The North Africa Country Series: The Kingdom of Morocco

“The Kingdom of Morocco’ – is the final publication in the “The North Africa Country Series” prepared by the Pakistan Business Council (PBC). In addition to Morocco, the other countries covered in the North Africa series include Algeria, Egypt and Tunisia. The Country Profile Series is an initiative of the PBC to introduce non-traditional markets to Pakistani businesses.

Bordered by Algeria and the Western Sahara, Morocco enjoys proximity with Spain. It was during the 8th century that Muslims arrived in Morocco and soon Islam became the religion of the masses. After being ruled by various dynasties of Berbers and Arabs, the Ottomans took control of the region. European powers started to exert their influence in North Africa in the 18th century. In 1904, Morocco was divided between France and Spain. The French ruled Morocco as a protectorate from 1912 to 1956, when wide-spread resentment against the Europeans coupled with the rise in nationalism forced the French to grant independence to Morocco.

Morocco's Trade Overview

Morocco is the 5th largest African economy with a GDP of USD 109.71 billion.  In 2017, a growth rate of 4.09% and an annual inflation of 0.75% depicted favorable economic conditions, however, unemployment was at the same level as it had been five years ago – nearly 9.0%. In terms of contribution to GDP, the services sector is the major contributor. However, the primary sector is the largest employer in the country. Mining, a subsector of the primary sector, is a vital source of forex revenue for Morocco. The processing industry and light engineering dominate the industrial sector.

Morocco’s trade balance, as shown in the figure above, has not fluctuated much in the last five years. From 2014 to 2015, the trade balance improved by more than USD 6.87 billion however, in 2018, the trade deficit had once again worsened, and the country recorded a deficit of USD 21.92 billion. The reason for the worsening of the BoT is primarily the gradual increase in exports whereas imports increased at a much faster pace.

Spain, France, U.S and Italy are major export destinations for Moroccan exports with electrical and mechanical machinery being the major exports. On the import side, the major import partners were Spain and France followed by China and the USA. In 2018, Morocco’s imports were dominated by fossil fuels, motor cars and part and accessories for aero planes.

Trade with Pakistan has been in Morocco’s favor in the last five years. In 2018, Morocco’s exports to Pakistan reached an all-time high of USD 347.43 million while imports from Pakistan were valued at USD 35.82 million. The untapped potential trade reveals that bilateral trade between Morocco and Pakistan can go as high as USD 9.67 billion for the top-25 products alone. If this potential is to be realized by either country, both nations would need to work on diversifying their export portfolios. Currently, Pakistan’s exports to Morocco comprise of denim and cotton fabrics, and rice whereas phosphoric acid, phosphates and scrap metals were imported from Morocco during the same period.

The PBC is a private sector not-for-profit advocacy platform set-up in 2005 by 14 (now 81) of Pakistan’s largest businesses. PBC’s research-based advocacy supports measures which improve Pakistani industry’s regional and global competitiveness. More information about PBC, its members, objectives and activities can be found on its website: