Moroccans are among the least likely in Africa to donate to a charity, volunteer, vote, or share their opinion with a government official, the Africa Prosperity Report found.
Rabat – Morocco ranks 53rd out of 54 African countries for civic and social participation, according to the Africa Prosperity Report 2019/20, published Monday.
The report found that Moroccans are among the least likely Africans to donate to a charity, volunteer, or voice their opinion to a government official, based on data from Gallup. Moroccans are also less enthusiastic about voting, with the continent’s 47th lowest voter turnout rate, according to the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance.
The London-based Legatum Institute prepared the Africa Prosperity Report with collated data from 71 sources, including the WHO, World Bank, and Freedom House. The report looks at the continent’s growth on 12 different pillars of prosperity.
Across all pillars, Morocco ranked 9th most prosperous in Africa, retaining its previously high rankings in market access and infrastructure (3rd), investment environment (5th), and living conditions (7th).
However, Morocco’s ranking on social capital, the pillar that encompasses civic and social participation, dropped 17 places in the last decade to 52nd place.
Also included in the social capital ranking is trust in institutions. While Moroccans have higher confidence in their local police and politicians than they did a decade ago, confidence in the national government (ranked 49th) and the judicial system (ranked 51st) has fallen dramatically.
Although Moroccans were more likely than other Africans to report helping a stranger (22nd), boosting interpersonal trust, they were less likely to say they could count on family and friends in times of trouble (49th).
The Legatum Institute describes social capital as essential to prosperity, saying, “Institutional and interpersonal trust are two critical factors that will help the countries of the world build true prosperity.”
Losses in personal freedom
While Morocco’s ranking on social capital fell drastically, its rankings on personal freedom (34th) and governance (17th) dropped five places each since 2009.
Within the pillar of personal freedom, Morocco saw gains in individual agency and losses in freedom of association and social tolerance (48th). The decline in social tolerance can largely be attributed to a much lower “perceived tolerance of immigrants” than in 2009.
Morocco, the report said, “must also be wary of suppressing press freedoms further, as media outlets have face increased restrictions in recent years.”
The North African country ranked high on multiple elements in the pillar of governance, including rule of law and government integrity, despite declines since 2009. However, Morocco’s level of democracy (47th) is still low compared to the rest of the continent.
Morocco a safe haven
The Africa Prosperity Report recognized Morocco as one of the safest countries in Africa, with the number one ranking in Africa on nine out of 21 factors, including fewest deaths from terrorism, deaths from conflict and war, extrajudicial killings, and disappearance cases.
Morocco also had low rates of violent crime (7th lowest in Africa) and property crime (5th lowest).
Across the 21 safety and security factors, Morocco ranked among the top 15 in all but three factors. On dispute settlement through violence and physical security of women, Morocco ranked 23rd. Political imprisonment (33rd) is also somewhat high in Morocco compared to other African countries.
Morocco is Africa’s most open economy
The prosperity report also looked at the pillars that make up a strong economy, another area where Morocco shone.
The kingdom ranked the best in Africa for the openness of its market, especially on domestic and international market access for goods and services.
In its summary, the Africa Prosperity Report noted Morocco “has done well to reduce the burden of regulation on business, including reductions in the number of tax payments and the time spent complying with regulations.”
Indeed, Morocco is the fifth easiest country in Africa to start a business in, and has the second best ranking for the “burden of regulation.” The report noted, however that “domestic markets … remain controlled by a handful of monopolies.”
Although Moroccans reported low levels of trust in financial institutions and banks, the North African country ranked the highest in Africa for the soundness of its banks. The government’s credit rating (4th) is one of the best in Africa, although Morocco has relatively high levels of government debt (37th).
Morocco ranked 5th in Africa for transportation, another crucial factor for an economy’s well being, with highly developed airport connectivity and shipping lines.
Morocco also has the continent’s highest ranking for access to electricity; reliability of electricity; and 2G, 3G, and 4G network coverage.
On one element of economic health—labor force engagement—Morocco ranked very low (50th), especially on female labor force participation (52nd), which declined in the last decade.