Morocco is a North African nation that occupies an area of about 274,460 square miles and was home to 35,740,000 people as of 2017. According to Trading Economics, the gross domestic product of Morocco was estimated to be $109.14 billion in 2017 which was a significant increase from 2016 when the gross domestic product was determined to be $103.61 billion. In 2014, Morocco's gross domestic product was estimated to be $109.88 billion, the highest in the country's history. The World Economic Forum considered Morocco to be North Africa's most competitive economy from 2014 to 2015. In 2017, Morocco's gross domestic product was the seventh highest in Africa. During the 1960's the government of Morocco introduced plans to stimulate economic growth by modernizing the agricultural sector. The plan was moderately successful, and the government introduced further strategies to boost other areas of the economy. Apart from agriculture, other sectors that the government wanted to focus on included tourism and manufacturing. In 1993, the Moroccan government implemented a policy that ensured liberalization of the economy which resulted in significant economic growth. Due to Morocco's economic growth, it is considered one of Africa's most dominant economies. Some of Morocco's most important industries include agriculture, tourism, and mining.
Morocco is considered to have great agricultural potential because it has vast amounts of arable land, nearly 33,000 square miles, and a temperate Mediterranean climate. Due to the favorable agricultural conditions in Morocco, experts believe that Morocco can grow enough food to feed its population. Data from the government of Morocco indicates that nearly 40% of the country's labor force works in the agriculture industry. Some of the most vital crops in Morocco are wheat, olives, and tomatoes. Most of Morocco's crops are grown under irrigation although the northwestern region of the country receives sufficient rainfall to support agriculture. Some of the crops grown in the northwestern area include cereals such as wheat and barley. Moroccan farmers also grow vast quantities of citrus fruits, olives, and grapes under irrigation. One of Morocco's most controversial agricultural products is hashish which is mainly exported to nations in Europe. The government of Morocco attempted to weed out the drug business, but research indicates that the industry continued to flourish. The World Customs Organization suggested that nearly 70% of the hashish consumed in Europe comes from Morocco. Moroccans also keep large numbers of livestock such as sheep and cattle. The livestock industry in Morocco provides the nation with enough meat to feed the residents. The Moroccan government has introduced policies to improve the nation's dairy sector and make the nation self-sufficient. One of the significant challenges that face Morocco's agriculture is drought which has reduced the amount of water available to plants and animals.
Fishing is one of Morocco's most essential industries as it earns the nation substantial foreign exchange. The fishing industry is also vital to Morocco's economy as it employs nearly 400,000 people. Data indicates that approximately 1,084,638 MT of fish were caught in Morocco in 2001 which earned it the distinction of being Africa's largest fish market. Most of the fishing in Morocco is done on a large scale since small-scale fishing is not well developed. Most of Morocco's marine resources are located on the western coast in the Atlantic Ocean where the Canary Current flows. Some of the common fish caught in the region include sardines, tuna, and bonito. Morocco is unable to fully utilize its marine resources due to the insufficient amount of modern equipment such as ships and processing facilities. In 2009, the Moroccan government unveiled plans to improve the fishing industry in the country to increase its contribution to the economy. One of the most significant challenges facing the industry is territorial disputes with the European nation of Spain over the extent of Morocco's territorial waters. The dispute began in 1973, and by 2012 it had yet to be resolved. Spanish ships can fish in Morocco's waters due to an agreement signed by the European Union and the Moroccan government.
Morocco's textile industry is one of the nation's most important industries as it earns the government foreign exchange as well as employing a significant number of Moroccans. Morocco's textile industry was once limited to exporting raw materials such as cotton and yarn, but the government introduced some incentives to improve the industry. According to the Moroccan Association of Textile and Clothing Industry, in 2017 Moroccan textile exports were worth $7.3 billion which was an increase of nearly 3.8% from the figures recorded in 2016. Some of the countries that consume a vast amount of Moroccan textiles are France and Spain. One of the major challenges facing the Moroccan textile industry is competition from other nations such as China and Turkey.
Morocco's tourism industry is one of the drivers of economic growth in the country. The Ministry of Tourism in Morocco was set up in 1985 to oversee tourism activities in the country and to come up with policies to improve the sector. Tourists in Morocco mainly visit the country to experience the nation's unique culture and history. In 2017, Morocco was considered Africa's premier tourist destination because it attracted more than 10,300,000 visitors. One of Morocco's premier tourist destinations is Marrakech which attracted more than 2,000,000 visitors in 2017. Several cities in Morocco such as Casablanca, Fez, and Rabat also attract large numbers of tourists. Fez is a popular tourist destination since it is the location of the most ancient university in the world, Al Qarawyien. Some areas in Morocco such as the Medina of Fez and the historic city of Meknes have been classified as UNESCO World Heritage Sites due to their historical significance. Most of the tourists who visit Morocco are from European nations such as Spain and France.
Economic Growth in Morocco
The government of Morocco has put in place several plans to ensure that the country experiences continuous economic growth. The Moroccan government has partnered with the World Bank to ensure job creation and improved living standards for the Moroccan people. Experts believe that the policies that the Moroccan government has put in place will ensure economic growth in the country.