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 Transnational Issues

This page was last updated on 18 January, 2007

Map of Morocco

Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Morocco Top of Page
Definition Field Listing
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. Lower house elections were last held held in September 2002 and upper house elections were last held in September 2006.
   Geography    Morocco Top of Page
Definition Field Listing
Northern Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, between Algeria and Western Sahara
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
32 00 N, 5 00 W
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 446,550 sq km
land: 446,300 sq km
water: 250 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly larger than California
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
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
Definition Field Listing
1,835 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Definition Field Listing
Mediterranean, becoming more extreme in the interior
Definition Field Listing
northern coast and interior are mountainous with large areas of bordering plateaus, intermontane valleys, and rich coastal plains
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Sebkha Tah -55 m
highest point: Jebel Toubkal 4,165 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
phosphates, iron ore, manganese, lead, zinc, fish, salt
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 19%
permanent crops: 2%
other: 79% (2005)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
14,450 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
northern mountains geologically unstable and subject to earthquakes; periodic droughts
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
strategic location along Strait of Gibraltar
   People    Morocco Top of Page
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
33,241,259 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 31.6% (male 5,343,976/female 5,145,019)
15-64 years: 63.4% (male 10,505,018/female 10,580,599)
65 years and over: 5% (male 725,116/female 941,531) (2006 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 23.9 years
male: 23.4 years
female: 24.5 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
1.55% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
21.98 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5.58 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
-0.87 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
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: 0.77 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 40.24 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 43.99 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 36.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 70.94 years
male: 68.62 years
female: 73.37 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.68 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
15,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
Major infectious diseases:
Definition Field Listing
degree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, and hepatitis A
vectorborne diseases: may be a significant risk in some locations during the transmission season (typically April through November) (2005)
Definition Field Listing
noun: Moroccan(s)
adjective: Moroccan
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
Arab-Berber 99.1%, other 0.7%, Jewish 0.2%
Definition Field Listing
Muslim 98.7%, Christian 1.1%, Jewish 0.2%
Definition Field Listing
Arabic (official), Berber dialects, French often the language of business, government, and diplomacy
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 51.7%
male: 64.1%
female: 39.4% (2003 est.)
   Government    Morocco Top of Page
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: Kingdom of Morocco
conventional short form: Morocco
local long form: Al Mamlakah al Maghribiyah
local short form: Al Maghrib
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
constitutional monarchy
Definition Field Listing
name: Rabat
geographic coordinates: 34 02 N, 6 51 W
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
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 claims another region, Oued Eddahab-Lagouira, which falls entirely within Western Sahara
Definition Field Listing
2 March 1956 (from France)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Throne Day (accession of King MOHAMED VI to the throne), 30 July (1999)
Definition Field Listing
10 March 1972; revised 4 September 1992, amended (to create bicameral legislature) September 1996
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
based on Islamic law and French and Spanish civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts in Constitutional Chamber of Supreme Court
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal (as of January 2003)
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
chief of state: King MOHAMED VI (since 30 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:
Definition Field Listing
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; 295 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 6 October 2003 (next to be held in 2006); Chamber of Representatives - last held 27 September 2002 (next to be held in 2007)
election results: Chamber of Counselors - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - RNI 42, MDS 33, UC 28, MP 27, PND 21, PI 21, USFP 16, MNP 15, PA 13, FFD 12, other 42; Chamber of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - USFP 50, PI 48, PJD 42, RNI 41, MP 27, MNP 18, UC 16, PND 12, PPS 11, UD 10, other 50
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
Supreme Court (judges are appointed on the recommendation of the Supreme Council of the Judiciary, presided over by the monarch)
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
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 PI [Abbas El FASSI]; Justice and Development Party or PJD [Saad Eddine El OTHMANI]; 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 Renewal and Equity or PRE [Chakir ACHABAR]; Party of the Unified Socialist Left or GSU [Mohamed Ben Said AIT IDDER]; Popular Movement Union or UMP [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 [Mohammed El-YAZGHI]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
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]
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Thomas T. RILEY
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:
Definition Field Listing
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
   Economy    Morocco Top of Page
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
Moroccan economic policies brought macroeconomic stability to the country in the early 1990s but have not spurred growth sufficient to reduce unemployment that nears 20% in urban areas. Poverty has increased due to the volatile nature of GDP, Morocco's continued dependence on foreign energy, and its inability to promote the growth of small and medium size enterprises. However, GDP growth rebounded to 6.7% in 2006 due to high rainfall, which resulted in a strong second harvest. 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 and Morocco's financial sector is rudimentary. Moroccan authorities understand that reducing poverty and providing jobs is key to domestic security and development. In 2004, Moroccan authorities instituted measures to boost foreign direct investment and trade by signing a free trade agreement with the US, which entered into force in January 2006, and sold government shares in the state telecommunications company and in the largest state-owned bank. Long-term challenges include preparing the economy for freer trade with the US and European Union, improving education and job prospects for Morocco's youth, and raising living standards, which the government hopes to achieve by increasing tourist arrivals and boosting competitiveness in textiles.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$147 billion (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
Definition Field Listing
$56.72 billion (2006 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6.7% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$4,400 (2006 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 13.3%
industry: 31.2%
services: 55.5% (2006 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
11.25 million (2006 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 40%
industry: 15%
services: 45% (2003 est.)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
7.7% (2006 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
19% (2005 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: 2.6%
highest 10%: 30.9% (1998-99)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
Definition Field Listing
40 (2005 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.8% (2006 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
21.7% of GDP (2006 est.)
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $15.85 billion
expenditures: $20.39 billion; including capital expenditures of $2.19 billion (2006 est.)
Public debt:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
70.9% of GDP (2006 est.)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
barley, wheat, citrus, wine, vegetables, olives; livestock
Definition Field Listing
phosphate rock mining and processing, food processing, leather goods, textiles, construction, tourism
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4% (2004 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
18.48 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
18.89 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2004)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
1.7 billion kWh (2004)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
300 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
170,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 bbl/day (2000 est.)
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
147,800 bbl/day (2000 est.)
Oil - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
100 million bbl (2006 est.)
Natural gas - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
50 million cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
50 million cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m
Natural gas - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m
Natural gas - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.218 billion cu m (1 January 2005 est.)
Current account balance:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$389 million (2006 est.)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$11.72 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
clothing, fish, inorganic chemicals, transistors, crude minerals, fertilizers (including phosphates), petroleum products, fruits, vegetables
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
France 30.3%, Spain 18%, UK 6.2%, Italy 5.2%, India 4.1% (2005)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$21.22 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
crude petroleum, textile fabric, telecommunications equipment, wheat, gas and electricity, transistors, plastics
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
France 18.2%, Spain 11%, Saudi Arabia 6.8%, Russia 6.8%, Italy 6.1%, China 5.2%, Germany 4.7% (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$18.21 billion (2006 est.)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$17.9 billion (2006 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
ODA, $706 million (2004)
Currency (code):
Definition Field Listing
Moroccan dirham (MAD)
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
Moroccan dirhams per US dollar - 8.77508 (2006), 8.865 (2005), 8.868 (2004), 9.574 (2003), 11.021 (2002)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
calendar year
   Communications    Morocco Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1,341,200 (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
12.393 million (2005)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: modern system with all important capabilities; however, density is low with only 4 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: country code - 212; 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:
Definition Field Listing
AM 27, FM 25, shortwave 6 (1998)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
35 (plus 66 repeaters) (1995)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3,218 (2006)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4.6 million (2005)
   Transportation    Morocco Top of Page
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
60 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 26
over 3,047 m: 11
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 7
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 2 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 34
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 9
914 to 1,523 m: 12
under 914 m: 11 (2006)
Definition Field Listing
1 (2006)
Definition Field Listing
gas 715 km; oil 285 km (2006)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 1,907 km
standard gauge: 1,907 km 1.435-m gauge (1,003 km electrified) (2005)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 57,493 km
paved: 32,716 km (including 507 km of expressways)
unpaved: 24,777 km (2004)
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 41 ships (1000 GRT or over) 382,781 GRT/285,435 DWT
by type: cargo 5, chemical tanker 6, container 9, passenger/cargo 13, petroleum tanker 1, refrigerated cargo 2, roll on/roll off 5
foreign-owned: 5 (France 1, Germany 2, Switzerland 1, UK 1)
registered in other countries: 1 (Panama 1) (2006)
Ports and terminals:
Definition Field Listing
Agadir, Casablanca, Mohammedia, Nador, Safi, Tangier
   Military    Morocco Top of Page
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Royal Armed Forces (Forces Armees Royales, FAR): Royal Moroccan Army (includes Air Defense), Navy (includes Marines), Royal Moroccan Air Force (Force Aerienne Royale Marocaine) (2006)
Military service age and obligation:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation - 18 months (2004)
Manpower available for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 7,908,864
females age 18-49: 7,882,879 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 6,484,787
females age 18-49: 6,675,729 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 353,377
females age 18-49: 341,677 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5% (2003 est.)
   Transnational Issues    Morocco Top of Page
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
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 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:
Definition Field Listing
illicit producer of hashish; 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 18 January, 2007

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