Currently classified as a low middle-income country, Morocco ranks 10th among 16 Arab states for ICT development, and is seeking to transition to a digitally literate information society in order to facilitate its economic growth and global competitiveness. While the absence of such a transformation precludes Morocco’s inclusion in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Digital Economy rankings, the UN ICT Task Force report identifies Morocco as a high demand country for ICTs. The 85.82% penetration rate of mobile phone subscribers for 2010 indicates that Morocco’s population is becoming increasingly literate in terms of ICT technologies, as does the 60% growth in the number of Internet subscribers from 2005 to 2010. From these figures it reasonable to expect that data on Morocco’s digital economy will be available in the future.
A primary focus of Morocco’s national ICT policy is the harnessing of ICT as a means to improve business productivity. Since Morocco is already a leading destination for Francophone call centers, the government wants to capitalize on this and other areas in which Morocco has demonstrated strong potential for export. Open Society Foundations suggests that increasing offshoring and call centers in Morocco stands to add 0.3 percent annually to GDP growth from 2003 to 2018, reducing the international trade deficit by around 35 percent and create 100,000 new jobs. According to the World Bank, high-technology exports as a percentage of manufactured exports accounted for 8% of Morocco’s GDP in 2010, the most recent available data. After falling from its high of 11% in 2003, high-technology exports plunged to 6% in 2008 from 9% in 2007. This dramatic drop was likely due to the global financial crisis and consequent contraction of investment across the board. Since then, it has been increasing steadily, and will likely continue to add to Morocco’s economy in the future.
The greatest challenge for Morocco is also an opportunity with significant growth potential. Morocco ranked 114th of 144 countries in the skills readiness sub-index of World Economic Forum’s Global Information Technology Report for 2013. Despite these inadequacies in the population’s ICT skills, education initiatives suggest promising developments on the horizon, and positive responses in ICT demand indicate a growing interest in these technologies that Morocco can harness to further industry growth. In order for Morocco to best improve its capacity for ICT it needs to address this disconnect between a high demand for ICT technologies and a low rate of ICT skills within the population and workforce.