LONDON — Morocco ranked first among Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries surveyed for their progress in reaching a low-carbon economy, according to this year’s Green Future Index, published by MIT Technology Review Insights.
The index measures the degree to which 72 countries are investing in green finance, innovation and renewables to shift their economies toward sustainable agriculture and clean energy.
The data was compiled via secondary research and analysis, in addition to interviews with experts in climate change, environmental technology and green energy.
MIT measured green performance across 5 pillars — carbon emissions, clean innovation, climate policy, energy transition and green society. The ranking helps societies, policymakers and business leaders see if they are lagging or leading in tackling the global climate emergency.
Morocco, which ranked second in Africa and 26th globally among countries studied, is firmly in the “greening middle” — a category that includes “the 20 countries that are making progress in their commitment toward building a green future.”
This puts it ahead of the “climate abstainers” and “climate laggards” categories, and behind only “the green leaders.”
The index said Morocco has “ambitious climate policies albeit at a more nascent stage” and compared its efforts with 31st-ranked South Korea.
The index’s authors presented Morocco as a renewable energy role model, writing: “Over a decade ago, the King of Morocco began a national debate about the future of energy, resulting in a fundamental policy redesign and a goal that renewables would produce 42% of the country’s power by 2020- a target that has now been raised to 52% by 2030.”
The researchers interviewed the CEO of the Moroccan Agency for Energy Efficiency (AMEE), Said Mouline, who helped paint a picture of the country’s renewable energy progress over the past 10 years.
“Fossil fuel subsidies have been eliminated and replaced with energy transition programs. For Example, to replace gas-fueled farm irrigation with solar-powered pumps, nearly 40,000 pumps have been installed to date,” the index quoted Mouline as saying. “AMEE created a capacity-building center in Marrakech to train Africans from other countries in areas like renewable electrification and sustainable pumping for agriculture.”
In addition to its high overall score, Morocco placed fifth in the clean innovation pillar and 27th in the climate policy pillar, which crucially measures state level policies and activities that aim to reduce greenhouse gas and, more recently, the extent to which pandemic recovery programmes are focused on carbon neutral practices and sustainable projects.