Skip to main content

Morocco earthquake damage could wipe out as much as 8% of GDP

The US Geological Survey warns of severe potential economic losses from the Morocco earthquake's "extensive damage."
Morocco earthquake

Morocco’s deadly earthquake that struck on Friday, killing around 2,500 people so far, could cost the economy as much as 8% of Morocco's gross domestic product, according to the latest estimates from the US Geological Survey.

According to the World Bank, the North African country’s GDP was of $134.18 billion for 2022. An 8% loss would be about $10.7 billion.

USGS, which among other things monitors the impact of earthquakes around the world, warned of severe potential economic losses for Morocco as a result of the quake. It reported that "extensive damage" is likely.

The earthquake, Morocco's deadliest in more than 60 years, struck at about 11 p.m. local time on Friday. The epicenter of the 6.8 magnitude quake was in the Atlas Mountains, around 70 kilometers (44 miles) south of the tourist capital of Marrakesh. It was shallow at a depth of 18.5 kilometers (11.5 miles), making it relatively more powerful.

As of Monday morning, 2,497 people are known to have died in the earthquakes and at least 2,476 have been wounded, almost all in Marrakesh and in the mountainous villages south of the city. USGS said earthquakes of this intensity are rare in the region, with no recorded instances of magnitudes 6.8 or higher being detected within 300 kilometers (186 miles) of Friday’s epicenter.

At least two dozen aftershocks have rattled the region, and the most powerful reached a 4.9 magnitude. Emergency responders are racing to find survivors.

The European Commission announced Monday that the European Union was providing 1 billion euros ($1.07 billion) in humanitarian aid in response to the earthquake. 

The Moroccan government said it has accepted assistance from four countries so far – Britain, Qatar, Spain and the UAE. France announced Monday morning that it would send 5 million euros ($5.4 million).

Neither King Mohammed VI nor Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch have publicly addressed the disaster. But the ruling monarch instructed Akhannouch to meet Monday with a ministerial committee that is developing an emergency response.

Marrakesh, with parts of its UNESCO-listed historic center, is Morocco’s tourist capital that had only just recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic. Although international flights are still arriving at Marrakech, Morocco’s Tourism Observatory is concerned that the economic impacts of the disaster could reduce visitor numbers to the country for the rest of the year. 

However, Turkey, hit by an earthquake in February in the east that killed more than 50,000 people, has seen its tourism sector mostly rebound thanks to high numbers of international arrivals on its Mediterranean coast and in Istanbul. That disaster caused $34.2 billion in damage, equivalent to 4% of the country's 2021 GDP, according to the World Bank.

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Already a Member? Sign in


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial
What's included:
Our Expertise

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

Already a Member? Sign in