of Morocco


Background: 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

 

Location: 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: Africa

Area:
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

Coastline: 1,835 km

Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: Mediterranean, becoming more extreme in the interior

Terrain: 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: 21%
permanent crops: 1%
permanent pastures: 47%
forests and woodland: 20%
other: 11% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 12,580 sq km (1993 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

Geography - note: strategic location along Strait of Gibraltar

People

 

Population: 30,122,350 (July 2000 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 35% (male 5,372,393; female 5,175,114)
15-64 years: 60% (male 9,021,259; female 9,163,548)
65 years and over: 5% (male 632,698; female 757,338) (2000 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.74% (2000 est.)

Birth rate: 24.6 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Death rate: 6.02 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Net migration rate: -1.21 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 est.)

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

Religions: Muslim 98.7%, Christian 1.1%, Jewish 0.2%

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

Literacy: age 15 and over can read and write

Government

 

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

Capital: Rabat

Administrative divisions: 37 provinces and 2 wilayas; Agadir, Al Hoceima, Azilal, Beni Mellal, Ben Slimane, Boulemane, Casablanca*, Chaouen, El Jadida, El Kelaa des Srarhna, 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.

Independence: 2 March 1956 (from France)

Legal system: based on Islamic law and French and Spanish civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts in Constitutional Chamber of Supreme Court

Suffrage: 21 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: King MOHAMED VI (since 23 July 1999)
head of government: Prime Minister Abderrahmane YOUSSOUFI (since 14 March 1998)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the monarch
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; prime minister appointed by the monarch following legislative elections

Economy

 

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. Since the early 1980s the government has pursued an economic program toward these objectives with the support of the IMF, the World Bank, and the Paris Club of creditors. The dirham is now fully convertible for current account transactions; reforms of the financial sector have been implemented; and state enterprises are being privatized. Drought conditions depressed activity in the key agricultural sector, and contributed to an economic slowdown in 1999. Favorable rainfalls have led Morocco to predict a growth of 6% for 2000. 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 improve living standards and job prospects for Morocco's youthful population.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $108 billion (1999 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 0% (1999 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $3,600 (1999 est.)

Population below poverty line: 13.1% (1990-91 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.8%
highest 10%: 30.5% (1990-91)

Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 50%, services 35%, industry 15% (1999 est.)

Unemployment rate: 19% (1998 est.)

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

Agriculture - products: barley, wheat, citrus, wine, vegetables, olives; livestock

Exports: $7.1 billion (f.o.b., 1998)

Exports - commodities: phosphates and fertilizers, food and beverages, minerals (1998)

Exports - partners: France 27%, Spain 11%, India 7%, Japan 6%, Italy 5% (1998)

Imports: $9.5 billion (f.o.b., 1998)

Imports - commodities: semi processed goods, machinery and equipment, food and beverages, consumer goods, fuel (1998)

Imports - partners: France 22%, Spain 10%, US 7%, Germany 6%, Italy 6% (1998)

Debt - external: $19.1 billion (1999 est.)

Economic aid - recipient: $565.6 million (1995)

Currency: 1 Moroccan dirham (DH) = 100 centimes

Exchange rates: Moroccan dirhams (DH) per US$1 - 10.051 (January 2000), 9.804 (1999), 9.604 (1998), 9.527 (1997), 8.716 (1996), 8.540 (1995)

 

Communications

 

Telephones - main lines in use: 1.391 million (1998)

Telephones - mobile cellular: 116,645 (1998)

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

Radios: 6.64 million (1997)

Television broadcast stations: 26 (plus 35 repeaters) (1997)

Televisions: 3.1 million (1997)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 27 (1999)

 

Transportation

 

Railways:
total: 1,907 km
standard gauge: 1,907 km 1.435-m gauge (1,003 km electrified; 540 km double track)

Highways:
total: 57,847 km
paved: 30,254 km (including 327 km of expressways)
unpaved: 27,593 km (1998 est.)

Pipelines: 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: 40 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 218,987 GRT/263,191 DWT
ships by type: cargo 9, chemical tanker 6, container 3, passenger 1, petroleum tanker 3, refrigerated cargo 9, roll-on/roll-off 8, short-sea passenger 1 (1999 est.)

Airports: 70 (1999 est.)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 26
over 3,047 m: 10
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 9
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (1999 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 44
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 10
914 to 1,523 m: 22
under 914 m: 11 (1999 est.)

Heliports: 1 (1999 est.)

Military

 

Military branches: Royal Armed Forces (includes Army, Navy, Air Force), Gendarmerie, Auxiliary Forces

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 3.8% (FY97/98)

Transnational Issues

 

Disputes - international: claims and administers Western Sahara, but sovereignty is unresolved and the UN is attempting to hold a referendum on the issue; the UN-administered cease-fire has been in effect since September 1991; Spain controls five places of sovereignty (plazas de soberania) on and off the coast of Morocco - the coastal enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla which Morocco contests, as well as the islands of Penon de Alhucemas, Penon de Velez de la Gomera, and Islas Chafarinas

Illicit drugs: illicit producer of hashish; trafficking on the increase 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

 

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