The Head of the Moroccan government has revealed that remittances from the country’s citizens living overseas reached $6.8 billion last year, Anadolu has reported. Prime Minister Saadeddine Othmani added that Morocco ranks third in the world in terms of a “brain drain”.
“The Moroccan community [abroad] is making a significant contribution to support the national economy,” Othmani told the monthly accounting meeting in parliament. “The value of their remittances has grown steadily over the past two decades, from around $2.2 billion in 1990 to $6.8 billion in 2016.”
He pointed out that the investments of the Moroccan community based abroad are mainly concentrated in real estate, with approximately 41 per cent of the total remittances going into the sector. Investments in productive economic projects are less than 14 per cent. This situation, he said, requires the government to provide special incentives for Moroccans to invest in their country.
The number of Moroccans living abroad has doubled over the past 20 years, said the prime minister, going from 1.7 million in 1998 to more than 4.5 million now. That is the equivalent of 13 per cent of the total population of the country. Almost 70 per cent of those living abroad are under 45 years of age, and around 20 per cent were born overseas. “A large percentage of the first generation of migrants has now reached retirement age, especially in Europe.”
Othmani told the parliamentarians that Moroccans live in more than 100 countries across the five continents. However, 80 per cent of them are based in Europe, mainly in France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. “Moroccan communities are characterised by their great ability to integrate into the [host] communities and have a general orientation towards permanent stability.”
He pointed out that 17 per cent of the members the overseas community have an educational level that is equivalent to a Master’s degree. “According to the World Bank,” he noted, “this ranks Morocco third in terms of the brain drain.”
Forty-four per cent of those Moroccans born and raised in their countries of residence hold a second nationality. He pointed out that those with dual nationality have different aspirations to those of the preceding generations, although he did not explain this further.
“Overall,” concluded Othmani, “these figures should not hide the emergence of groups who live in fragile social and economic conditions, especially in light of the current economic crisis.”