The political situation in Morocco garnered a fair amount of attention as far back as January 2007 when Foreign Policy (Washington) listed the country's (then) upcoming September 2007 elections as worthy of note. The well respected journal is published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. The journal is known for recently developing and publishing the Failed States Index.
In its January 2007 prediction, Foreign Policy said that the country's legal Islamist political party--there's also an illegal one--would do well in the September 2007 elections, much to the consternation of "worried" Western governments.
While it is completely unfair to judge Foreign Policy by its months ago prediction, the fact that the Islamists made a rather poor showing in Morocco in September is illustrative of the skewed reasoning many observers bring to a discussion of Morocco's place in the world economy.
On September 10, 2007, in a closely reasoned review of Morocco's election results, the Christian Science Monitor (Boston) said, "Morocco has been held up as one of the most reform-minded nations in the Arab world. It has a diversity of civil-society groups, has passed a code of women's rights, and, according to observers, held relatively fair elections in 2002."
The Monitor adds, "But in Morocco's political system, King Mohamed VI appoints the prime minister, who in turn chooses government ministers." The country's parliament has little power.
Thus, Morocco's small consumer class has been witness to government lip service toward reform. Jobs for young people are in short supply. The Monitor, citing the World Bank as its source, says "Nearly 5 million of Morocco's 33 million people live on less than $2 a day."
In an October 24, 2007 brief on Morocco's economy, The Economist (London) said it expected the monarchy to end the year with GDP expanding 3.1 percent. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates 2007 Moroccan GDP growth at 2.5 percent. The IMF lists 2006 Moroccan growth at 8.0 percent. But The Economist says Morocco will not see that kind of growth through 2012, instead growing "in the...