Abdellatif Jouahri delivered a speech stressing the need to work on economic and social resilience in light of international “uncertainty.”
Rabat – Governor of Morocco’s Central Bank, Bank Al Maghrib (BAM), Abdellatif Jouahri called on Tuesday for a series of reforms to pull Morocco out of the COVID-19 economic crisis.
Speaking before the Finance Committee at the House of Councilors on monetary policy and the measures Bank Al Maghrib has taken to alleviate the negative repercussions of the crisis, Jouahri recognized that Morocco is experiencing a heavy recession.
In the third quarter of 2020, Morocco recorded a growth in the unemployment rate to 12.7%, a record for the country since 2001.
Jouahri suggested taking lessons from the COVID-19 crisis and improving the health system, reducing economic fragilities among the Moroccan population, and integrating the informal sector, among other measures.
In his analysis, the Moroccan expert called to accelerate the pace of reforms to strengthen economic and social resilience and enable the country to respond to future crises.
His call comes in line with upcoming social reforms that King Mohammed VI pledged in his Throne Day speech on July 29.
The Moroccan monarch called for the generalization of several social security programs in the next five years to cover all citizens.
The King also announced the creation of an investment fund with MAD 120 billion ($12.97 billion) as part of the country’s economic recovery plan.
Among several initiatives to help recover the economy, Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani in August called on ministerial departments to rationalize spending by reducing low-priority expenses and encouraging the use of renewable energies and energy-efficient technologies.
Morocco’s economic recovery timeline
Jouahri warned that Morocco’s economic recovery will be slow and will not start until 2023.
He attributed this to unknowns in the world’s economy, noting that every report from international institutions deploys the word “uncertainty.”
In an earlier and contrasting declaration, Minister of Industry Moulay Hafid Elalamy said that the economic recovery in Morocco post-COVID-19 will be faster than was expected.
Elalamy referenced indicators by Standard & Poor’s, which said that Moroccan markets are claiming back their pre-COVID-19 position.
Looking to the future
Jouahri indicated that Morocco followed the policy of the firefighter, in the sense that it focused on addressing the crisis but not preparing for the future. “We need to rework our economic and social structure to give immunity to our economy and our society,” he argued.
Without this resilience, said the head of Bank Al Maghrib, the same causes will produce the same effects. He suggested that the economic future might be worse than today’s economic status, given the instability of the international environment and the climate crisis.
He recalled that Morocco is already experiencing water stress. The country has witnessed both a lack of rainfall and rising average temperatures, with low dam filling rates.
Jouahri pointed to a number of weaknesses in the Moroccan economy, including that of production. He said that Morocco has only 500 large companies.
The official suggested addressing this deficit by changing mentalities within the private sector and unions, noting once again that the future is “very hard.”
“The private [sector] must get out of the logic of the wailing wall.”