Economy & Industry

Nature’s resources

Tuck shop

Tuck shopIn this video… you wouldn’t expect much passing trade as the owner of a shop in the middle of nowhere. Rafik talks to the owner in the mountains near his school and asks about his business.

As with many African economies, Morocco is heavily reliant on its natural resources.

In Morocco’s case, its key raw material is phosphate, an ingredient used in many fertilisers, pesticides and animal feeds. When Morocco took control of Western Sahara in the 1970s, it gained possession of an area with nearly two-thirds of the world’s potential phosphate reserves. Phosphate exports account for over a third of foreign trade revenues. Other minerals mined include barite, cobalt, fluorspar and lead.

The coastline along Western Sahara is also being explored for offshore oil deposits. With virtually no oil or gas of its own, Morocco currently imports 98% of its energy.

The new energy

However, the country has one source of natural energy in plentiful supply – the sun. Morocco has 330 to 350 days of sunshine each year. King Mohammed VI is spearheading a huge solar panel scheme to make use of this energy source.

Five solar-power plants are planned (the first near Ouarzazate, south of the Atlas mountains) which it is hoped will provide around two-fifths of the nation’s energy by 2020. The World Bank’s Clean Technology Fund has pledged 200 million dollars towards the nine billion dollar scheme.


OlivesIn this video… Rafik talks about the importance of olives in Morocco.  Olive oil is used daily by Moroccans and olives are one of the country's key exports.

Agriculture also forms a key area for Morocco’s economy. Top produce exports include tomatoes, mandarins/clementines/tangerines (named after the city of Tangiers), oranges and olives. Processed foods such as cheese and preserved or canned fruits and vegetables are also high on the list of exports.

Apart from mineral and agricultural produce, Morocco exports consumer items, such as textiles and leather goods.

Man’s resources

Casablanca's busy streetsSince the mid 1980s, Morocco has undertaken a series of privatisation programmes. The sales of many former state-owned operations have brought new listings to the Casablanca Stock Exchange, one of the oldest exchanges in Africa (founded in 1929).

Economic reforms have also been undertaken to try and rebalance the country’s finances. (Currently a quarter of the government’s expenditure is taken up by interest repayments on foreign debt). These reforms have led to support from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, as well creating an investment climate for foreign companies (many French and Spanish).

In recent years, Morocco’s economy has been growing over 4% annually. This growth has been helped by the establishment of Free Trade Agreements with the European Union (Morocco’s largest trading partner) and the USA.

Modern sectors, such as tourism and the service industries, are increasingly important to the Moroccan economy.