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Morocco, See : Flags, Maps

Morocco (Africa)

Introduction ::Morocco


In 788, about a century after the Arab conquest of North Africa, successive Moorish 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, established a sultanate in Morocco beginning in 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.

Geography ::Morocco


Northern Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and the
Mediterranean Sea, between Algeria and Western Sahara

Geographic coordinates:
32 00 N, 5 00 W

Map references:



total: 446,550 sq km country comparison to the world: 57 land: 446,300 sq km

water: 250 sq km

Area - comparative:

slightly larger than California

Land boundaries:

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


1,835 km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation


Mediterranean, becoming more extreme in the interior


northern coast and interior are mountainous with large areas of bordering plateaus, intermontane valleys, and rich coastal plains

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Sebkha Tah -55 m

highest point: Jebel Toubkal 4,165 m

Natural resources:

phosphates, iron ore, manganese, lead, zinc, fish, salt

Land use:

arable land: 19%

permanent crops: 2%

other: 79% (2005)

Irrigated land:

14,450 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources:

29 cu km (2003)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):

total: 12.6 cu km/yr (10%/3%/87%)

per capita: 400 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural hazards:

northern mountains geologically unstable and subject to earthquakes; periodic droughts

Environment - current issues:

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

Environment - international agreements:

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

Geography - note:

strategic location along Strait of Gibraltar

People ::Morocco


31,627,428 (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 38

Age structure:

0-14 years: 28.7% (male 4,548,808/female 4,418,768)

15-64 years: 65.4% (male 10,009,928/female 10,437,103)

65 years and over: 6% (male 851,190/female 1,019,377) (2010 est.)

Median age:

total: 26.5 years

male: 25.9 years

female: 27 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:

1.077% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 118

Birth rate:

19.4 births/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 102

Death rate:

4.74 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 195

Net migration rate:

-3.88 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 192


urban population: 56% of total population (2008)

rate of urbanization: 1.8% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio:

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 (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 28.61 deaths/1,000 live births country comparison to the world: 76 male: 33.52 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 23.46 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 75.69 years country comparison to the world: 77 male: 72.63 years

female: 78.9 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:

2.23 children born/woman (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 108

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

0.1% (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 132

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

21,000 (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 77

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

fewer than 1,000 (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 77


noun: Moroccan(s)

adjective: Moroccan

Ethnic groups:

Arab-Berber 99.1%, other 0.7%, Jewish 0.2%


Muslim 98.7%, Christian 1.1%, Jewish 0.2%


Arabic (official), Berber dialects, French often the language of business, government, and diplomacy


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 52.3%

male: 65.7%

female: 39.6% (2004 census)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):

total: 10 years

male: 11 years

female: 9 years (2006)

Education expenditures:

5.7% of GDP (2008) country comparison to the world: 40

Government ::Morocco

Country name:

conventional long form: Kingdom of Morocco

conventional short form: Morocco

local long form: Al Mamlakah al Maghribiyah

local short form: Al Maghrib

Government type:

constitutional monarchy


name: Rabat

geographic coordinates: 34 01 N, 6 49 W

time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions:

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

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


2 March 1956 (from France)

National holiday:

Throne Day (accession of King MOHAMMED VI to the throne), 30 July (1999)


10 March 1972; revised 4 September 1992, amended September 1996

note: the amendment of September 1996 was to create a bicameral legislature

Legal system:

based on Islamic law and French and Spanish civil law systems; judicial review of legislative acts in Constitutional Chamber of Supreme Court; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:

chief of state: King MOHAMMED VI (since 30 July 1999)

head of government: Prime Minister Abbas EL FASSI (since 19 September 2007)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the monarch (For more information visit the World Leaders website ) elections: the monarchy is hereditary; prime minister appointed by the monarch following legislative elections

Legislative branch:

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) (325 seats; 295 members elected by multi-seat constituencies and 30 from national lists of women; 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 7 September 2007 (next to be held in 2012)

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 - PI 52, PJD 46, MP 41, RNI 39, USFP 38, UC 27, PPS 17, FFD 9, MDS 9, Al Ahd 8, other 39

Judicial branch:

Supreme Court (judges are appointed on the recommendation of the
Supreme Council of the Judiciary, presided over by the monarch)

Political parties and leaders:

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]

Political pressure groups and leaders:

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

International organization participation:

MONUSCO, NAM, OAS (observer), OIC, OIF, OPCW, OSCE (partner), Paris

Diplomatic representation in the US:

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

Diplomatic representation from the US:

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

Flag description:

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

National anthem:

name: "Hymne Cherifien" (Hymn of the Sharif)

lyrics/music: Ali Squalli HOUSSAINI/Leo MORGAN

note: music adopted 1956, lyrics adopted 1970

Economy ::Morocco

Economy - overview:

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 govenment 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.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$153.8 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 58 $147.6 billion (2009 est.)

$140.6 billion (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):

$91.7 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

4.2% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 73 4.9% (2009 est.)

5.6% (2008 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$4,900 (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 147 $4,700 (2009 est.)

$4,500 (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 17.1%

industry: 31.6%

services: 51.4% (2010 est.)

Labor force:

11.63 million (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 43

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 44.6%

industry: 19.8%

services: 35.5% (2006 est.)

Unemployment rate:

9.8% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 109 9.1% (2009 est.)

Population below poverty line:

15% (2007 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 2.7%

highest 10%: 33.2% (2007)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:

40.9 (2005 est.) country comparison to the world: 58 39.5 (1999 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):

30.2% of GDP (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 17

Public debt:

58.2% of GDP (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 39 56.9% of GDP (2009 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

2.5% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 76 1% (2009 est.)

Central bank discount rate:

3.31% (31 December 2009) country comparison to the world: 112 3.32% (31 December 2008)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:

6.5% (31 December 2008)

Stock of narrow money:

$67.33 billion (31 December 2010 est) country comparison to the world: 40 $64.58 billion (31 December 2009 est)

Stock of broad money:

$108.7 billion (31 December 2009) country comparison to the world: 51 $99.5 billion (31 December 2008)

Stock of domestic credit:

$93.21 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 53 $91.83 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:

$62.91 billion (31 December 2009) country comparison to the world: 46 $65.75 billion (31 December 2008)

$75.49 billion (31 December 2007)

Agriculture - products:

barley, wheat, citrus fruits, grapes, vegetables, olives; livestock; wine


phosphate rock mining and processing, food processing, leather goods, textiles, construction, energy, tourism

Industrial production growth rate:

4.4% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 76

Electricity - production:

19.78 billion kWh (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 71

Electricity - consumption:

20.78 billion kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 68

Electricity - exports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - imports:

3.429 billion kWh (2009 est.)

Oil - production:

4,053 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 97

Oil - consumption:

187,000 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 57

Oil - exports:

17,420 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 92

Oil - imports:

195,800 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 45

Oil - proved reserves:

100 million bbl (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 70

Natural gas - production:

60 million cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 81

Natural gas - consumption:

560 million cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 94

Natural gas - exports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 91

Natural gas - imports:

500 million cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 59

Natural gas - proved reserves:

1.501 billion cu m (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 96

Current account balance:

-$7.922 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 174 -$4.958 billion (2009 est.)


$14.49 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 76 $13.92 billion (2009 est.)

Exports - commodities:

clothing and textiles, electric components, inorganic chemicals, transistors, crude minerals, fertilizers (including phosphates), petroleum products, citrus fruits, vegetables, fish

Exports - partners:

Spain 22.02%, France 20.22%, India 4.91%, Italy 4% (2009)


$34.19 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 54 $30.55 billion (2009 est.)

Imports - commodities:

crude petroleum, textile fabric, telecommunications equipment, wheat, gas and electricity, transistors, plastics

Imports - partners:

France 16.95%, Spain 14.72%, China 7.1%, Italy 6.76%, Germany 6.28%,
US 5.66%, Saudi Arabia 5.11% (2009)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$24.57 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 38 $23.58 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Debt - external:

$22.69 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 70 $21.12 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:

$42.19 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 57 $40.72 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:

$1.047 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 72 $1.333 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Exchange rates:

Moroccan dirhams (MAD) per US dollar - 8.3619 (2010), 8.0571 (2009), 7.526 (2008), 8.3563 (2007), 8.7722 (2006)

Communications ::Morocco

Telephones - main lines in use:

3.516 million (2009) country comparison to the world: 45

Telephones - mobile cellular:

25.311 million (2009) country comparison to the world: 35

Telephone system:

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-optical 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)

Broadcast media:

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)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

277,793 (2010) country comparison to the world: 61

Internet users:

13.213 million (2009) country comparison to the world: 29

Transportation ::Morocco


58 (2010) country comparison to the world: 81

Airports - with paved runways:

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)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

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)


1 (2010)


gas 830 km; oil 439 km (2009)


total: 1,907 km country comparison to the world: 74 standard gauge: 1,907 km 1.435-m gauge (1,022 km electrified) (2008)


total: 57,625 km country comparison to the world: 79 paved: 35,664 km (includes 639 km of expressways)

unpaved: 21,961 km (2006)

Merchant marine:

total: 30 country comparison to the world: 84 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)

Ports and terminals:

Casablanca, Jorf Lasfar, Mohammedia, Safi, Tangier

Military ::Morocco

Military branches:

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)

Military service age and obligation:

18 years of age for voluntary military service; service obligation - 18 months (2010)

Manpower available for military service:

males age 16-49: 8,167,760

females age 16-49: 8,599,418 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:

males age 16-49: 6,960,026

females age 16-49: 7,307,491 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:

male: 300,262

female: 298,227 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:

5% of GDP (2003 est.) country comparison to the world: 16

Transnational Issues ::Morocco

Disputes - international:

claims and administers Western Sahara whose sovereignty remains unresolved - UN-administered cease-fire has remained in effect since September 1991, but attempts to hold a referendum have failed and parties thus far have rejected all brokered proposals; 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

Illicit drugs:

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


Hellenica World