Morocco – A old Kingdom for a New Continent

The highest-earning war movie of all-time starring Bradley Cooper as the late Chris Kyle in American Sniper is a 2014 biopic based on the memoir of the most lethal sniper in U.S. Military History. The scenes in Iraq are actually filmed in Rabat, Morocco’s capital. Parts of the city’s neighbourhoods are transformed to resemble the devastated Iraqi city Fallujah, as it was too dangerous to film in Iraq. For Game of Thrones fans, unknowingly you have been to the dazzling land, as most of the scenes in the continent of Essos and the constituent of Dorne were shot in Morocco.

The Kingdom of Morocco is one of two unitary constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament (alongside Lesotho) making up the 3 remaining sovereign monarchies of which the other is an absolute monarchy, Kingdom of Eswatini.

The country whose name describes its location of the Continent in Arabic “al-mamlakah al-maghribiyah” meaning ‘The Western Kingdom’ as it is the Western-most country in Maghreb region of North Africa. The country with an estimated population of 36 Million (World Bank 2018) is only 13 km from Europe, across the Strait of Gibraltar. European influence, specifically Spanish and French is seen in Tangier and Rabat respectively.

Morocco is the only country in the world which produce and exports Argan Oil as the Argan tree only grows in Morocco. The country with an estimated GDP of $118 Billion which is mainly driven by the agricultural sector as the main contributor to the GDP (15%) which also employs most of the workforce. The European Union is Morocco’s primary trading partner, accounting for about 77% of Morocco’s agricultural exports. Moroccan agricultural production also consists of orange, tomatoes, potatoes, olives, and olive oil. Morocco is also known for cannabis production and for its substantial hashish production, which at one point fueled over 70% of European consumption and continues to be the largest producer of hashish in the world.

On the Neil Economic scale, the price of a can of Coke costs 5.38 MAD (8.46R) and the price of a liter of petrol is 10.34 MAD (16.26R).  Morocco despite its stability in the economy and having an exchange rate pegged to a basket of euro and U.S. dollar, has managed inflation to remain below 1%.

The country imports approximately 90% of its energy requirements which 97% is from imported fossil fuels. The external position remains solid, despite the recent deterioration of the current account due to the impact of higher prices of imported energy. The kingdom has an average solar potential of 5 kilowatt hours (kWh) per square meter per day.  The Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (MASEN) plans for the installed capacity of at least 2,000 MW by 2020. The country has started the journey to reduce over reliance on imported energy by implementing alternative programs. This can be seen in the Tarfaya wind farm with a capacity of 300 MW which is the second largest wind farm in Africa.

Morocco having recently re-joined the AU and thus making it the 55th state of Africa. The huge legacy in the past that this Kingdom has brought, again will hopefully add to the continent as an effort for unity. King Mohammed VI has no doubt lead the nation to modernisation and taking his Kingdom to play a leading role in economic transformation. Although the country has huge agricultural emphasis, the trade aspects of the country is the future. This future will no doubt bring an old established Kingdom into its new membership of the African continent.