The performance of the Moroccan economy remains one of the "highest" of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, stated the Deputy Director General of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Mrs.Nemat Shafik, projecting that the year 2013 will be characterized in particular by a rebound in agricultural production and in manufacturing and tourism sectors.
Mrs. Shafik, who starts, Monday, May 14th 2012, a working visit to Morocco, noted in an interview with the MAP that domestic consumption should continue to be the "main driver" of economic growth in the Kingdom, stressing that the IMF expects in 2013 a rebound in agricultural production following a poor performance in 2012, and the implementation of major investment projects in manufacturing sector, particularly the automotive, construction and several tourism projects.
Morocco, she continued, will also benefit, like other countries in the region, from the economic recovery expected in the euro zone in 2013.
In the latest edition of Economic prospects for the MENA region, the IMF predicts, indeed, that Morocco`s GDP reached 4.3% in 2013, one of the highest rates in the region.
During this visit, the Deputy Director General of the IMF met Moroccan government officials and took part in the regional conference organized by Morocco to discuss the creation of the regional institution "Arabisât". This institution, she explained, is able to play a key role in the improvement of statistical systems and promote regional cooperation in this field among the Arab countries.
"To promote good data quality and transparency is extremely important for economic policy making," underlined Mrs. Shafik.
With reference to the crisis in the euro zone and its impact on the countries in the area, the IMF official noted that the economic slowdown in Europe had "certainly a dampening effect on economic activity in many countries of the region, and via various channels: low levels of trade flows and foreign direct investment, a decline in tourism receipts and a reduction of funds transfer."
These different channels, she concluded, are particularly important for the Maghreb, in that countries like Morocco and Tunisia depend on Europe for more than 80% of their total remittances, adding that Europe is also the destination of about 60% of products exported from the Maghreb, the source of 80 to 90% of its tourism incomes, and about 80% of its total direct investment.
Remittances of North African immigrants in Europe are however well maintained, which reflects a great family solidarity despite the decrease of workers? income, pointed out Mrs. Shafik. She also noted that other oil-importing countries in the MENA region are less tied to Europe and, therefore, less affected by its economic difficulties.