Photos of Morocco

Decorated door in the Kasbah in Tangier.

Introduction

Background

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. Since Spain's 1976 withdrawal from what is today called Western Sahara, Morocco has extended its de facto administrative control to roughly 75% of this territory; however, the UN does not recognize Morocco as the administering power for Western Sahara. The UN since 1991 has monitored a cease-fire between Morocco and the Polisario Front - an organization advocating the territory’s independence - and restarted negotiations over the status of the territory in December 2018. On 10 December 2020, the US recognized Morocco's sovereignty over all of Western Sahara.

King MOHAMMED VI in early 2011 responded to the spread of pro-democracy protests in the North Africa region by implementing a reform program that included a new constitution, passed by popular referendum in July 2011, under which some new powers were extended to parliament and the prime minister, but ultimate authority remains in the hands of the monarch. In November 2011, the Justice and Development Party (PJD) - a moderate Islamist party - won the largest number of seats in parliamentary elections, becoming the first Islamist party to lead the Moroccan Government. In September 2015, Morocco held its first direct elections for regional councils, one of the reforms included in the 2011 constitution. The PJD again won the largest number of seats in nationwide parliamentary elections in October 2016. In December 2020, Morocco signed a normalization agreement with Israel, similar to those that Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Sudan had concluded with Israel earlier in 2020 .

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

Location

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

Geographic coordinates

28 30 N, 10 00 W

Area

total: 716,550 sq km

land: 716,300 sq km

water: 250 sq km

country comparison to the world: 41

Area - comparative

slightly larger than twice the size of California

<p>slightly more than three times the size of New York; slightly larger than California</p>

Land boundaries

total: 3,523.5 km

border countries (3): Algeria 1941 km, Mauritania 1564 km, Spain (Ceuta) 8 km and Spain (Melilla) 10.5 km

note: an additional 75-meter border segment exists between Morocco and the Spanish exclave of Penon de Velez de la Gomera

Coastline

2,945 km

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

Climate

Mediterranean in the north, becoming more extreme in the interior; in the south, hot, dry desert; rain is rare; cold offshore air currents produce fog and heavy dew

note:  data does not include former Western Sahara

Terrain

mountainous northern coast (Rif Mountains) and interior (Atlas Mountains) bordered by large plateaus with intermontane valleys, and fertile coastal plains; the south is mostly low, flat desert with large areas of rocky or sandy surfaces 

Elevation

highest point: Jebel Toubkal 4,165 m

lowest point: Sebkha Tah -59 m

mean elevation: 909 m

Natural resources

phosphates, iron ore, manganese, lead, zinc, fish, salt

Land use

agricultural land: 67.5% (2018 est.)

arable land: 17.5% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 2.9% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 47.1% (2018 est.)

forest: 11.5% (2018 est.)

other: 21% (2018 est.)

note: does not include the area of the former Western Sahara, which is almost exclusively desert

Irrigated land

14,850 sq km (2012)

Population distribution

the highest population density is found along the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts; a number of densely populated agglomerations are found scattered through the Atlas Mountains as shown in this population distribution map

Natural hazards

in the north, the mountains are geologically unstable and subject to earthquakes; periodic droughts; windstorms; flash floods; landslides; in the south, a hot, dry, dust/sand-laden sirocco wind can occur during winter and spring; widespread harmattan haze exists 60% of time, often severely restricting visibility

Geography - note

strategic location along Strait of Gibraltar; the only African nation to have both Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines; the waters off the Atlantic coast are particularly rich fishing areas

People and Society

Population

36,561,813 (July 2021 est.)

note: includes Western Sahara

country comparison to the world: 40

Nationality

noun: Moroccan(s)

adjective: Moroccan

Ethnic groups

Arab-Berber 99%, other 1%

note: does not include data from the former Western Sahara

Languages

Arabic (official), Berber languages (Tamazight (official), Tachelhit, Tarifit), French (often the language of business, government, and diplomacy); note - the proportion of Berber speakers is disputed; does not include data from the former Western Sahara

major-language sample(s):
كتاب ديال لحقائق متاع العالم، احسن مصدر متاع المعلومات الأساسية (Arabic)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.

Arabic audio sample:

Religions

Muslim 99% (official; virtually all Sunni, <0.1% Shia), other 1% (includes Christian, Jewish, and Baha'i); note - Jewish about 6,000 (2010 est.)

note: does not include data from the former Western Sahara

Demographic profile

Morocco is undergoing a demographic transition. Its population is growing but at a declining rate, as people live longer and women have fewer children. Infant, child, and maternal mortality rates have been reduced through better health care, nutrition, hygiene, and vaccination coverage, although disparities between urban and rural and rich and poor households persist. Morocco’s shrinking child cohort reflects the decline of its total fertility rate from 5 in mid-1980s to 2.2 in 2010, which is a result of increased female educational attainment, higher contraceptive use, delayed marriage, and the desire for smaller families. Young adults (persons aged 15-29) make up almost 26% of the total population and represent a potential economic asset if they can be gainfully employed. Currently, however, many youths are unemployed because Morocco’s job creation rate has not kept pace with the growth of its working-age population. Most youths who have jobs work in the informal sector with little security or benefits.

During the second half of the 20th century, Morocco became one of the world’s top emigration countries, creating large, widely dispersed migrant communities in Western Europe. The Moroccan Government has encouraged emigration since its independence in 1956, both to secure remittances for funding national development and as an outlet to prevent unrest in rebellious (often Berber) areas. Although Moroccan labor migrants earlier targeted Algeria and France, the flood of Moroccan "guest workers" from the mid-1960s to the early 1970s spread widely across northwestern Europe to fill unskilled jobs in the booming manufacturing, mining, construction, and agriculture industries. Host societies and most Moroccan migrants expected this migration to be temporary, but deteriorating economic conditions in Morocco related to the 1973 oil crisis and tighter European immigration policies resulted in these stays becoming permanent.

A wave of family migration followed in the 1970s and 1980s, with a growing number of second generation Moroccans opting to become naturalized citizens of their host countries. Spain and Italy emerged as new destination countries in the mid-1980s, but their introduction of visa restrictions in the early 1990s pushed Moroccans increasingly to migrate either legally by marrying Moroccans already in Europe or illegally to work in the underground economy. Women began to make up a growing share of these labor migrants. At the same time, some higher-skilled Moroccans went to the US and Quebec, Canada.

In the mid-1990s, Morocco developed into a transit country for asylum seekers from Sub-Saharan Africa and illegal labor migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia trying to reach Europe via southern Spain, Spain’s Canary Islands, or Spain’s North African enclaves, Ceuta and Melilla. Forcible expulsions by Moroccan and Spanish security forces have not deterred these illegal migrants or calmed Europe’s security concerns. Rabat remains unlikely to adopt an EU agreement to take back third-country nationals who have entered the EU illegally via Morocco. Thousands of other illegal migrants have chosen to stay in Morocco until they earn enough money for further travel or permanently as a "second-best" option. The launching of a regularization program in 2014 legalized the status of some migrants and granted them equal access to education, health care, and work, but xenophobia and racism remain obstacles.

Age structure

0-14 years: 27.04% (male 4,905,626/female 4,709,333)

15-24 years: 16.55% (male 2,953,523/female 2,930,708)

25-54 years: 40.64% (male 7,126,781/female 7,325,709)

55-64 years: 8.67% (male 1,533,771/female 1,548,315)

65 years and over: 7.11% (male 1,225,307/female 1,302,581) (2020 est.)

note: does not include data from the former Western Sahara

This is the population pyramid for Morocco. A population pyramid illustrates the age and sex structure of a country's population and may provide insights about political and social stability, as well as economic development. The population is distributed along the horizontal axis, with males shown on the left and females on the right. The male and female populations are broken down into 5-year age groups represented as horizontal bars along the vertical axis, with the youngest age groups at the bottom and the oldest at the top. The shape of the population pyramid gradually evolves over time based on fertility, mortality, and international migration trends. <br/><br/>For additional information, please see the entry for Population pyramid on the Definitions and Notes page.

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 52.4

youth dependency ratio: 40.8

elderly dependency ratio: 11.6

potential support ratio: 8.6 (2020 est.)

note: does not include data from the former Western Sahara

Median age

total: 29.1 years

male: 28.7 years

female: 29.6 years (2020 est.)

note: does not include data from the former Western Sahara

country comparison to the world: 137

Population growth rate

0.92% (2021 est.)

note: does not include data from the former Western Sahara

country comparison to the world: 109

Birth rate

17.58 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

note: does not include data from the former Western Sahara

country comparison to the world: 88

Death rate

6.53 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

note: does not include data from the former Western Sahara

country comparison to the world: 135

Net migration rate

-1.83 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

note: does not include data from the former Western Sahara

country comparison to the world: 166

Population distribution

the highest population density is found along the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts; a number of densely populated agglomerations are found scattered through the Atlas Mountains as shown in this population distribution map

Urbanization

urban population: 64.1% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 1.88% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

note:  data does not include former Western Sahara

Major urban areas - population

3.794 million Casablanca, 1.907 million RABAT (capital), 1.245 million Fes, 1.238 million Tangier, 1.017 million Marrakech, 942,000 Agadir (2021)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.97 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.94 male(s)/female

total population: 1 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

note: does not include data from the former Western Sahara

Maternal mortality ratio

70 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

note: does not include data from the former Western Sahara

country comparison to the world: 84

Infant mortality rate

total: 19 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 21.27 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 16.62 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

note: does not include data from the former Western Sahara

country comparison to the world: 92

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 73.56 years

male: 71.87 years

female: 75.34 years (2021 est.)

note: does not include data from the former Western Sahara

country comparison to the world: 147

Total fertility rate

2.29 children born/woman (2021 est.)

note: does not include data from the former Western Sahara

country comparison to the world: 79

Contraceptive prevalence rate

70.8% (2018)

note: does not include data from the former Western Sahara

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 98.3% of population

rural: 79.1% of population

total: 91% of population

unimproved: urban: 1.7% of population

rural: 20.9% of population

total: 9% of population (2017 est.)

note: does not include data from the former Western Sahara

Current Health Expenditure

5.3% (2018)

note: does not include data from the former Western Sahara

Physicians density

0.73 physicians/1,000 population (2017)

note: does not include data from the former Western Sahara

Hospital bed density

1 beds/1,000 population (2017)

note: does not include data from the former Western Sahara

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 99.1% of population

rural: 81.1% of population

total: 92.2% of population

unimproved: urban: 0.9% of population

rural: 18.9% of population

total: 7.3% of population (2017 est.)

note: does not include data from the former Western Sahara

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

<.1% (2020 est.)

note: does not include data from the former Western Sahara

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

22,000 (2020 est.)

note: does not include data from the former Western Sahara

country comparison to the world: 83

HIV/AIDS - deaths

<500 (2020 est.)

note: does not include data from the former Western Sahara

Major infectious diseases

note: clusters of cases of a respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) are occurring in Morocco; as of 6 October 2021, Morocco has reported a total of 936,236 cases of COVID-19 or 2,536.5 cumulative cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 population with 38.94 cumulative deaths per 100,000 population; as of 2 October 2021, 60.91% of the population has received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

26.1% (2016)

note: does not include data from the former Western Sahara

country comparison to the world: 45

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

2.6% (2017/18)

note: does not include data from the former Western Sahara

country comparison to the world: 102

Education expenditures

NA

note: does not include data from the former Western Sahara

Literacy

definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 73.8%

male: 83.3%

female: 64.6% (2018)

note: does not include data from the former Western Sahara

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 14 years

male: 14 years

female: 14 years (2019)

note: does not include data from the former Western Sahara

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 22.2%

male: 22%

female: 22.8% (2016 est.)

note: does not include data from the former Western Sahara

country comparison to the world: 61

Environment

Environment - current issues

in the north, land degradation/desertification (soil erosion resulting from farming of marginal areas, overgrazing, destruction of vegetation); water and soil pollution due to dumping of industrial wastes into the ocean and inland water sources, and onto the land; in the south, desertification; overgrazing; sparse water and lack of arable land

note:  data does not include former Western Sahara

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping-London Convention, Marine Dumping-London Protocol, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 30.99 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 61.28 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 17.16 megatons (2020 est.)

note:  data does not include former Western Sahara

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 1.063 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

industrial: 212 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 9.156 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

note:  data does not include former Western Sahara

Total renewable water resources

29 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

note:  data does not include former Western Sahara

Climate

Mediterranean in the north, becoming more extreme in the interior; in the south, hot, dry desert; rain is rare; cold offshore air currents produce fog and heavy dew

note:  data does not include former Western Sahara

Land use

agricultural land: 67.5% (2018 est.)

arable land: 17.5% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 2.9% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 47.1% (2018 est.)

forest: 11.5% (2018 est.)

other: 21% (2018 est.)

note: does not include the area of the former Western Sahara, which is almost exclusively desert

Revenue from coal

coal revenues: 0% of GDP (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 140

Urbanization

urban population: 64.1% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 1.88% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

note:  data does not include former Western Sahara

Major infectious diseases

note: clusters of cases of a respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) are occurring in Morocco; as of 6 October 2021, Morocco has reported a total of 936,236 cases of COVID-19 or 2,536.5 cumulative cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 population with 38.94 cumulative deaths per 100,000 population; as of 2 October 2021, 60.91% of the population has received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine

Food insecurity

note:  data does not include former Western Sahara

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 6.852 million tons (2014 est.)

municipal solid waste recycled annually: 548,160 tons (2014 est.)

percent of municipal solid waste recycled: 8% (2014 est.)

note:  data does not include former Western Sahara

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

former: French Protectorate in Morocco, Spanish Protectorate in Morocco, Spanish Sahara, Western Sahara

etymology: the English name "Morocco" derives from, respectively, the Spanish and Portuguese names "Marruecos" and "Marrocos," which stem from "Marrakesh" the Latin name for the former capital of ancient Morocco; the Arabic name "Al Maghrib" translates as "The West"

Government type

parliamentary constitutional monarchy

Capital

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 March; ends last Sunday in October

etymology: name derives from the Arabic title "Ribat el-Fath," meaning "stronghold of victory," applied to the newly constructed citadel in 1170

Administrative divisions

12 regions; Beni Mellal-Khenifra, Casablanca-Settat, Dakhla-Oued Ed-Dahab, Draa-Tafilalet, Fes-Meknes, Guelmim-Oued Noun, Laayoune-Sakia El Hamra, Marrakech-Safi, Oriental, Rabat-Sale-Kenitra, Souss-Massa, Tanger-Tetouan-Al Hoceima

note: effective 10 December 2020, the US Government recognizes the sovereignty of Morocco over all of the territory of former Western Sahara

Independence

2 March 1956 (from France)

National holiday

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

Constitution

history: several previous; latest drafted 17 June 2011, approved by referendum 1 July 2011; note - sources disagree on whether the 2011 referendum was for a new constitution or for reforms to the previous constitution

amendments: proposed by the king, by the prime minister, or by members in either chamber of Parliament; passage requires at least two-thirds majority vote by both chambers and approval in a referendum; the king can opt to submit self-initiated proposals directly to a referendum

Legal system

mixed legal system of civil law based on French civil law and Islamic (sharia) law; judicial review of legislative acts by Constitutional Court

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Morocco; if the father is unknown or stateless, the mother must be a citizen

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: King MOHAMMED VI (since 30 July 1999)

head of government: Prime Minister Saad-Eddine al-OTHMANI (since 17 March 2017)

cabinet: Council of Ministers chosen by the prime minister in consultation with Parliament and appointed by the monarch 

elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; prime minister appointed by the monarch from the majority party following legislative elections

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament consists of:
House of Councilors or Majlis al-Mustacharine (120 seats; members indirectly elected by an electoral college of local councils, professional organizations, and labor unions; members serve 6-year terms)
House of Representatives or Majlis al-Nuwab (395 seats; 305 members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote and 90 directly elected in a single nationwide constituency by proportional representation vote; members serve 5-year terms); note - in the national constituency, 60 seats are reserved for women and 30 reserved for those under age 40

elections: House of Councillors - last held on 2 October 2015 (next to be held in fall 2021)
House of Representatives - last held on 8 September 2021 (next to be held in 2027 )

election results:
House of Councillors - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; composition as of September 2021) men 106, women 14, percent of women 11.7%
House of Representatives - percent of vote by party NA; seats by party - RNI 102, PAM 87, PI 81, USFP 34, MP 28, PPS 22, UC 18, PJD 13, MDS 5, other 5; composition - men 305, women 90, percent of women 22.8%; note - overall percent of women in Parliament 20.2%

Judicial branch

highest courts: Supreme Court or Court of Cassation (consists of 5-judge panels organized into civil, family matters, commercial, administrative, social, and criminal sections); Constitutional Court (consists of 12 members)

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the Superior Council of Judicial Power, a 20-member body presided by the monarch, which includes the Supreme Court president, the prosecutor general, representatives of the appeals and first instance courts  (among them 1 woman magistrate), the president of the National Council of the Rights of Man, and 5 "notable persons" appointed by the monarch; judges appointed for life; Constitutional Court members - 6 designated by the monarch and 6 elected by Parliament; court president appointed by the monarch from among the court members; members serve 9-year nonrenewable terms

subordinate courts: courts of appeal; High Court of Justice; administrative and commercial courts; regional and sadad courts (for religious, civil and administrative, and penal adjudication); first instance courts

Political parties and leaders

Action Party or PA [Mohammed EL IDRISSI]
Amal (hope) Party [Mohamed BANI]
An-Nahj Ad-Dimocrati or An-Nahj [Mustapha BRAHMA]
Authenticity and Modernity Party or PAM [Ilyas al-OMARI]
Constitutional Union Party or UC [Mohamed SAJID]
Democratic and Social Movement or MDS [Abdessamad ARCHANE]
Democratic Forces Front or FFD [Mustapha BENALI]
Democratic Oath Party or SD
Democratic Socialist Vanguard Party or PADS [Abderrahman BENAMROU]
Democratic Society Party [Zhour CHAKKAFI]
Environment and Development Party or PED [Karim HRITAN]
Green Left Party [Mohamed FARES]
Istiqlal (Independence) Party or PI [Nizar BARAKA]
Ittihadi National Congress or CNI [Abdesalam EL AZIZ]
Labor Party or PT
Moroccan Liberal Party or PML [Mohammed ZIANE]
Moroccan Union for Democracy or UMD [Jamal MANDRI]
National Rally of Independents or RNI [Aziz AKHANNOUCH]
Neo-Democrats Party [Mohamed DARIF]
Party of Development Reform or PRD [Abderrahmane EL KOHEN]
Party of Justice and Development or PJD [Saad Eddine al-OTHMANI]
Party of Liberty and Social Justice [Miloud MOUSSAOUI]
Popular Movement or MP [Mohand LAENSER]
Progress and Socialism Party or PPS [Nabil BENABDELLAH]
Renaissance and Virtue Party [Mohamed KHALIDI]
Renaissance Party [Said EL GHENNIOUI]
Renewal and Equity Party or PRE [Chakir ACHEHABAR]
Shoura (consultation) and Istiqlal Party [Ahmed BELGHAZI]
Social Center Party or PCS [Lahcen MADIH]
Socialist Party [Abdelmajid BOUZOUBAA]
Socialist Union of Popular Forces or USFP [Driss LACHGAR]
Unified Socialist Party or GSU [Nabila MOUNIB]
Unity and Democracy Party [Ahmed FITRI]

International organization participation

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), Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club (associate), PCA, SICA (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNOCI, UNSC (temporary), UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Lalla Joumala ALAOUI (since 24 April 2017)

chancery: 3508 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 462-7979

FAX: [1] (202) 462-7643

email address and website:
Washingtonembbmorocco@maec.gov.ma

https://www.embassyofmorocco.us/

consulate(s) general: New York

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires David GREENE (since 21 January 2021)

embassy: Km 5.7 Avenue Mohammed VI, Souissi, Rabat 10170

mailing address: 9400 Rabat Place, Washington DC  20521-9400

telephone: [212] 0537-637-200

FAX: [212] 0537-637-201

email address and website:
ACSCasablanca@state.gov (US Consulate General Casablanca)

https://ma.usembassy.gov/

consulate(s) general: Casablanca

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; the pentacle represents the five pillars of Islam and signifies the association between God and the nation; design dates to 1912

National symbol(s)

pentacle symbol, lion; national colors: red, green

National anthem

name: "Hymne Cherifien" (Hymn of the Sharif)

lyrics/music: Ali Squalli HOUSSAINI/Leo MORGAN

note: music adopted 1956, lyrics adopted 1970

Economy

Economic overview

Morocco has capitalized on its proximity to Europe and relatively low labor costs to work towards building a diverse, open, market-oriented economy. Key sectors of the economy include agriculture, tourism, aerospace, automotive, phosphates, textiles, apparel, and subcomponents. Morocco has increased investment in its port, transportation, and industrial infrastructure to position itself as a center and broker for business throughout Africa. Industrial development strategies and infrastructure improvements - most visibly illustrated by a new port and free trade zone near Tangier - are improving Morocco's competitiveness.

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 poor harvests and economic difficulties in Europe contributed to an economic slowdown. To boost exports, Morocco entered into a bilateral Free Trade Agreement with the US in 2006 and an Advanced Status agreement with the EU in 2008. In late 2014, Morocco eliminated subsidies for gasoline, diesel, and fuel oil, dramatically reducing outlays that weighed on the country’s budget and current account. Subsidies on butane gas and certain food products remain in place. Morocco also seeks to expand its renewable energy capacity with a goal of making renewable more than 50% of installed electricity generation capacity by 2030.

Despite Morocco's economic progress, the country suffers from high unemployment, poverty, and illiteracy, particularly in rural areas. Key economic challenges for Morocco include reforming the education system and the judiciary.

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$279.295 billion (2019 est.)

$272.531 billion (2018 est.)

$264.212 billion (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars

country comparison to the world: 57

Real GDP growth rate

2.5% (2019 est.)

2.96% (2018 est.)

3.98% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 109

Real GDP per capita

$7,515 (2019 est.)

$7,438 (2018 est.)

$7,314 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars

country comparison to the world: 156

GDP (official exchange rate)

$118.858 billion (2019 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

0.2% (2019 est.)

2% (2018 est.)

0.7% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 30

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: BB+ (2020)

Moody's rating: Ba1 (1999)

Standard & Poors rating: BBB- (2010)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 14% (2017 est.)

industry: 29.5% (2017 est.)

services: 56.5% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 58% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 18.9% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 28.4% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 4.2% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 37.1% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -46.6% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

wheat, sugar beet, milk, potatoes, olives, tangerines/mandarins, tomatoes, oranges, barley, onions

Industries

automotive parts, phosphate mining and processing, aerospace, food processing, leather goods, textiles, construction, energy, tourism

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 39.1%

industry: 20.3%

services: 40.5% (2014 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.7%

highest 10%: 33.2% (2007)

Budget

revenues: 22.81 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 26.75 billion (2017 est.)

Public debt

65.1% of GDP (2017 est.)

64.9% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 59

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

-$5.075 billion (2019 est.)

-$6.758 billion (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 184

Exports

$48.565 billion (2019 est.)

$46.608 billion (2018 est.)

$44.033 billion (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 62

Exports - partners

Spain 23%, France 19% (2019)

Exports - commodities

cars, insulated wiring, fertilizers, phosphoric acid, clothing and apparel (2019)

Imports

$64.12 billion (2019 est.)

$61.535 billion (2018 est.)

$57.257 billion (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 56

Imports - partners

Spain 19%, France 11%, China 9%, United States 7%, Germany 5%, Turkey 5%, Italy 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, cars and vehicle parts, natural gas, coal, low-voltage protection equipment (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$26.27 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$25.37 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 53

Debt - external

$52.957 billion (2019 est.)

$51.851 billion (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 65

Exchange rates

Moroccan dirhams (MAD) per US dollar -

9.0065 (2020 est.)

9.657 (2019 est.)

9.48825 (2018 est.)

9.7351 (2014 est.)

8.3798 (2013 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2020)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 2,054,545

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 5.83 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 54

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 46,666,722

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 132.51 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 33

Telecommunication systems

general assessment:

despite Morocco's economic progress, the country suffers from high unemployment and illiteracy affecting telecom market, particularly in rural areas; national network nearly 100% digital using fiber-optic links; improved rural service employs microwave radio relay; one of the most state-of-the-art markets in Africa; high mobile penetration rates in the region with low cost for broadband Internet access; improvement in LTE reach and capabilities; 5G tests underway; mobile Internet accounts for 93% of all Internet connections; World Bank provided funds for Morocco’s digital transformation; government supported digital education during pandemic; submarine cables and satellite provide connectivity to Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and Australia; importer of broadcasting equipment and video displays from China (2021)

(2020)

domestic: fixed-line teledensity is 6 per 100 persons and mobile-cellular subscribership exceeds 128 per 100 persons; good system composed of open-wire lines, cables, and microwave radio relay links; principal switching centers are Casablanca and Rabat (2019)

international: country code - 212; landing point for the Atlas Offshore, Estepona-Tetouan, Canalink and SEA-ME-WE-3 fiber-optic telecommunications undersea cables that provide connectivity to Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Australia; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) and 1 Arabsat; microwave radio relay to Gibraltar, Spain, and Western Sahara (2019)

note: the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced downturn, particularly in mobile device production; many network operators delayed upgrades to infrastructure; progress towards 5G implementation was postponed or slowed in some countries; consumer spending on telecom services and devices was affected by large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home became evident, and received some support from governments

Broadcast media

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 (2019)

Internet users

total: 22,596,729

percent of population: 64.8% (July 2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 33

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 1,751,341

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 4.97 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 59

Communications - note

the University of al-Quarawiyyin Library in Fez is recognized as the oldest existing, continually operating library in the world, dating back to A.D. 859; among its holdings are approximately 4,000 ancient Islamic manuscripts

Transportation

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 3 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 76

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 8,132,917 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 97.71 million mt-km (2018)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 36

over 3,047 m: 13

2,438 to 3,047 m: 12

1,524 to 2,437 m: 6

914 to 1,523 m: 4

under 914 m: 1 (2020)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 26

2,438 to 3,047 m: 2

1,524 to 2,437 m: 6

914 to 1,523 m: 12

under 914 m: 6 (2020)

Heliports

1 (2013)

Pipelines

944 km gas, 270 km oil, 175 km refined products (2013)

Railways

total: 2,067 km (2014)

standard gauge: 2,067 km 1.435-m gauge (1,022 km electrified) (2014)

country comparison to the world: 73

Merchant marine

total: 88

by type: container ship 7, general cargo 4, oil tanker 2, other 75 (2020)

country comparison to the world: 96

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Ad Dakhla, Agadir, Casablanca, Jorf Lasfar, Laayoune (El Aaiun), Mohammedia, Safi, Tangier

container port(s) (TEUs): Tangier (4,801,713) (2019)

LNG terminal(s) (import): Jorf Lasfar (planned)

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Royal Armed Forces: Royal Moroccan Army, Royal Moroccan Navy (includes Coast Guard, marines), Royal Moroccan Air Force, Morroccan Royal Guard (provides security for the royal family; officially part of the Royal Army); Royal Morroccan Gendarmerie (Ministry of Defense); Mobile Intervention Corps (a motorized paramilitary security force under the Ministry of Interior that supplements the military and the police as needed) (2020)

Military expenditures

4.5% of GDP (2020 est.)

3.1% of GDP (2019)

3.1% of GDP (2018)

3.2% of GDP (2017)

3.2% of GDP (2016)

country comparison to the world: 12

Military and security service personnel strengths

the Royal Armed Forces have approximately 200,000 active personnel (175,000 Army; 10,000 Navy; 15,000 Air Force); est. 25,000 Gendarmerie (2021)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the Moroccan military's inventory is comprised of mostly older French and US equipment; since 2010, France and the US are the leading suppliers of weapons to Morocco (2020)

Military deployments

750 Central African Republic (MINUSCA); 925 Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) (Jan 2021)

Military service age and obligation

19 years of age for compulsory military service (reintroduced in 2019); both sexes are obligated to military service; conscript service obligation - 12 months (2019)

Military - note

the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) was established by Security Council resolution 690 in April 1991 in accordance with settlement proposals accepted in August 1988 by Morocco and the Polisario Front (aka Frente Popular para la Liberación de Saguia el-Hamra y de Río de Oro or Frente Polisario); MINURSO was unable to carry out all the original settlement proposals, but as of 2021 continued to monitor the cease-fire and reduce the threat of mines and unexploded ordnance, and has provided logistic support to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)-led confidence building measures with personnel and air and ground assets; as of July 2021, MINURSO had about 200 military personnel assigned

Morocco has Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA) status with the US; MNNA is a designation under US law that provides foreign partners with certain benefits in the areas of defense trade and security cooperation; while MNNA status provides military and economic privileges, it does not entail any security commitments

Terrorism

Terrorist group(s)

Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS)

note: details about the history, aims, leadership, organization, areas of operation, tactics, targets, weapons, size, and sources of support of the group(s) appear(s) in Appendix-T

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

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

Illicit drugs

the world's largest producer and exporter of cannabis; total production for 2015-2016 growing season estimated to be 700 metric tons; shipments of hashish mostly directed to Western Europe; transit point for cocaine from South America destined for Western Europe; significant consumer of cannabis