Morocco’s economy to shrink by 5.8% in 2020 amid drought, COVID-19 pandemic

Moroccan employees work in the new Renault factory in Melloussa, 30 km (19 miles) from Tangiers, file. REUTERS/Stringer
FILE PHOTO: Cargo ships are pictured in Tanger-Med port in Ksar Sghir near the coastal city of Tangier, Morocco. REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal

Morocco’s economic growth will shrink by 5.8 percent in 2020, down from a growth of 2.5 percent in 2019, the country’s High Commission for Planning (HCP) said on Monday.

In a periodical report published on its website, HCP said this performance, the worst in decades, is due to the combined effect of drought and the COVID-19 pandemic, with a negative growth of the primary sector by 5.7 percent.

As for the non-agricultural activities, they will decline by 5.3 percent in 2020 compared with an increase of 3.7 percent in 2019.

The secondary sector is expected to shrink by 6.9 percent in 2020 after a 3.6-percent increase in 2019, while the tertiary sector will slip by 4.5 percent from an increase of 3.8 percent in 2019.

According to the report, the unemployment rate is expected to soar to 14.8 percent, the domestic consumption decline by 4.4 percent, and the budget deficit widen to 7.4 percent.

On July 9, Morocco announced one-month extension of the state of health emergency since March 24 to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

The North African country registered 76 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, raising the tally of infections to 15,821, including 253 deaths.