Morocco’s Diaspora Remittances Continue to Show Resilience Despite COVID-19 Crisis


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Rabat – Remittances from the Moroccan diaspora increased by 41.8% for the first three months in 2021, statistics from the Foreign Exchange Office revealed on Monday.

The money transfers from Moroccans living abroad (MRE) amounted to more than MAD 20.89 billion ($2.33 billion) at the end of March compared to MAD 14.73 billion ($1.64 billion) during the same period a year earlier.

In January alone, remittances from Moroccans abroad reached nearly $660 million or MAD 5.9 billion. The number shows an 8.8% increase compared to January 2020, when the remittances reached $604 million or MAD 5.4 billion.

In 2020, the overall remittances from the Moroccan diaspora amounted to MAD 67.99 billion or $7.54 billion.

The new data shows that remittances continue to be stable despite the COVID-19 crisis.

Meanwhile, travel receipts amounted to MAD 5.32 billion ($595.34 million) by the end of March 2021, representing a decrease of 69.1%. Travel expenditures also declined by 47.6%, showing that the travel balance surplus dropped by 76%.

Morocco is still under a state of emergency, allowing authorities to suspend air, land, and sea trips.

Recently, Morocco suspended flights with over 50 countries as part of the preventive measures to limit the spread of COVID-19. The suspension of flights is expected to continue until May 21.

Balance of trade in services shows a sharp decline of 48.9%, to MAD 11.45 billion ($1.28 billion) in the first quarter of this year. The foreign exchange office attributed the decline due to the decline of exports.

Exports stood at MAD 28.27 billion ($3.17 billion) at the end of March 2021, down by 34.9%. Approximately 78.4% of the decline is due to the decrease in travel receipts, which is the main component of service exports.