Haddad Morocco Needs to Develop ServiceBased Economy to Grow Further

Rabat – Morocco needs to develop a service-based economy in order to match the expansive growth the country experienced over the past twenty years, according to Lahcen Haddad, the Minister of Tourism.The minister moderated a discussion at the Sun Club (also known as the Club of Clubs in Casablanca or CCC) on Thursday named “Changes in the Global Economy and Growth Prospects.”As suggested in the title, the event held a discussion on the business environment in Morocco and where the kingdom’s economy stands internationally in terms of the diversity of its industries and the skills of its workforce. According to a release acquired by Morocco World News, Haddad said at the event that the social and economic reforms spearheaded by King Mohammed VI over the past two decades have doubled the size of the Moroccan economy and made it internationally competitive.The minister also highlighted that since 2000, the economy has grown at a fluctuating rate that averages around four percent every year. In order to stabilize and increase growth, Haddad said the country needs to focus on growing a services-based economy instead of the agricultural economy the kingdom currently has, which makes its citizens vulnerable to unpredictable weather conditions.Recently, several major international organizations, including the World Bank and Standard and Poor’s, downwardly adjusted their predictions for Morocco’s economic growth in 2016 as a result of the low agricultural output the country saw earlier this year. The weak harvests were caused by reduced rainfall in the kingdom’s farming areas.The government’s challenge is to maintain a growth rate of six percent over the next 20 years in order to grow the economy by 50 percent and eradicate poverty by the year 2030, according to the minister, who added that growth in the information technology (IT), media and social entrepreneurship sectors could help the country meet its goals.According to World Bank data, Morocco is not expected to exceed four percent economic growth in any year until and including 2018, the last year the international bank’s forecast encompassed.Statistics presented at the event show that revenues related to tourism make up seven percent of Morocco’s GDP, employ five percent of the country’s citizens and fund 25 percent of the kingdom’s foreign exchange reserves. Pointing to these numbers, Haddad said developing employment opportunities in the tourism sector could spur economic growth further as well.