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  Introduction Back To Top

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. 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. Morocco virtually 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. The country has made improvements in human rights under King MOHAMMED VI and its press is moderately free. Despite the continuing reforms, ultimate authority remains in the hands of the monarch.

  Geography Back To Top

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 12.6 cu km/yr (10%/3%/87%)
per capita: 400 cu m/yr (2000)

Total renewable water resources:
29 cu km (2003)

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

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

Mediterranean, becoming more extreme in the interior

Map references:

Geographic coordinates:
32 00 N, 5 00 W

Natural resources:
phosphates, iron ore, manganese, lead, zinc, fish, salt

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Sebkha Tah -55 m
highest point: Jebel Toubkal 4,165 m

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

Geography - note:
strategic location along Strait of Gibraltar

total: 446,550 sq km
land: 446,300 sq km
water: 250 sq km

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

1,835 km

Area - comparative:
slightly larger than California

Irrigated land:
14,450 sq km (2003)

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

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

Natural hazards:
northern mountains geologically unstable and subject to earthquakes; periodic droughts

Land use:
arable land: 19%
permanent crops: 2%
other: 79% (2005)

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
2.57 children born/woman (2008 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.1% (2001 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
15,000 (2001 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 71.52 years
male: 69.16 years
female: 74 years (2008 est.)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 52.3%
male: 65.7%
female: 39.6% (2004 census)

Net migration rate:
-0.77 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Ethnic groups:
Arab-Berber 99.1%, other 0.7%, Jewish 0.2%

Median age:
total: 24.7 years
male: 24.1 years
female: 25.2 years (2008 est.)

34,343,220 (July 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:

Population growth rate:
1.505% (2008 est.)

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

Death rate:
5.49 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 38.22 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 41.74 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 34.53 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 10 years
male: 11 years
female: 9 years (2005)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 30.5% (male 5,337,322/female 5,136,156)
15-64 years: 64.3% (male 11,015,409/female 11,069,038)
65 years and over: 5.2% (male 765,882/female 1,019,412) (2008 est.)

Birth rate:
21.31 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Muslim 98.7%, Christian 1.1%, Jewish 0.2%

noun: Moroccan(s)
adjective: Moroccan

  Government Back To Top

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Robert P. JACKSON
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

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

18 years of age; universal (as of January 2003)

Government type:
constitutional monarchy

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 UMT [Mahjoub BENSEDDIK]

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

International organization participation:

Legislative branch:
bicameral Parliament consists of a Chamber of Counselors (or upper house) (270 seats; members elected indirectly by local councils, professional organizations, and labor syndicates for 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 for five-year terms)
elections: Chamber of Counselors - last held 8 September 2006 (next to be held in 2009); Chamber of Representatives - last held 7 September 2007 (next to be held in 2012)
election results: Chamber of Counselors - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PI 17, MP 14, RNI 13, USFP 11, UC 6, PND 4, PPS 4, Al Ahd 4, other 17; 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

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

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; design dates to 1912

2 March 1956 (from France)

Country name (Goverment):
conventional long form: Kingdom of Morocco
conventional short form: Morocco
local long form: Al Mamlakah al Maghribiyah
local short form: Al Maghrib

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 [Hassan BENADDI]; 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]

name: Rabat
geographic coordinates: 34 01 N, 6 49 W
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

10 March 1972; revised 4 September 1992, amended (to create bicameral legislature) September 1996

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
elections: the monarch is hereditary; prime minister appointed by the monarch following legislative elections

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 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 which falls entirely within Western Sahara

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

  Economy Back To Top

Exports - partners:
Spain 21.2%, France 19%, Italy 4.9%, UK 4.6%, India 4.2% (2007)

Electricity - consumption:
19.58 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
3.25% (31 December 2007)

Electricity - imports:
1.998 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Current account balance:
-$1.667 billion (2008 est.)

Debt - external:
$21.11 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Unemployment rate:
2.1% (2008 est.)

Oil - exports:
24,360 bbl/day (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$4,000 (2008 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):
31.9% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$71.9 billion (31 December 2007)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$137.4 billion (2008 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$90.47 billion (2008 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:
40 (2005 est.)

Exchange rates:
Moroccan dirhams (MAD) per US dollar - 7.526 (2008 est.), 8.3563 (2007), 8.7722 (2006), 8.865 (2005), 8.868 (2004)

GDP - real growth rate:
5.3% (2008 est.)

Stock of money:
$67.42 billion (31 December 2007)

Labor force:
11.5 million (2008 est.)

Imports - partners:
France 16.1%, Spain 13.6%, China 7.3%, Italy 6.7%, Saudi Arabia 6.4%, Germany 5.9%, US 4.5%, Netherlands 4.1% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
4.6% (2008 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 14.7%
industry: 38.9%
services: 46.5% (2008 est.)

Oil - imports:
192,500 bbl/day (2005 est.)

$16.14 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:
60 million cu m (2006 est.)

Currency (code):
Moroccan dirham (MAD)

Economy - overview:
Moroccan economic policies brought macroeconomic stability to the country in the early 1990s but have not spurred growth sufficient to reduce unemployment - nearing 20% in urban areas - despite the Moroccan Government's ongoing efforts to diversify the economy. Morocco's GDP growth rose to 5.3% in 2008, with the economy recovering from a draught in 2007 that severely reduced agricultural output and necessitated wheat imports at rising world prices. Moroccan authorities understand that reducing poverty and providing jobs are key to domestic security and development. In 2005, Morocco launched the National Initiative for Human Development (INDH), a $2 billion social development plan to address poverty and unemployment and to improve the living conditions of the country's urban slums. Moroccan authorities are implementing reform efforts to open the economy to international investors. Despite structural adjustment programs supported by the IMF, the World Bank, and the Paris Club, the dirham is only fully convertible for current account transactions. In 2000, Morocco entered an Association Agreement with the EU and, in 2006, entered a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the US. Long-term challenges include improving education and job prospects for Morocco's youth, and closing the income gap between the rich and the poor, which the government hopes to achieve by increasing tourist arrivals and boosting competitiveness in textiles.

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities:
crude petroleum, textile fabric, telecommunications equipment, wheat, gas and electricity, transistors, plastics

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

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line:
15% (2007 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:

Stock of quasi money:
$16.23 billion (31 December 2007)

Electricity - production:
21.88 billion kWh (2006 est.)

$34.44 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:
836,000 bbl (1 January 2008 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 44.6%
industry: 19.8%
services: 35.5% (2006 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:
1.557 billion cu m (1 January 2008 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$27.29 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Oil - consumption:
179,700 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$582 million (2008 est.)

Public debt:
60.2% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$35.36 billion (2008 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$75.49 billion (31 December 2007)

Currency code:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.6%
highest 10%: 30.9% (1999)

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

Economic aid - recipient:
ODA, $651.8 million (2005)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 95.4%
hydro: 4.6%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - production:
60 million cu m (2006 est.)

revenues: $26.09 billion
expenditures: $28.41 billion (2008 est.)

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Oil - production:
3,746 bbl/day (2007 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
7.3 million (2007)

Telephones - main lines in use:
2.394 million (2007)

3.1 million (1997)

Internet country code:

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 27, FM 25, shortwave 6 (1998)

6.64 million (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
20.029 million (2007)

Television broadcast stations:
35 (plus 66 repeaters) (1995)

Telephone system:
general assessment: modern system with all important capabilities; however, density is low with only 7 fixed lines available for each 100 persons; mobile-cellular subscribership is approaching 60 per 100 persons
domestic: good system composed of open-wire lines, cables, and microwave radio relay links; Internet available but expensive; principal switching centers are Casablanca and Rabat; national network nearly 100% digital using fiber-optic links; improved rural service employs microwave radio relay
international: country code - 212; landing point for the SEA-ME-WE-3 optical telecommunications submarine cable that provides 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 (2007)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
8 (2000)

Internet hosts:
275,889 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

gas 720 km; oil 439 km (2007)

total: 1,907 km
standard gauge: 1,907 km 1.435-m gauge (1,003 km electrified) (2006)

Ports and terminals:
Agadir, Casablanca, Mohammedia, Safi

1 (2007)

Merchant marine:
total: 35
by type: cargo 3, chemical tanker 6, container 8, passenger/cargo 13, petroleum tanker 1, roll on/roll off 4
foreign-owned: 16 (France 14, Germany 2)
registered in other countries: 4 (Gibraltar 4) (2008)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 27
over 3,047 m: 11
2,438 to 3,047 m: 6
1,524 to 2,437 m: 7
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 2 (2007)

total: 57,625 km
paved: 35,664 km (includes 639 km of expressways)
unpaved: 21,961 km (2006)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 33
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 9
914 to 1,523 m: 11
under 914 m: 11 (2007)

60 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation - 18 months (2004)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 9,152,580
females age 16-49: 9,080,830 (2008 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 7,627,988
females age 16-49: 7,754,873 (2008 est.)

Military branches:
Royal Armed Forces (Forces Armees Royales, FAR): Royal Moroccan Army (includes Air Defense), Navy (includes Marines), Royal Moroccan Air Force (Al Quwwat al Jawyiya al Malakiya Marakishiya; Force Aerienne Royale Marocaine) (2008)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 355,479
female: 343,016 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures:
5% of GDP (2003 est.)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

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; 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

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