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Flag of Morocco
Map of Morocco
Introduction Morocco
Morocco's long struggle for independence from France ended in 1956. The internationalized city of Tangier was 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 in 1997.
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
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:
contiguous zone: 24 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
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: Jbel Toubkal 4,165 m
Natural resources:
phosphates, iron ore, manganese, lead, zinc, fish, salt
Land use:
arable land: 20.12%
permanent crops: 2.05%
other: 77.83% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
12,910 sq km (1998 est.)
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, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea
Geography - note:
strategic location along Strait of Gibraltar
People Morocco
31,167,783 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 33.8% (male 5,364,948; female 5,166,666)
15-64 years: 61.5% (male 9,518,503; female 9,640,292)
65 years and over: 4.7% (male 661,054; female 816,320) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.68% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
23.69 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
5.86 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
-1.09 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
46.49 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 69.73 years
female: 72.08 years (2002 est.)
male: 67.49 years
Total fertility rate:
2.97 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.03% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
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: 43.7%
male: 56.6%
female: 31% (1995 est.)
Government Morocco
Country name:
conventional long form: Kingdom of Morocco
conventional short form: Morocco
local short form: Al Maghrib
local long form: Al Mamlakah al Maghribiyah
Government type:
constitutional monarchy
Administrative divisions:
37 provinces and 2 wilayas*; Agadir, Al Hoceima, Azilal, Beni Mellal, Ben Slimane, Boulemane, Casablanca*, Chaouen, El Jadida, El Kelaa des Sraghna, Er Rachidia, Essaouira, Fes, Figuig, Guelmim, Ifrane, Kenitra, Khemisset, Khenifra, Khouribga, Laayoune, Larache, Marrakech, Meknes, Nador, Ouarzazate, Oujda, Rabat-Sale*, Safi, Settat, Sidi Kacem, Tanger, Tan-Tan, Taounate, Taroudannt, Tata, Taza, Tetouan, Tiznit
note: three additional provinces of Ad Dakhla (Oued Eddahab), Boujdour, and Es Smara as well as parts of Tan-Tan and Laayoune fall within Moroccan-claimed Western Sahara; decentralization/regionalization law passed by the legislature in March 1997 created many new provinces/regions; specific details and scope of the reorganization not yet available
2 March 1956 (from France)
National holiday:
Throne Day (accession of King MOHAMED VI to the throne), 30 July (1999)
10 March 1972, revised 4 September 1992, amended (to create bicameral legislature) September 1996
Legal system:
based on Islamic law and French and Spanish civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts in Constitutional Chamber of Supreme Court
21 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: King MOHAMED VI (since 23 July 1999)
head of government: Prime Minister Driss JETTOU (since 9 October 2002)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the monarch
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; prime minister appointed by the monarch following legislative elections
Legislative branch:
bicameral Parliament consists of an upper house or Chamber of Counselors (270 seats; members elected indirectly by local councils, professional organizations, and labor syndicates for nine-year terms; one-third of the members are renewed every three years) and a lower house or Chamber of Representatives (325 seats; members elected by popular vote for five-year terms)
elections: Chamber of Counselors - last held 15 September 2000 (next to be held NA 2003); Chamber of Representatives - last held 27 September 2002 (next to be held NA 2007)
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 - USFP 50, IP 48, PJD 42, RNI 41, MP 27, MNP 18, UC 16, FFD 12, PND 12, PPS 11, UD 10, MDS 7, PSD 6, Al Ahd 5, ADL 4, GSU 3, PML 3, PRD 3, FC 2, PDI 2, PED 2, CNI 1
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 [Muhammad EL IDRISSI]; Alliance of Liberties or ADL [Ali BELHAJ]; Annahj Addimocrati or Annahj [Abdellah EL HARIF]; Avant Garde Social Democratic Party or PADS [Ahmed BENJELLOUN]; Citizen Forces or FC [Abderrahman LAHJOUJI]; Citizen's Initiatives for Development [Mohamed BENHAMOU]; Constitutional Union or UC [Mohamed ABIED (interim)]; Democratic and Independence Party or PDI [Abdelwahed MAACH]; Democratic and Social Movement or MDS [Mahmoud ARCHANE]; Democratic Socialist Party or PSD [Aissa OUARDIGHI]; Democratic Union or UD [Bouazza IKKEN]; Environment and Development Party or PED [Ahmed EL ALAMI]; Front of Democratic Forces or FFD [Thami EL KHYARI]; Istiqlal Party (Independence Party) or IP [Abbas El FASSI]; Justice and Development Party (note - formerly the Party of Justice and Development) or PJD [Abdelkrim EL KHATIB]; 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 [Ahmed OSMAN]; National Union of Popular Forces or UNFP [Abdellah IBRAHIM]; Parti Al Ahd or Al Ahd [Najib EL OUAZZANI, chairman]; Party of Progress and Socialism or PPS [Ismail ALAOUI]; Party of Renewent and Equity or PRE [Chakir ACHABAR]; Party of the Unified Socialist Left or GSU [Mohamed Ben Said AIT IDDER]; Popular Movement or MP [Mohamed LAENSER]; Reform and Development Party or PRD [Abderrahmane EL KOUHEN]; Social Center Party or PSC [Lahcen MADIH]; Socialist Union of Popular Forces or USFP [Abderrahman EL-YOUSSOUFI]
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 [leader NA]; National Labor Union of Morocco or UNMT [Abdelslam MAATI]; Union of Moroccan Workers or UMT [Mahjoub BENSEDDIK]
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Aziz MEKOUAR
consulate(s) general: New York
FAX: [1] (202) 265-0161
telephone: [1] (202) 462-7979 through 7982
chancery: 1601 21st Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Ms. Margaret TUTWILER
embassy: 2 Avenue de Mohamed El Fassi, Rabat
mailing address: PSC 74, Box 021, APO AE 90718
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 Solomon's seal in the center of the flag; green is the traditional color of Islam
Economy Morocco
Economy - overview:
Morocco faces the problems typical of developing countries - restraining government spending, reducing constraints on private activity and foreign trade, and achieving sustainable economic growth. Following structural adjustment programs supported by the IMF, World Bank, and the Paris Club, the dirham is now fully convertible for current account transactions, and reforms of the financial sector have been implemented. Droughts depressed activity in the key agricultural sector and contributed to a stagnant economy in 1999 and 2000. During that time, however, Morocco reported large foreign exchange inflows from the sale of a mobile telephone license and partial privatization of the state-owned telecommunications company. Favorable rainfall in 2001 led to a growth of 5%. Formidable long-term challenges include: servicing the external debt; preparing the economy for freer trade with the EU; and improving education and attracting foreign investment to boost living standards and job prospects for Morocco's youth.
purchasing power parity - $112 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
5% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $3,700 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 15%
industry: 33%
services: 52% (2000 est.)
Population below poverty line:
19% (1999 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 3%
highest 10%: 31% (1998-99)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
40 (1998-99 )
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
1% (2001 est.)
Labor force:
11 million (1999) (1999)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 50%, services 35%, industry 15% (1999 est.)
Unemployment rate:
23% (1999 est.)
revenues: $13.8 billion
expenditures: $14.6 billion, including capital expenditures of $2.1 billion (2001 est.)
phosphate rock mining and processing, food processing, leather goods, textiles, construction, tourism
Industrial production growth rate:
0.5% (1999 est.)
Electricity - production:
14.243 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 91%
hydro: 9%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
14.346 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
1.1 billion kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
barley, wheat, citrus, wine, vegetables, olives; livestock
$8.2 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Exports - commodities:
phosphates and fertilizers, food and beverages, minerals
Exports - partners:
France 26%, Spain 10%, UK 8%, Italy 6%, Germany 5%, India 5%, US 5% (2000)
$12.4 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Imports - commodities:
semiprocessed goods, machinery and equipment, food and beverages, consumer goods, fuel
Imports - partners:
France 25%, Spain 11%, Germany 6%, Italy 6%, UK 5%, US 5% (2000)
Debt - external:
$19 billion (2001 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$565.6 million (1995) (1995)
Moroccan dirham (MAD)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Moroccan dirhams per US dollar - 11.584 (January 2002), 11.303 (2001), 10.626 (2000), 9.804 (1999), 9.604 (1998), 9.527 (1997)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Morocco
Telephones - main lines in use:
1.391 million (1998)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
116,645 (1998)
Telephone system:
general assessment: modern system with all important capabilities; however density is low with only 4.6 main lines available for each 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: 7 submarine cables; 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 (1998)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 27, FM 25, shortwave 6 (1998)
6.64 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
35 (plus 66 repeaters) (1995)
3.1 million (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
8 (2000)
Internet users:
400,000 (2002)
Transportation Morocco
total: 1,907 km
standard gauge: 1,907 km 1.435-m gauge (1,003 km electrified; 540 km double-tracked) (2001)
total: 57,847 km
paved: 30,254 km (including 327 km of expressways)
unpaved: 27,593 km (1998)
crude oil 362 km; petroleum products 491 km (abandoned); natural gas 241 km
Ports and harbors:
Agadir, El Jadida, Casablanca, El Jorf Lasfar, Kenitra, Mohammedia, Nador, Rabat, Safi, Tangier; also Spanish-controlled Ceuta and Melilla
Merchant marine:
total: 41 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 227,364 GRT/277,306 DWT
ships by type: cargo 10, chemical tanker 6, container 6, petroleum tanker 2, refrigerated cargo 8, roll on/roll off 8, short-sea passenger 1
note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Germany 1, Hong Kong 1, Netherlands 2, Norway 2 (2002 est.)
67 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 26
over 3,047 m: 11
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2002)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 8
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 37
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 11
under 914 m: 11 (2002)
914 to 1,523 m: 14
1 (2002)
Military Morocco
Military branches:
Royal Armed Forces (includes Army, Navy, Air Force), Gendarmerie, Auxiliary Forces
Military manpower - military age:
18 years of age (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 8,393,772 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 5,289,283 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 348,380 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$1.4 billion (FY99/00)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
4% (FY99/00)
Transnational Issues Morocco
Disputes - international:
claims and administers Western Sahara, but sovereignty remains unresolved; UN-administered cease-fire has remained in effect since September 1991, but attempts to hold a referendum have failed and parties reject other proposals; Spain controls three small possessions off the coast of Morocco - the islands of Penon de Alhucemas, Penon de Velez de la Gomera, and Islas Chafarinas and two autonomous communities on the coast of Morrocco - Ceuta and Mellila; Morocco rejected Spain's unilateral designation of a median line from the Canary Islands in 2002 to explore undersea resources and to interdict illegal refugees from Africa
Illicit drugs:
illicit producer of hashish; trafficking increasing for both domestic and international drug markets; shipments of hashish mostly directed to Western Europe; transit point for cocaine from South America destined for Western Europe

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003