Africa :: Morocco

Introduction ::Morocco

    In 788, about a century after the Arab conquest of North Africa, a series of Moroccan Muslim 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, dates from 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. Although Morocco is not the UN-recognized Administering Power for the Western Sahara, it exercises de facto administrative control there. The UN assists with direct negotiations between Morocco and the Polisario Front, but 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. Morocco enjoys a moderately free press, but the government has taken action against journalists who they perceive to be challenging the monarchy, Islam, or the status of Western Sahara. Influenced by protests elsewhere in the region, in February 2011 thousands of Moroccans began weekly rallies in multiple cities across the country to demand greater democracy and end to government corruption. Overall the response of Moroccan security forces was subdued compared to the violence elsewhere in the region. King MOHAMMED VI responded quickly with a reform program that included a new constitution and early elections. The constitution was passed by popular referendum in July 2011; some new powers were extended to parliament and the prime minister, but ultimate authority remains in the hands of the monarch. In early elections in November 2012, the Justice and Development Party - a moderate Islamist party, won the largest number of seats, becoming the first Islamist party to lead the Moroccan Government. In January 2012, Morocco assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2012-13 term.

Geography ::Morocco

People and Society ::Morocco

Government ::Morocco

    conventional long form: Kingdom of Morocco
    conventional short form: Morocco
    local long form: Al Mamlakah al Maghribiyah
    local short form: Al Maghrib
    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)
    daylight saving time: +1 hr, begins last Sunday in April; ends last Sunday in September
    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 that falls entirely within Western Sahara
    2 March 1956 (from France)
    Throne Day (accession of King MOHAMMED VI to the throne), 30 July (1999)
    10 March 1972; revised 4 September 1992, amended September 1996; revised constitution approved by referendum 1 July 2011 referendum
    mixed legal system of civil law based on French law and Islamic law; judicial review of legislative acts by Supreme Court
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: King MOHAMMED VI (since 30 July 1999)
    head of government: Prime Minister Abdelillah BENKIRANE (since 29 November 2011)
    cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister as well as Minister Delegates to each ministry appoined by the Palace
    (For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
    elections: the monarchy is hereditary; prime minister appointed by the monarch following legislative elections
    bicameral Parliament consists of the Chamber of Counsilors (or upper house) (270 seats - to be reduced to a maximum of 120; members elected indirectly by local councils, professional organizations, and labor syndicates to serve six-year terms; one-third of the members are elected every three years) and Chamber of Representatives (or lower house) (395 seats; 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 mid-2013); Chamber of Representatives - last held on 25 November 2011 (next to be held in 2016)
    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 - PJD 107, PI 60, RNI 52, PAM 47, USFP 39, MP 32, UC 23, PPS 18, other 17
    highest court(s): Supreme Court or Court of Cassation (consists of 5-judge panels organized into civil, family matters, commercial, administrative, social, and criminal sections)
    judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the monarch upon the recommendation of the Supreme Council of the Judiciary
    subordinate courts: courts of appeal; regional and sadad courts (for religious, civil and administrative, and penal adjudication)
    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 [Mustapha BAKKOURY, 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 [Hamid CHABAT]
    Party of Justice and Development or PJD [Abdelillah BENKIRANE]
    Labor Party or LP [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 [Driss LACHGAR]
    Unified Socialist Left Party or PGSU [Mohamed Ben Said AIT IDDER]
    Democratic Confederation of Labor or CDT [Noubir AMAOUI]
    General Union of Moroccan Workers or UGTM [Abderrazzak AFILAL]
    Justice and Charity Organization or JCO
    Moroccan Employers Association or CGEM [Hassan CHAMI]
    National Labor Union of Morocco or UNMT [Abdelslam MAATI]
    Union of Moroccan Workers or UMT [Mahjoub BENSEDDIK]
    ABEDA, AfDB, AFESD, AMF, AMU, CAEU, CD, EBRD, FAO, G-11, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAS, MIGA, MONUSCO, NAM, OAS (observer), OIC, OIF, OPCW, OSCE (partner), Paris Club (associate), PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNOCI, UNSC (temporary), UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
    chief of mission: Ambassador Mohammed Rachad BOUHLAL
    chancery: 1601 21st Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
    telephone: [1] (202) 462-7979
    FAX: [1] (202) 462-7643
    consulate(s) general: New York
    chief of mission: ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Matthew LUSSENHOP
    embassy: 2 Avenue de Mohamed El Fassi, Rabat
    mailing address: Unit 9400, Box 021, DPO AE 09718
    telephone: [212] (537) 76 22 65
    FAX: [212] (537) 76 56 61
    consulate(s) general: Casablanca
    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
    pentacle symbol; lion
    name: "Hymne Cherifien" (Hymn of the Sharif)

    lyrics/music: Ali Squalli HOUSSAINI/Leo MORGAN
    note: music adopted 1956, lyrics adopted 1970

Economy ::Morocco

    Morocco has capitalized on its proximity to Europe and relatively low labor costs to build a diverse, open, market-oriented economy. In the 1980s Morocco was a heavily indebted country before pursuing austerity measures and pro-market reforms, overseen by the IMF. Since taking the throne in 1999, King MOHAMMED VI has presided over a stable economy marked by steady growth, low inflation, and gradually falling unemployment, although a poor harvest and economic difficulties in Europe contributed to an economic slowdown in 2012. Industrial development strategies and infrastructure improvements - most visibly illustrated by a new port and free trade zone near Tangier - are improving Morocco's competitiveness. Morocco also seeks to expand its renewable energy capacity with a goal of making renewable 40% of electricity output by 2020. Key sectors of the economy include agriculture, tourism, phosphates, textiles, apparel, and subcomponents. To boost exports, Morocco entered into a bilateral Free Trade Agreement with the United States in 2006 and an Advanced Status agreement with the European Union in 2008. Despite Morocco's economic progress, the country suffers from high unemployment, poverty, and illiteracy, particularly in rural areas. In 2011 and 2012, high prices on fuel - which is subsidized and almost entirely imported - strained the government''s budget and widened the country''s current account deficit. Key economic challenges for Morocco include fighting corruption and reforming the education system, the judiciary, and the government''s costly subsidy program.
    $174 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 60
    $169 billion (2011 est.)
    $161 billion (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    $97.53 billion (2012 est.)
    3% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 110
    5% (2011 est.)
    3.6% (2010 est.)
    $5,400 (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 155
    $5,300 (2011 est.)
    $5,100 (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    26.4% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 37
    27.6% of GDP (2011 est.)
    30.1% of GDP (2010 est.)
    household consumption: 59.7%
    government consumption: 19.2%
    investment in fixed capital: 31.4%
    investment in inventories: 3.9%
    exports of goods and services: 36.2%
    imports of goods and services: -50.4%
    (2012 est.)
    agriculture: 15.1%
    industry: 31.7%
    services: 53.2% (2012 est.)
    barley, wheat, citrus fruits, grapes, vegetables, olives; livestock; wine
    phosphate rock mining and processing, food processing, leather goods, textiles, construction, energy, tourism
    0.9% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 120
    11.53 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 47
    agriculture: 44.6%
    industry: 19.8%
    services: 35.5% (2006 est.)
    9% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 102
    8.9% (2011 est.)
    15% (2007 est.)
    lowest 10%: 2.7%
    highest 10%: 33.2% (2007)
    40.9 (2007 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 55
    39.5 (1999 est.)
    revenues: $25.33 billion
    expenditures: $33.29 billion (2012 est.)
    26% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 118
    -8.2% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 195
    71.2% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 37
    64.8% of GDP (2011 est.)
    calendar year
    1.2% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 19
    0.9% (2011 est.)
    6.5% (31 December 2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 99
    3.31% (31 December 2009 est.)
    6.3% (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 137
    6.32% (31 December 2011 est.)
    $72.33 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 42
    $68.41 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $107.2 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 53
    $102.4 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
    $112.9 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 50
    $104 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $60.09 billion (31 December 2011)
    country comparison to the world: 49
    $69.15 billion (31 December 2010)
    $62.91 billion (31 December 2009)
    -$8.508 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 174
    -$8.337 billion (2011 est.)
    $21.8 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 73
    $21.51 billion (2011 est.)
    clothing and textiles, electric components, inorganic chemicals, transistors, crude minerals, fertilizers (including phosphates), petroleum products, citrus fruits, vegetables, fish
    France 21%, Spain 17.3%, Brazil 5.4%, India 4.9%, US 4.6% (2012)
    $42.45 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 59
    $40.96 billion (2011 est.)
    crude petroleum, textile fabric, telecommunications equipment, wheat, gas and electricity, transistors, plastics
    Spain 13.1%, France 12.1%, China 6.9%, US 6.8%, Saudi Arabia 6.2%, Italy 5.1%, Russia 5%, Germany 4.9% (2012)
    $17.54 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 61
    $20.64 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $33.98 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 69
    $29.05 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $49.93 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 54
    $47.78 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $1.353 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 74
    $1.603 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    Moroccan dirhams (MAD) per US dollar -
    8.6087 (2012 est.)
    8.0899 (2011 est.)
    8.4172 (2010 est.)
    8.0571 (2009)
    7.526 (2008)

Energy ::Morocco

Communications ::Morocco

    3.566 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 44
    36.554 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 31
    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 exceeds 100 per 100 persons
    international: country code - 212; landing point for the Atlas Offshore, Estepona-Tetouan, Euroafrica, Spain-Morocco, and SEA-ME-WE-3 fiber-optic 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 (2011)
    2 TV 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)
    277,338 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 66
    13.213 million (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 29

Transportation ::Morocco

    55 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 86
    total: 31
    over 3,047 m: 11
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 9
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 7
    914 to 1,523 m: 4 (2013)
    total: 24
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 7
    914 to 1,523 m: 11
    under 914 m:
    5 (2013)
    1 (2013)
    gas 944 km; oil 270 km; refined products 175 km (2013)
    total: 2,067 km
    country comparison to the world: 70
    standard gauge: 2,067 km 1.435-m gauge (1,022 km electrified) (2008)
    total: 58,256 km
    country comparison to the world: 76
    paved: 39,480 km (includes 866 km of expressways)
    unpaved: 18,776 km (2006)
    total: 26
    country comparison to the world: 88
    by type: cargo 1, chemical tanker 3, container 6, passenger/cargo 14, roll on/roll off 2
    foreign-owned: 14 (France 3, Germany 1, Italy 1, Spain 9)
    registered in other countries: 4 (Gibraltar 4) (2010)
    Casablanca, Jorf Lasfar, Mohammedia, Safi, Tangier

Military ::Morocco

Transnational Issues ::Morocco

    claims and administers Western Sahara whose sovereignty remains unresolved; 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; Algeria's border with Morocco remains an irritant to bilateral relations, each nation accusing the other of harboring militants and arms smuggling; the National Liberation Front's assertions of a claim to Chirac Pastures in southeastern Morocco is a dormant dispute
    current situation: Morocco is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children who are subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; Moroccan adults and children are exploited for forced labor and forced prostitution in the Middle East and Europe; some Moroccan girls recruited to work as maids experience conditions of forced labor, while some Moroccan boys are forced to work as apprentices in the artisan and construction industries and in mechanic shops; women and children from sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia who voluntarily enter Morocco are subsequently coerced into prostitution or, less frequently, domestic service; women and children from Cote d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Nigeria are also vulnerable to sex trafficking and, to a lesser extent, forced labor in Morocco
    tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Morocco does not comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; the government does not demonstrate progress in investigating, prosecuting, convicting, and adequately punishing trafficking offenders and has failed to provide law enforcement data; it has not developed or employed systematic procedures to proactively identify trafficking victims among vulnerable groups, particularly the sub-Saharan migrant community, but has made some efforts to offer protective services to Moroccan women and child trafficking victims; Morocco continues to lack a single comprehensive anti-trafficking law (2013)
    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