Rabat – Morocco has slipped two places in the Frazer Institute’s Economic Freedom Index, due to persistent gender inequalities.
The Canadian think tank’s “Economic Freedom of the World: 2017 Annual Report,” evaluating 159 countries based on 2015 data, shows that Morocco dropped to the 120th position, down from 118th in 2014.
The index measures “the degree to which the policies and institutions of countries are supportive of economic freedom.” It ranks the countries based on five broad areas: size of government, legal structure and security of property rights, access to sound money, freedom to trade internationally, and regulation of credit, labor, and business.
The kingdom scored 6.29 points, surpassing Saudi Arabia (122nd), Egypt (140th), and Algeria (154th). The lowest rate was accorded to Venezuela, due to its current economic and political crisis.
The shift in Morocco’s score comes from the fact that this year’s index includes an adjustment for gender disparity, given that in many countries “women are not legally accorded the same level of economic freedom as men,” according to the think tank.
The report found that Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) countries such as: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Jordan, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Iran, Egypt, Morocco, and Syria with few other African and Asian countries, are the most affected, both in score and rank, by the gender adjustment.
The study shows that gender adjustment has the largest impact on MENA nations, “as many of these countries would rank as quite economically free if not for the restrictions placed on women’s economic choices.”
However, the institute clarifies that this shift does not indicate an increase in gender disparity in MENA countries, but rather the recent removal of barriers to women’s economic rights in sub-Saharan Africa.