The Africa regional integration index is designed to measure the extent to which each country in Africa is meeting its commitments under the various pan-African integration frameworks, such as Agenda 2063 and the Abuja Treaty.
The index, which is a joint project of the African Development Bank, the African Union Commission and the Economic Commission for Africa, covers the following dimensions: free movement of persons, trade integration, productive integration, regional interconnections and infrastructure, and macroeconomic policy convergence.
All in all, Morocco seems to be performing fairly well in terms of regional integration. However, if it is to integrate further with the rest of the region, the country must perform better with regard to the free movement of persons.
In terms of regional integration, Morocco ranks second in the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU), but seventeenth in the Community of Sahel and Saharan States (CEN-SAD); it also ranks second in AMU and third in CEN-SAD in terms of productive integration, according to the Africa regional integration index produced by ECA (see table 1). These rankings provide proof of the challenges faced by the country in diversifying its exports toward sub-Saharan Africa, although it is making efforts to do so.
- Ninth in CEN-SAD (score: 0.45). First in UMA (score: 0.58).
How Morocco Ranks Within CEN-SAD
Compare Morocco's Dimension Scores
How Morocco Ranks Within UMA
Compare Morocco's Dimension Scores
Analysis of Morocco's Performance Across Dimensions
Free movement of persons: In this category, African countries are rated according to two indicators: the protocols on the free movement of persons ratified within regional economic communities and the number of other African countries whose nationals are authorized to enter visa free or with a visa on arrival. Morocco achieved moderate results under this indicator. The sources consulted indicate that Morocco allows nationals from 25 African countries to enter the country visa free or with a visa on arrival. Morocco has ratified the tool of AMU and CEN-SAD.
Trade integration: The index comprises three indicators related to trade integration: average customs duties on imports within regional economic communities, and imports and exports of merchandise within regional economic communities. Trade in services is not included due to a lack of data on intra African trade in services. When examining these indicators, it should be noted that Morocco has introduced customs duties close to zero on imports from AMU States, with the latest available data indicating an average tariff of only 0.01 per cent. Nevertheless, the country’s commercial trade with the rest of AMU is quite low. These imports accounted for only 1.5 per cent of its GDP in 2013, and only 0.8 per cent with regard to CEN-SAD. By comparison, goods imported by Tunisia from AMU States accounted for 4 per cent of its GDP, and goods imported by Mali from CEN-SAD accounted for 15 per cent of its GDP.
Moroccan exports to the countries of AMU represent some 0.5 per cent of its GDP, and exports to CEN-SAD stand at 1 per cent of its GDP. These results are poor compared to Tunisia, whose exports to the countries of AMU make up some 3 per cent of its GDP, and Togo (Economic Community of West African States), whose exports account for around 11 per cent of its GDP.
Productive integration: Morocco is in sixth position for African countries in the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) index measuring the complementarity of merchandise trade, thus suggesting that its production is relatively specialized for integration into regional value chains.* Despite the low level of intra regional flows as a proportion of GDP in Morocco, intermediate goods have expanded well. In 2013, imports of these goods from the countries of AMU totalled some $113 million, and $218 million for CEN-SAD. Morocco is ranked in second and fifth position respectively. Similarly, exports of intermediate goods to the countries of AMU stand at $113 million and $326 million to CEN-SAD. Morocco ranks second and fourth positions in this area.
Infrastructure: Morocco has performed remarkably well in the telecommunications sector. It is the second fastest African country in this area behind Kenya (21 megabytes). This is important for international communications and especially for supporting trade in services. Since 2004, Morocco has acquired a number of tools to develop the information and communications technology (ICT) sector and its infrastructure, including general guidelines and the Moroccan Digital Plan in 2013. The reforms undertaken through these tools have acutely enhanced users’ access to new ICT, enabling Morocco to hold the top position in information and technology. A number of NGOs have drawn up substantive road maps for all stakeholders, both private and public. The reforms have helped the country to perform well, with 34 million subscribers to landline and mobile services and 2 million Internet subscriptions. To sustain this momentum and keep the country’s top ranking, the National Telecoms Regulation Agency has also adopted the National Development Plan for High and Very High Speed Telecommunications.
The aim of this plan is to expand access to high speed telecommunication services to the entire Moroccan population by 2022, with the following objectives in mind:
- Ensure high speed access (at least 2 MB/s) for the entire population, at the latest 10 years after the Plan comes into effect;
- Ensure that all public administrative services, particularly those located in remote and less profitable zones, have access to high speed Internet (at least 2 MB/s), at the latest five years after the Plan comes into effect.
The implementation of the new plan in 2014 boosted the development of technical infrastructure, which contributed to the rapid expansion of Internet usage. International Internet bandwidth has grown annually by 9.22 per cent, from 412 GB/s in 2013 to 450 GB/s in 2014. Morocco has the ninth best net electricity generation capacity per capita of the African countries.
- Free movement of persons: Eighteenth in CEN-SAD (score: 0.33), fourth in AMU (score: 0.33). Algeria is the best performing country in AMU (score: 0.8).
- Trade integration: Seventeenth in CEN-SAD (score: 0.32), second in AMU (score: 0.79). Tunisia is the best performing country in AMU (score: 0.97).
- Productive integration: Third in CEN-SAD (score: 0.54), second in AMU (score: 0.59). Tunisia is the best performing country in AMU (score: 0.67).
- Infrastructure: Second in CEN-SAD (score: 0.54), first in AMU (score: 0.67).
- Financial integration and macroeconomic policy convergence: Eleventh in CEN-SAD (score: 0.49), first in AMU (score: 0.5).
*Calculated on the basis of average indicators of the country’s trade complementarity with CEN-SAD and AMU.
This material is reproduced from the ECA Country Profile on Morocco published in April 2016, from the box on the Africa Regional Integration Index.