Remittances from MREs to Reach $6.6 Billion in 2020 Despite COVID-19

Remittances from MREs to Reach $6.6 Billion in 2020 Despite COVID-19

Rabat – Bank Al Maghrib expressed satisfaction with the “resilience” of remittances from Moroccans residing abroad (MREs) despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last week, the central bank of Morocco said remittances from MREs would show a “limited decrease of 5% to MAD 61.5 billion ($6.6 billion).”

The bank forecasts an improvement of  2.4% in terms of remittances from MREs next year.

With the improvement, remittances could reach MAD 63 billion ($6.8 billion) in 2021.

The number of Moroccans residing abroad is estimated at over five million.

The COVID-19 pandemic canceled and delayed hopes of thousands of MREs who were wishing to come to Morocco to visit their families during the summer holiday.

Morocco’s government suspended international sea, land, and air travel since March to limit the spread of the pandemic.

It was not until mid-July that Morocco eased travel restrictions for MREs. In September, Morocco opened its borders to non-Moroccan tourists who have hotel reservations, as well as business people with invitations from Moroccan companies.

The restrictions under the COVID-19 state of emergency impacted Morocco’s economy.

In addition to the decline in remittances from MREs, Morocco’s account deficit will drop to 6% of GDP in 2020 against the 10.3% the bank initially forecast in June.

The deficit will further shrink to 5.2% of GDP in 2021.

The year 2020 will end with a further decline in foreign direct investment, estimated at 1.5% of GDP compared to 2.9% in 2019.

Morocco’s foreign direct investment is expected to return to its average pre-crisis levels in 2021.

In addition to remittances from MREs and foreign direct investment, Morocco’s imports and exports also experienced sharp declines this year due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Bank Al Maghrib expects a decline of 16.6% in exports this year.

The bank, however, expects an increase of 22.4% in Morocco’s exports next year.

The bank also expects a sharp drop in travel revenues from MAD 78.8 billion ($8.5 billion) in 2019 to MAD 23.9 billion ($2.6 billion) in 2020.

Last week, Morocco’s Minister of Economy Mohamed Benchaaboun shared his predictions of a 4.8% economic growth in 2021.

He said the growth will be the result of an expected increase in agricultural value by 11%.

Benchaaboun also forecasts that Morocco’s cereal harvest will reach 70 million quintals, citrus production will increase by 29%, and production of olives will increase by 14%.