US embassy cable - 06RABAT171

MOROCCO ECONOMIC HIGHLIGHTS

Identifier: 06RABAT171
Wikileaks: View 06RABAT171 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Rabat
Created: 2006-02-02 14:29:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Tags: ECON EPCS ENRG EAIR KFLU MO
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
VZCZCXRO0347
RR RUEHLMC
DE RUEHRB #0171/01 0331429
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 021429Z FEB 06
FM AMEMBASSY RABAT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2632
INFO RUEHCL/AMCONSUL CASABLANCA 1146
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS 3683
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS 8586
RUEHNK/AMEMBASSY NOUAKCHOTT 2943
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 3963
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 1415
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID 5322
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 2737
RUEATRS/DEPTTREAS WASHDC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC 0839
RUEAORC/USCBP WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORP
RHMCSUU/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RUEAEPA/HQ EPA WASHINGTON DC
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 RABAT 000171 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR NEA/MAG, NEA/OFI AND INL/AAE 
DEPT ALSO FOR EB/TPP, EB/IFD AND DRL/IL 
STATE PASS USTR FOR DOUG BELL 
STATE PASS USAID FOR JENNIFER RAGLAND 
USDOC ITA/MAC/ANESA FOR DAVID ROTH 
USDOC FOR FSC/OIO AND CLDP 
USDOL FOR ILAB 
PARIS FOR ZEYA 
LONDON FOR TSOU 
ROME FOR ROSE 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ECON, EPCS, ENRG, EAIR, KFLU, MO 
SUBJECT: MOROCCO ECONOMIC HIGHLIGHTS 
 
----------------------------------- 
Maroc Telecom Revenue up 18 Percent 
----------------------------------- 
 
1.  Maroc Telecom's 2005 fourth quarter revenue was up 18 
percent over the previous year to $574 million, mostly 
resulting from the strength of its mobile phone division. 
The company's mobile phone customer base grew 38 percent 
during 2005 to 8.8 million.  An increase in ADSL internet 
lines to 242,000 helped sustain the performance of the 
company's fixed-line division. 
 
--------------------------- 
Cameras to Detect Avian Flu 
--------------------------- 
 
2.  Thermal imaging cameras have been installed at 
Casablanca's Mohammed V International Airport to detect 
signs of avian influenza symptoms among passengers and 
prevent the disease from entering Morocco.  Noting that 
avian flu has not appeared in Morocco, Health Minister 
Mohammed Cheikh Biadillah said the country has nonetheless 
ordered one million doses of antiviral drugs from France's 
Pasteur Institute as a precautionary measure. 
 
--------------------------- 
Electricity for Rural Areas 
--------------------------- 
 
3.  The Moroccan National Electricity Office (ONE) will 
connect 4,500 rural villages to the national electrical grid 
in 2006, providing some 206,000 families with access to 
power for the first time.  An additional 21,000 families in 
500 villages will be supplied with solar photovoltaic kits 
which provide power for lights and small electrical 
appliances like TVs and radios.  These expansions will bring 
the level of rural electrification in Morocco to 89 percent 
of all villages by the end of 2006, up from just 18 percent 
in 1994.  To do this, the ONE will invest $4.2 billion 
during the 2006-2010 period. 
 
------------------------------ 
Moving Away from Oil Subsidies 
------------------------------ 
 
4.  Morocco's oil imports bill rose by 65 percent in the 
first 11 months of 2005 compared to the previous year, 
costing the country $2.46 billion.  The government continues 
to subsidize the price of fuel in Morocco; although the GOM 
raised fuel prices three times in 2005 to try to reduce the 
gap between what the state and the consumer pay.  The 
government is now considering establishing an indexation 
system under which internal prices would be directly 
determined by international oil prices.  The GOM is also 
working to diversify imported energy sources, develop 
renewable energy, and promote oil exploration within 
Morocco.  Diversification has helped decrease the share of 
oil products in the country's total energy consumption from 
74 percent in 1995 to 60 percent in 2005, mostly through an 
increase in use of coal, the introduction of natural gas in 
electricity production, and the use of wind energy. 
 
----------------------------------- 
National Airline Nets Record Income 
 
RABAT 00000171  002 OF 002 
 
 
----------------------------------- 
 
5.  Moroccan national airline Royal Air Maroc (RAM) earned a 
record $31 million in 2005 despite high fuel prices.  The 
company's gross income in 2005 was $934 million, a nine 
percent increase over the previous year.  RAM and its low- 
cost offshoot Atlas Blue - created in October 2004 - served 
4.5 million passengers in 2005, a 20 percent increase over 
2004. 
 
-------------------------- 
Cost of Living up Slightly 
-------------------------- 
 
6.  Morocco's cost of living index rose by one percent for 
the year 2005, reflecting the slight increases in the prices 
of food products (up 0.3 percent) and non-food products (up 
1.5 percent).  Inflation for 2004 was 1.5 percent.  2005 
inflation was highest in the south-western city of Agadir 
(up 1.5 percent), and central-south city of Marrakech (up 
1.4 percent), while Meknes and Fez (center) registered the 
lowest increases. 

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