The Moroccan economy is considered the most independent in the Maghreb

The Heritage Foundation : L’économie marocaine jugée la plus libre du Maghreb
Morocco’s financial independence score is 59.2, making it the 97th independent economy in the 2022 index. Morocco ranks sixth out of 14 countries in the Middle East and North Africa region, with its overall score above the local average but below the global average (60 out of 100).

As previously reported, the Washington-based Conservative American think-tank The Heritage Foundation used 12 measurement factors categorized into four broad categories to establish this recently unveiled index. They include: rule of law (property rights, integrity of government, judicial efficiency), government domination (public spending, financial pressure, financial health), regulatory efficiency (business freedom, labor freedom, money freedom), open markets (trade) freedom, and investment freedom. Financial independence).

Based on the scores obtained (0 to 100) the countries are divided into five categories according to the level of estimated independence of the economy. Countries with the highest scores (between 80 and 100) are considered financially “independent”.

In a declining order, the next are the “generally free” economies, followed by the “moderately free” economies. Then there are the countries with “little economic freedom” and finally the so-called “repression” in the region. According to the Heritage Foundation report, Morocco ranks sixth out of 14 countries in the MENA (Middle East, North Africa) region, and its overall score is higher than the local average, but lower than the global average.

In this region, the United Arab Emirates (33rd worldwide), Israel (43rd), Qatar (44th), Bahrain (74th) and Jordan (87th) topped the list.

At the African level, the island of Mauritius is ranked 30th in the world, topping the rankings. Cape Verde (49 worldwide) and Botswana (61) are in second and third place, respectively.

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Morocco is far ahead of its neighbors

Morocco ranks 11th behind Ivory Coast (4 in Africa), Seychelles (5), Benin (6), Senegal (7), Ghana (8), Tanzania (9) and Namibia (10). Compared to its neighbors in the Maghreb, the country is much larger than them: Mauritania (20th in Africa and 119th worldwide), Tunisia (10th in Mena region and 128th worldwide), Egypt (11th in Mena region and 15th worldwide) 13th in the Mena region and 167th worldwide).

In the case of Libya, this classification was not considered in the opinion of the Foundation due to lack of reliable data. “Official government reports on financial data are inadequate, and the data reported by many international organizations that rely on the index rankings are incomplete,” the same source explains.

According to the Heritage Foundation, the past five years have been a period of slow growth for the Moroccan economy. “Unfortunately, in these five years, a trend of moderate growth in financial independence has been broken.

Morocco, burdened with low scores on judicial efficiency and financial health, has lost a total of 2.3 points since 2017. Morocco’s financial independence has shifted from the “moderately free” category to the “rather free” category.

The American think-tank also handles Morocco’s tax rate, with the highest per capita income (38%) and companies (31%). Other taxes include value added tax. The total tax burden is equivalent to 27.8 percent of GDP. Public spending has been 31.8% of gross domestic product (GDP) for the past three years, and the budget deficit averages 5.2% of GDP. According to the Foundation, public debt is equivalent to 76.1 percent of GDP.

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On another issue, the same source said that “a privatization program was resumed in the 2019 budget, but by 2021 the government still held direct stakes in 225 public companies”. To add: “Regulatory reform is progressing slowly. Dismissing an employee is very difficult. In addition to agriculture, the government subsidizes the prices of butane gas, fuel, sugar and flour.

Nine priority trade agreements in force

The American think-tank also states that Morocco has nine priority trade agreements in force. “The trade-average average tariff rate is 10.7% and there are 49 non-tariff measures in place. Foreign investment is welcome, but regional restrictions remain in place, especially in areas where the state retains monopoly power. With the gradual increase in financial intermediation, the competitive economy continues to grow and offers a number of financial assistance options, ”says the Heritage Foundation.

Globally, Singapore is the most independent economy in the 2022 index, with its economic independence score of 84.4. Singapore ranks first among 39 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, and its overall score is higher than the local and global average, the same source explains. It is followed by Switzerland (second), Ireland (third), New Zealand (fourth), Luxembourg (fifth) and Taiwan (sixth). At the bottom of the list is North Korea (177th). As a result, the country is considered to be the most independent country in the world in terms of economic freedom for its citizens and businesses.

“The benefits of economic independence – high income, wealth, better health and a cleaner environment – are evident in each of the five regions of the world, but there are significant differences between regions in terms of level of development. This year’s scores also seem to have been significantly affected, and the severity of these reactions varies considerably from region to region.

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