengthening the US-Morocco bilateral relationship and Morocco’s reform trajectory, “one of the US’s primary goals” for the deal. Indeed the report offers an overview of the largely political impetus behind the FTA— the US’s first in Africa — noting that it was seen by President George W. Bush’s Administration as a reward for Morocco’s support in the war on terror and as recognition of the two countries’ centuries-old friendship. Congressional support for this view and for the possibility of opening new markets for US exports was overwhelming. In July 2004, the US Senate voted 85-13 in favor of the United States-Morocco Free Trade Implementation Act; and the House of Representatives followed suit with a 323-99 vote in favor. The momentum continued, and in 2007 and again in 2013, Morocco signed two consecutive Millennium Challenge Corporation Compacts; and in 2012, the US and Morocco launched a bilateral Strategic Dialogue—one of about two dozen such agreements in existence.
“From both a political and economic standpoint, the US-Morocco Free Trade Agreement is a prime example of trade policy done right, where both sides benefit, and where the United States strengthens a relationship with a critical friend and ally,” said report author and MACP Director of Research & Policy Analysis David S. Bloom.
Contact: Jordana Merran, 202.470.2049
The Moroccan American Center for Policy (MACP) is a non-profit organization whose principal mission is to inform opinion makers, government officials, and interested publics in the United States about political and social developments in Morocco and the role being played by the Kingdom of Morocco in broader strategic developments in North Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East.
This material is distributed by the Moroccan American Center for Policy on behalf of the Government of Morocco. Additional information is available at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC.
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On January 1st, 2017, the US-Morocco FTA (Free Trade Agreement) began its 12th year enforcing liberalized commercial exchange between two historic allies. The FTA has surpassed moderate expectations for its economic impact, and has been a success story for both sides. This paper will describe how Morocco became the US’s first free-trade partner in Africa, and evaluate its economic and political impact compared to expectations. Finally, avenues for improving the FTA and general US-Morocco economic cooperation will be evaluated.
Click the image below to view the report:
A delegation of the Italian-Moroccan Inter-Parliamentary Union expressed, on Thursday in the southern city of Laayoune, their satisfaction with the development projects initiated in the southern provinces, stressing that the “reality contrasts with the false allegations of the Polisario”.
Malawi's withdrawal of its recognition of the SADR is "a positive sign of the growing acceptance of Morocco’s legitimacy" over the Sahara, the Ghana Institute of Governance and Security (GIGS) said.
"According to GIGS, the solidarity of the vast majority of African Union (AU) countries is indicative of the international legality and the truth about the artificial conflict" around the Sahara, Ghanaian news paper 'The Ghanaian Times' reported.
The United Nations announced, On Friday afternoon, that Christopher Ross has ceased, since April 30, to hold the position of the United Nations Personal Envoy for the Sahara.
"Concerning a question asked at the daily press briefing, we wish to clarify that Christopher Ross has ceased, since April 30, 2017, to assume the role of the personal envoy of the secretary-general for the Sahara," said UN spokesman Farhan Haq in a clarification sent to journalists accredited to the UN.
Foreign minister Nasser Bourita underlined, on Sunday in Riyadh, the need and the importance of solid ties between countries of the Arab-Islamic World and the United States to address the challenges facing the region.
In a statement to MAP, on the sidelines of the Arab-Islamic-American Summit, Bourita underscored the importance of inaugurating a new era in relations between the Arab-Islamic World and the United States given the challenges facing the region and linked mainly to terrorism and the meddling by some states in the domestic affairs of Muslim countries.
Russia commends the economic, social, and political reforms undertaken by Morocco, a country known for its stability in the MENA region and worldwide, said Russia's ambassador to Rabat Valery Vorobiev.
Russia also welcomes the foreign policy of Morocco, Vorobiev said in a speech on Friday at a ceremony held at the Russian embassy on the occasion of his country's national day, noting that the entire world has witnessed the enormous efforts made by HM King Mohammed VI for the return of the Kingdom to the African Union (AU) after a long absence.
The actions of HM King Mohammed VI in Africa have always been in favor of a continent more responsive to changes, more present on the international scene and more attentive to diversities, said Youssef Amrani, Chargé de mission at the Royal Cabinet, who was speaking, on Friday in Casablanca, at a forum on "The rise of nationalisms: What future for globalization?"
In 2016, Morocco was granted a third two-year Precautionary and Liquidity Line (PLL)—a provisionary line of credit from the IMF—which Morocco uses as an insurance instrument against external risks such as severe trade imbalances while supporting its efforts to promote higher and more inclusive growth. During its annual review conducted recently, Mitsuhiro Furasawa, IMF Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair, said, “Morocco’s sound economic fundamentals and overall strong record of policy implementation have contributed to a solid macroeconomic performance in recent years. The external position remained strong in 2016, as international reserves further increased despite a higher-than-expected current account deficit. While fiscal developments were less favorable than expected, this was due in part to slower growth and accelerated value-added tax reimbursements. Growth is expected to rebound in 2017 and accelerate gradually over the medium term, subject to improved external conditions and steadfast reform implementation.”
So, on both fronts—external trade and domestic reforms—Morocco is making progress, but not without continuing challenges. Mr. Furasawa pointed out, “This outlook remains subject to significant downside risks, including from weak growth in Morocco’s main trading partners, geopolitical risks, and global policy uncertainty. In this context, Morocco’s PLL Arrangement with the IMF continues to serve as valuable insurance against external risks and supports the authorities’ economic policies.”
This comes against a backdrop of a broad program to stimulate economic growth, encourage greater participation in the economy by women, and several investment stimulus measures waiting for action in Parliament. Mr. Furasawa noted that “The authorities are committed to further reducing fiscal and external vulnerabilities while strengthening the foundations for higher and more inclusive growth. Building on progress made in recent years, further fiscal consolidation is needed… Finally, improving the business climate and governance, competitiveness, access to finance, and labor market policies is essential to raise potential growth, reduce persistently high unemployment levels, especially among the youth, and increase female labor participation.”
Similar recommendations were included in the World Bank’s Country Economic Memorandum (CEM), which focused on these issues and quoted King Mohammed VI’s call to better develop Morocco’s “intangible capital” to identify other recommended policy priorities. The report notes, “Morocco stands out as an exception in a turbulent Arab world. It has considerable assets to be able to drive up its distinctiveness and become the first non–oil-producing North African country to join the ranks of upper-middle-income countries by the next generation. To achieve this goal, Morocco can take up real drivers for change on both the political level (the stability of its leadership), the institutional level (the values and principles endorsed by the 2011 Constitution), and the economic, social and environmental levels (normative convergence with the European Union) to build its intangible capital, the main source of any future shared prosperity.”
The CEM acknowledges the great progress that Morocco has made through a series of reforms that have moved sectors of the economy forward, improved the quality of life for most Moroccans, generated more jobs, and supported a range of “significant social and economic achievements over the past fifteen years.” It cautions that “Bringing Morocco’s improved development outcomes to the next level and achieving economic convergence with Southern European countries will require it to further deepen and integrate sector and governance reforms.”
So, what is this “intangible capital” to which the King referred? It refers to enhancing the productivity of the Moroccan economy through strengthening the quality of the institutional, human, and social capital of the country; in short, an advanced social contract based on more efficient and inclusive institutions, better and healthier options for individual growth, and a society that provides opportunities for better health and work outcomes.
Jean-Pierre Chauffour, World Bank Lead Economist and author of the report, believes that Morocco’s youth bulge can be turned into a long-term asset by reforms that remove obstacles to business development; an overhaul of the educational system to produce a qualified workforce of men and women operating in a mobile labor market; and a progressive market-oriented economy that eschews obstacles to trade in order to boost productivity and promote conditions that support fair market conditions for investors small and large, domestic and foreign.
Specific measures related to education and health are proposed “to achieve an ‘education miracle’ and give Moroccan students the needed skills to integrate into a more competitive job market.” According to the CEM, “Morocco’s ability to empower and mobilize greater economic opportunities for women will be instrumental to significantly enhance economic growth.” Finally, the CEM views the strengthening of institutions and the country’s governance model as key preconditions to reinforce the rule of law and place the Moroccan citizen at the heart of its development model. This ranges from more accountable and efficient public services to giving voice to citizens and enhancing respect, interpersonal trust and civic duty.
Among challenges highlighted in the report are the following:
- Although barely 15 kilometers separate the kingdoms of Morocco and Spain, the average Moroccan’s purchasing power stood at only 22.5% of its immediate European neighbor in 2015.
- The country is ranked 126th worldwide out of 187 countries on the Human Development Index and 91st of 157 countries on the World Happiness Index, a more subjective index measuring well-being, trust in society, solidarity, and the feeling of freedom.
- Whereas the unemployment rate for unskilled young people is 4.5%, the rate is 21.7% for young technical college graduates and 24.6% for young university graduates, even as growing numbers of young people are entering university. Moreover, approximately 90% of young people who do have a job do not have an employment contract and work in the informal economy, indicative of the insecurity of their employment situation.
- On average, over the last five years (2012–2016), only 26,400 net new jobs were created per year for a working-age population (15–65 years old) that grew by a net 270,000 people on average per year, according to Morocco’s High Commission for Planning (HCP).
- All in all, the Moroccan economy has not managed to make any significant efficiency gains despite its structural reforms, economic openness, improved business environment, imported technologies and increase in school enrollment rates.
- With regard to raising the level of social capital, the report calls for ensuring greater respect for, and improved application of, the rule of law; promoting a sense of civic duty and exemplarity in all decision-making spheres; encouraging engagement in associations and the development of civil society; and supporting a change in attitudes and sociocultural norms through targeted information campaigns.
While someone unfamiliar with Morocco may think these remarks and others in the report reflect a “tough love” perspective, the recommendations actually echo many of the points made by the King in his speeches going back to Throne Day 2014, if not before. It is remarkable that a sovereign has the vision to measure what has been accomplished without hesitating to spell out what needs to be done. The recommendations highlighted by the CEM require a comprehensive strategy to advance Morocco’s future growth. There may be no better starting point than the King’s own words.
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Upon high instructions of HM the King, Supreme Chief and Chief of Staff of the Royal Armed Forces (FAR), Major General, FAR’s Inspector General received, Thursday in Rabat, Commander of U.S. Africa Command, Marine Corps Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser.
Talks focused on the different aspects of military cooperation between the two countries ans the means to develop it, said a statement by the General Staff of FAR.
Moroccan Senior Official Receives NATO´s Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges
In accordance with the royal instructions, minister delegate in charge of National Defence Administration Abdelatif Loudyi received, here on Thursday, NATO's Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges, Sorin Ducaru, who is on a working visit to Morocco at the head of a large delegation.
During the meeting, the two sides examined the various aspects of cooperation between Morocco and NATO at the bilateral framework and under the Mediterranean Dialogue.
Speaker of the House of Representatives (Morocco’s lower house), Habib El Malki, announced on Wednesday in Rabat the creation of the Morocco-Comoros parliamentary friendship group.
During talks with minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Comorians Living Abroad, Mohamed Bacar Dossar, El Malki stressed that this group will discuss with its Comorian counterpart issues of common interest and the means to strengthen relations between the two legislative institutions.
Over the next few decades, Morocco will be the first non-oil producing country in the MENA region to join the emerging countries club, according to a World Bank report entitled “Morocco 2040 - Emerging by Investing in Intangible Capital”.
According to the report, which was presented in Casablanca on Tuesday by Marie-Françoise Marie-Nelly, World Bank Director for the Maghreb and Malta, Morocco has achieved undeniable advances over the last 15 years, economically and socially, as well as in the fields of individual liberties and civil and political rights.
The World Bank (WB) announced, on Tuesday, a $350 million program to support wide-ranging reforms of financial intermediation in Morocco.
The loan supports new sources of financing for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) while improving the regulatory oversight of the banking sector, said the financial institution, adding that the operation also supports capital market development by broadening the range of instruments and strengthening the protection of Moroccan investors.