Morocco did not experience economic crisis?

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Economic indicators available at the end of 2009 show a strong Moroccan economy in the face of a dreaded global crisis: unemployment fell from 9.6% in 2008 to 9.1% in 2009. According to figures from the Direction des études et perspectives financières, DEPF, the north African country’s economy grew by at least 5.3% in 2009.

Figures released recently by DEPF confirm the suspicions of observers of the Moroccan economy. Could it be that the country did not succumb to the crisis because it steered clear of the excessive financialization of its economy: A fundamental misstep that Western economies, particularly the U.S., paid heavily for? It could also be because the 2009 harvest was particularly good.

In fact, Morocco experienced a significant economic growth, driven by domestic demand, in the past year

Morocco, a vast construction site!

The country’s construction industry showed a remarkable resistance to the crisis that hit the international real estate and construction sectors. Construction work continued unperturbed, and in comparison with 2008 cement prices rose by 3.4% at the end of 2009.

The reconstruction of one of the major roads in Casablanca, La Corniche, now completed, saw land reclamation from the sea as well as several other major construction works which are expected to significantly reshape the landscape and expand its hosting capacity.

Several causes identified

According to a Moroccan analyst, several factors explain the country’s economic success.

The primary cause is especially credited to a strong domestic demand, stemming from the rise of rural household income (evidence of a good 2009 agricultural season), an increase in consumer credits (the opposite of the trend observed in Europe, at the time, despite its more experienced banking sector) as well as the strengthening of the overall purchasing power by virtue of a general income tax reduction and salary increments.

The Moroccan government also got involved in the development of the business sector with a double digit spending increase in the state investment budget, without attracting any significant deficit in 2009.

A more resistant economy

Thus, the growth of the Moroccan economy appears to be healthy and solid despite a sluggish global economy.

Morocco is well poised to take full advantage of the global recovery, if it occurs, in 2010. More so because the export industry will enjoy an upward trend as it is confronted with a dynamic domestic demand.

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By Khaled Elraz, journalist specializing in African societies (communities, rites and traditions). A passionate photographer, he has been traveling the continent for 20 years.
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