Morocco

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PAGE LAST UPDATED ON DECEMBER 6, 2011
Flag of Morocco
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Location of Morocco
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Map of Morocco
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Photos of Morocco
 
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OF MOROCCO
 

Introduction

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In 788, about a century after the Arab conquest of North Africa, a series of Moroccan Muslim dynasties began to rule in Morocco. In the 16th century, the Sa'adi monarchy, particularly under Ahmad AL-MANSUR (1578-1603), repelled foreign invaders and inaugurated a golden age. The Alaouite dynasty, to which the current Moroccan royal family belongs, dates from the 17th century. In 1860, Spain occupied northern Morocco and ushered in a half century of trade rivalry among European powers that saw Morocco's sovereignty steadily erode; in 1912, the French imposed a protectorate over the country. A protracted independence struggle with France ended successfully in 1956. The internationalized city of Tangier and most Spanish possessions were turned over to the new country that same year. Sultan MOHAMMED V, the current monarch's grandfather, organized the new state as a constitutional monarchy and in 1957 assumed the title of king. Morocco annexed Western Sahara during the late 1970s, but final resolution on the status of the territory remains unresolved. Gradual political reforms in the 1990s resulted in the establishment of a bicameral legislature, which first met in 1997. Under King MOHAMMED VI - who in 1999 succeeded his father to the throne - human rights have improved. Morocco enjoys a moderately free press, but the government occasionally takes action against journalists who report on three broad subjects considered to be taboo: the monarchy, Islam, and the status of Western Sahara. Despite the continuing reforms, ultimate authority remains in the hands of the monarch. Influenced by protests elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa, thousands of Moroccans in February and March 2011 rallied in Rabat and several other major cities to demand constitutional reform and more democracy and to protest government corruption and high food prices. Police response to most of the protests was subdued compared to the violence elsewhere in the region. In early March, King MOHAMMED VI agreed to establish a commission to reform the country's constitution; a popular referendum held in early July 2011 overwhelmingly approved the new constitution. In late July, the King urged swift implementation of constitutional amendments, starting with the holding of parliamentary elections in 2011 instead of in 2012. Following August negotiations between election heads and nearly 20 political parties, the government settled on an election date of 25 November.
 
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Geography

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Northern Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, between Algeria and Western Sahara
 
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32 00 N, 5 00 W
 
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total: 446,550 sq km
country comparison to the world: 58
land: 446,300 sq km
water: 250 sq km
 
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slightly larger than California
 
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total: 2,017.9 km
border countries: Algeria 1,559 km, Western Sahara 443 km, Spain (Ceuta) 6.3 km, Spain (Melilla) 9.6 km
 
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1,835 km
 
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territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation
 
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Mediterranean, becoming more extreme in the interior
 
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northern coast and interior are mountainous with large areas of bordering plateaus, intermontane valleys, and rich coastal plains
 
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lowest point: Sebkha Tah -55 m
highest point: Jebel Toubkal 4,165 m
 
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phosphates, iron ore, manganese, lead, zinc, fish, salt
 
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arable land: 19%
permanent crops: 2%
other: 79% (2005)
 
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14,570 sq km (2008)
 
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29 cu km (2003)
 
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total: 12.6 cu km/yr (10%/3%/87%)
per capita: 400 cu m/yr (2000)
 
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northern mountains geologically unstable and subject to earthquakes; periodic droughts
 
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land degradation/desertification (soil erosion resulting from farming of marginal areas, overgrazing, destruction of vegetation); water supplies contaminated by raw sewage; siltation of reservoirs; oil pollution of coastal waters
 
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party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification
 
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strategic location along Strait of Gibraltar
 
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People and Society

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noun: Moroccan(s)
adjective: Moroccan
 
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Arab-Berber 99%, other 1%
 
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Arabic (official), Berber dialects, French (often the language of business, government, and diplomacy)
 
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Muslim 99%, Christian 1%, Jewish about 6,000 (2010 est.)
 
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31,968,361 (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 38
 
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0-14 years: 27.8% (male 4,514,623/female 4,382,487)
15-64 years: 66.1% (male 10,335,931/female 10,785,380)
65 years and over: 6.1% (male 881,622/female 1,068,318) (2011 est.)
 
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total: 26.9 years
male: 26.3 years
female: 27.4 years (2011 est.)
 
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1.067% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 112
 
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19.19 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 100
 
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4.75 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 194
 
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-3.77 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 188
 
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urban population: 58% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 2.1% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
 
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Casablanca 3.245 million; RABAT (capital) 1.77 million; Fes 1.044 million; Marrakech 909,000; Tangier 768,000 (2009)
 
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at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
 
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110 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)
country comparison to the world: 66
 
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total: 27.53 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 74
male: 32.32 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 22.51 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)
 
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total population: 75.9 years
country comparison to the world: 79
male: 72.84 years
female: 79.11 years (2011 est.)
 
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2.21 children born/woman (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 105
 
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5.5% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 128
 
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0.62 physicians/1,000 population (2009)
country comparison to the world: 117
 
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1.1 beds/1,000 population (2009)
country comparison to the world: 142
 
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improved:
urban: 98% of population
rural: 60% of population
total: 81% of population
unimproved:
urban: 2% of population
rural: 40% of population
total: 19% of population (2008)
 
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improved:
urban: 83% of population
rural: 52% of population
total: 69% of population
unimproved:
urban: 17% of population
rural: 48% of population
total: 31% of population (2008)
 
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0.1% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 143
 
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26,000 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 71
 
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1,200 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 63
 
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16% (2000)
country comparison to the world: 31
 
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9.9% (2004)
country comparison to the world: 67
 
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5.6% of GDP (2008)
country comparison to the world: 41
 
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definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 52.3%
male: 65.7%
female: 39.6% (2004 census)
 
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total: 10 years
male: 11 years
female: 10 years (2007)
 
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total: 21.9%
country comparison to the world: 45
male: 22.8%
female: 19.4% (2009)
 
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Government

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conventional long form: Kingdom of Morocco
conventional short form: Morocco
local long form: Al Mamlakah al Maghribiyah
local short form: Al Maghrib
 
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constitutional monarchy
 
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name: Rabat
geographic coordinates: 34 01 N, 6 49 W
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1 hr, begins first Sunday in April; ends last Sunday in July
 
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15 regions; Grand Casablanca, Chaouia-Ouardigha, Doukkala-Abda, Fes-Boulemane, Gharb-Chrarda-Beni Hssen, Guelmim-Es Smara, Laayoune-Boujdour-Sakia El Hamra, Marrakech-Tensift-Al Haouz, Meknes-Tafilalet, Oriental, Rabat-Sale-Zemmour-Zaer, Souss-Massa-Draa, Tadla-Azilal, Tanger-Tetouan, Taza-Al Hoceima-Taounate
note: Morocco claims the territory of Western Sahara, the political status of which is considered undetermined by the US Government; portions of the regions Guelmim-Es Smara and Laayoune-Boujdour-Sakia El Hamra as claimed by Morocco lie within Western Sahara; Morocco also claims Oued Eddahab-Lagouira, another region that falls entirely within Western Sahara
 
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2 March 1956 (from France)
 
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Throne Day (accession of King MOHAMMED VI to the throne), 30 July (1999)
 
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10 March 1972; revised 4 September 1992, amended September 1996; new constitution approved in referendum July 2011
 
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mixed legal system of civil law based on French law and Islamic law; judicial review of legislative acts by Supreme Court
 
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has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
 
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18 years of age; universal
 
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chief of state: King MOHAMMED VI (since 30 July 1999)
head of government: Prime Minister Abdelilah BENKIRANE (since 29 November 2011)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister
(For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
elections: the monarchy is hereditary; prime minister appointed by the monarch following legislative elections
 
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bicameral Parliament consists of the Chamber of Counselors (or upper house) (270 seats; members elected indirectly by local councils, professional organizations, and labor syndicates to serve nine-year terms; one-third of the members are elected every three years) and Chamber of Representatives (or lower house) (395 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: Chamber of Counselors - last held on 3 October 2009 (next to be held in 2012); Chamber of Representatives - last held on 25 November 2011 (next to be held in 2016)
election results: Chamber of Counselors - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; Chamber of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - (partial results as of 6 December 2011) PJD 107, PI 60, RNI 52, PAM 47, USFP 39, MP 32, UC 23, PPS 18
 
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Supreme Court (judges are appointed on the recommendation of the Supreme Council of the Judiciary, presided over by the monarch)
 
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Action Party or PA [Mohammed EL IDRISSI]; Al Ahd (The Covenant) Party [Najib EL OUAZZANI]; Alliance des Libert'es (Alliance of Liberty) or ADL [Ali BELHAJ]; An-Nahj Ad-Dimocrati or An-Nahj [Abdellah EL HARIF]; Authenticity and Modernity Party or PAM [Mohamed Cheikh BIADILLAH, secretary general]; Choura et Istiqlal (Consultation and Independence) Party or PCI [Abdelwahed MAACH]; Citizens' Forces or FC [Abderrahman LAHJOUJI]; Citizenship and Development Initiative or ICD [Mohamed BENHAMOU]; Constitutional Union Party or UC [Mohammed ABIED]; Democratic and Social Movement or MDS [Mahmoud ARCHANE]; Democratic Forces Front or FFD [Touhami EL KHIARI]; Democratic Socialist Vanguard Party or PADS [Ahmed BENJELLOUN]; Democratic Society Party or PSD [Zhor CHEKKAFI]; Democratic Union or UD [Bouazza IKKEN]; Environment and Development Party or PED [Ahmed EL ALAMI]; Istiqlal (Independence) Party or PI [Abbas EL FASSI]; Justice and Development Party or PJD [Abdelilah BENKIRANE]; Labor Party or PT [Abdelkrim BENATIK]; Moroccan Liberal Party or PML [Mohamed ZIANE]; National Democratic Party or PND [Abdallah KADIRI]; National Ittihadi Congress Party or CNI [Abdelmajid BOUZOUBAA]; National Popular Movement or MNP [Mahjoubi AHERDANE]; National Rally of Independents or RNI [Mustapha EL MANSOURI]; National Union of Popular Forces or UNFP [Abdellah IBRAHIM]; Popular Movement or MP [Mohamed LAENSER]; Progress and Socialism Party or PPS [Ismail ALAOUI]; Reform and Development Party or PRD [Abderrahmane EL KOUHEN]; Renaissance and Virtue Party or PRV [Mohamed KHALIDI]; Renewal and Equity Party or PRE [Chakir ACHABAR]; Social Center Party or PSC [Lahcen MADIH]; Socialist Democratic Party or PSD [Aissa OUARDIGHI]; Socialist Union of Popular Forces or USFP [Abdelwahed RADI]; Unified Socialist Left Party or PGSU [Mohamed Ben Said AIT IDDER]
 
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Democratic Confederation of Labor or CDT [Noubir AMAOUI]; General Union of Moroccan Workers or UGTM [Abderrazzak AFILAL]; Moroccan Employers Association or CGEM [Hassan CHAMI]; National Labor Union of Morocco or UNMT [Abdelslam MAATI]; Union of Moroccan Workers or UMT [Mahjoub BENSEDDIK]
 
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ABEDA, AfDB, AFESD, AMF, AMU, CD, EBRD, FAO, G-11, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAS, MIGA, MONUSCO, NAM, OAS (observer), OIC, OIF, OPCW, OSCE (partner), Paris Club (associate), PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador Aziz MEKOUAR
chancery: 1601 21st Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 462-7979
FAX: [1] (202) 265-0161
consulate(s) general: New York
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador Samuel L. KAPLAN
embassy: 2 Avenue de Mohamed El Fassi, Rabat
mailing address: PSC 74, Box 021, APO AE 09718
telephone: [212] (37) 76 22 65
FAX: [212] (37) 76 56 61
consulate(s) general: Casablanca
 
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red with a green pentacle (five-pointed, linear star) known as Sulayman's (Solomon's) seal in the center of the flag; red and green are traditional colors in Arab flags, although the use of red is more commonly associated with the Arab states of the Persian gulf; the pentacle represents the five pillars of Islam and signifies the association between God and the nation; design dates to 1912
 
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pentacle symbol; lion
 
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name: "Hymne Cherifien" (Hymn of the Sharif)
lyrics/music: Ali Squalli HOUSSAINI/Leo MORGAN
note: music adopted 1956, lyrics adopted 1970
 
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Economy

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Morocco's market economy benefits from the country's relatively low labor costs and proximity to Europe, which aid key areas of the economy such as agriculture, light manufacturing, tourism, and remittances. Morocco is also the world's largest exporter of phosphate, which has long provided a source of export earnings and economic stability. Economic policies pursued since 2003 by King MOHAMMED VI have brought macroeconomic stability to the country with generally low inflation, improved financial performance, and steady progress in developing the service and industrial sectors. In 2006, Morocco entered a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the US, and in 2008 entered into an advanced status in its 2000 Association Agreement with the EU. However, poverty, illiteracy, and unemployment rates remain high. In response to these challenges, King MOHAMMED in 2005 launched a National Initiative for Human Development, a $2 billion program aimed at alleviating poverty and underdevelopment by expanding electricity to rural areas and replacing urban slums with public and subsidized housing, among other policies. Morocco's trade and budget deficits widened in 2010, and reducing government spending and adapting to sluggish economic growth in Europe will be challenges in 2011. Morocco's long-term challenges include improving education and job prospects for young Moroccans, closing the disparity in wealth between the rich and the poor, confronting corruption, and expanding and diversifying exports beyond phosphates and low-value-added products.
 
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$151.4 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 58
$146.8 billion (2009 est.)
$139.9 billion (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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$103.5 billion (2010 est.)
 
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3.2% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 119
4.9% (2009 est.)
5.6% (2008 est.)
 
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$4,800 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 153
$4,700 (2009 est.)
$4,500 (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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agriculture: 17.1%
industry: 31.6%
services: 51.4% (2010 est.)
 
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11.44 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 45
 
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agriculture: 44.6%
industry: 19.8%
services: 35.5% (2006 est.)
 
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9.1% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 103
9.1% (2009 est.)
 
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15% (2007 est.)
 
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lowest 10%: 2.7%
highest 10%: 33.2% (2007)
 
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40.9 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 58
39.5 (1999 est.)
 
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30.7% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 27
 
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revenues: $22.92 billion
expenditures: $27.21 billion (2010 est.)
 
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22.1% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 138
 
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-4.1% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 126
 
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61.1% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 32
56.9% of GDP (2009 est.)
 
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1% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 22
1% (2009 est.)
 
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6.5% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 97
3.31% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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6.3% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 145
6.2% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$66.09 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 40
$67.24 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$108.2 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 50
$109.8 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$88.84 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 54
$92.38 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$69.15 billion (31 December 2010)
country comparison to the world: 49
$62.91 billion (31 December 2009)
$65.75 billion (31 December 2008)
 
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barley, wheat, citrus fruits, grapes, vegetables, olives; livestock; wine
 
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phosphate rock mining and processing, food processing, leather goods, textiles, construction, energy, tourism
 
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4.4% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 95
 
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19.49 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 71
 
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21.47 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 67
 
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0 kWh (2009 est.)
 
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3.429 billion kWh (2009 est.)
 
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3,938 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 98
 
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209,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 55
 
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25,090 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 87
 
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221,000 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 45
 
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680,000 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 98
 
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60 million cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 81
 
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560 million cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 96
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 145
 
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500 million cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 65
 
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1.444 billion cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 97
 
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-$4.625 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 175
-$5.362 billion (2009 est.)
 
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$17.58 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 73
$14.05 billion (2009 est.)
 
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clothing and textiles, electric components, inorganic chemicals, transistors, crude minerals, fertilizers (including phosphates), petroleum products, citrus fruits, vegetables, fish
 
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Spain 19.7%, France 17.8%, India 5.8%, US 4.2%, Brazil 4.1% (2010)
 
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$32.65 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 59
$30.41 billion (2009 est.)
 
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crude petroleum, textile fabric, telecommunications equipment, wheat, gas and electricity, transistors, plastics
 
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France 16.9%, Spain 14.2%, China 7.9%, US 6.2%, Saudi Arabia 6.1%, Italy 5.9%, Germany 5.4% (2010)
 
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$23.61 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 54
$23.58 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$30.19 billion (30 June 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 70
$26.56 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
 
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$43.82 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 56
$42.58 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$1.281 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 71
$1.861 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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Moroccan dirhams (MAD) per US dollar -
8.3619 (2010)
8.0571 (2009)
7.526 (2008)
8.3563 (2007)
8.7722 (2006)
 
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Communications

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3.749 million (2010)
country comparison to the world: 43
 
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31.928 million (2010)
country comparison to the world: 32
 
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general assessment: good system composed of open-wire lines, cables, and microwave radio relay links; principal switching centers are Casablanca and Rabat; national network nearly 100% digital using fiber-optic links; improved rural service employs microwave radio relay; Internet available but expensive
domestic: fixed-line teledensity is roughly 10 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular subscribership approached 75 per 100 persons in 2009
international: country code - 212; landing point for the Atlas Offshore, Estepona-Tetouan, Euroafrica, Spain-Morocco, and SEA-ME-WE-3 fiber-optic telecommunications undersea cables that provide connectivity to Asia, the Middle East, and Europe; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) and 1 Arabsat; microwave radio relay to Gibraltar, Spain, and Western Sahara; coaxial cable and microwave radio relay to Algeria; participant in Medarabtel; fiber-optic cable link from Agadir to Algeria and Tunisia (2009)
 
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2 television broadcast networks with state-run Radio-Television Marocaine (RTM) operating one network and the state partially owning the other; foreign TV broadcasts are available via satellite dish; 3 radio broadcast networks with RTM operating one; the government-owned network includes 10 regional radio channels in addition to its national service (2007)
 
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.ma
 
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277,793 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 61
 
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13.213 million (2009)
country comparison to the world: 29
 
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Transportation

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58 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 81
 
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total: 32
over 3,047 m: 11
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 10
914 to 1,523 m: 4 (2010)
 
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total: 26
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 7
914 to 1,523 m: 10
under 914 m: 8 (2010)
 
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1 (2010)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
gas 830 km; oil 439 km (2010)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
total: 2,067 km
country comparison to the world: 70
standard gauge: 2,067 km 1.435-m gauge (1,022 km electrified) (2010)
 
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total: 58,256 km
country comparison to the world: 76
paved: 39,480 km (includes 866 km of expressways)
unpaved: 18,776 km (2008)
 
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total: 30
country comparison to the world: 83
by type: cargo 2, chemical tanker 2, container 7, passenger/cargo 15, petroleum tanker 1, roll on/roll off 3
foreign-owned: 6 (France 4, Germany 2)
registered in other countries: 5 (Gibraltar 4, Panama 1) (2010)
 
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Casablanca, Jorf Lasfar, Mohammedia, Safi, Tangier
 
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Military

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Royal Armed Forces (Forces Armees Royales, FAR): Royal Moroccan Army (includes Air Defense), Royal Moroccan Navy (includes Coast Guard, Marines), Royal Moroccan Air Force (Al Quwwat al Jawyiya al Malakiya Marakishiya; Force Aerienne Royale Marocaine) (2010)
 
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20 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; service obligation - 18 months (2011)
 
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males age 16-49: 8,252,682
females age 16-49: 8,691,419 (2010 est.)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
males age 16-49: 7,026,016
females age 16-49: 7,377,045 (2010 est.)
 
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male: 300,327
female: 298,366 (2010 est.)
 
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5% of GDP (2003 est.)
country comparison to the world: 16
 
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Transnational Issues

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claims and administers Western Sahara whose sovereignty remains unresolved; Morocco protests Spain's control over the coastal enclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, and Penon de Velez de la Gomera, the islands of Penon de Alhucemas and Islas Chafarinas, and surrounding waters; both countries claim Isla Perejil (Leila Island); discussions have not progressed on a comprehensive maritime delimitation, setting limits on resource exploration and refugee interdiction, since Morocco's 2002 rejection of Spain's unilateral designation of a median line from the Canary Islands; Morocco serves as one of the primary launching areas of illegal migration into Spain from North Africa; Algeria's border with Morocco remains an irritant to bilateral relations, each nation accusing the other of harboring militants and arms smuggling; the FLN's assertions of a claim to Chirac Pastures in southeastern Morocco is a dormant dispute
 
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one of the world's largest producers of illicit hashish; shipments of hashish mostly directed to Western Europe; transit point for cocaine from South America destined for Western Europe; significant consumer of cannabis
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