Form of Government: Constitutional monarchy
Area: 442 311 sq km
Population: 35 032 440 inhab. (estimate 2019)
Density: 79.2 inhab./sq km
Coordinates: lat. 36° - 27° N; long. 13° - 1° W
Capital: Rabat (capital) 577 827 inhab. (2014); Rabat 2 120 192 inhab. (2014), urban agglomeration
Currency: Moroccan dirham (100 santimat)
Human development index: 0.686 (rank: 121)
Sovereign: Sidi Mohammed (Mohammed VI), since 24 July 1999
Prime Minister: Saadeddine Othmani (PJD), since 17 March 2017
House of Representatives: seats based on the elections of 7 October 2016: PJD (Justice and Development Party, Islamic), 125; PAM (Authenticity and Modernity Party, conservative), 102; Istiqlal (Independence Party, social democrat), 46; RNI (National Rally of Independents, right-wing), 37; MP (Popular Movement, liberal), 27; USFP (Socialist Union of Popular Forces), 20; UC (Constitutional Union), 19; PPS (Party of Progress and Socialism), 12; others, 7
Internet: www.hcp.ma (Haut-Commissariat au Plan)
Member of Arab League, AU, EBRD, OAS observer, OIC, UN, WTO
International license plate code MA
International dialling code 00212
Travel vaccinations requirement none
Electricity (Voltage) 127/220
Driving side rigth
Internet code .ma
DST duration (start-end) late March-late October
Annual average temperature (°C) Rabat 17.8; Marrakech 19.7
Average temperature in January/July (°C) Rabat 13/22.5; Marrakech 12.5/28
Daily sunshine hours in June/December (average) Rabat 10/5; Marrakech 11/7
Annual average precipitation (mm) Rabat 424; Marrakech 244
Days of rainfall (annual average) Rabat 53; Marrakech 52
Politics and current affairs
A series of clashes between the army and Saharawi militants opened on 13 November 2020 has interrupted the long ceasefire in Western Sahara.
Morocco is bordered by Algeria to the east and south-east, by Ceuta and Melilla to the north and Western Sahara to the south-west. The Mediterranean Sea lies off its north-east coast and the Atlantic Ocean lies off its north-west and west coast. The very varied terrain comprises a coastal strip and several mountains ranges: the Rif, the Middle Atlas, the High Atlas and the Anti-Atlas, which culminate in Mount Toubkal (4167 m). In the south-east of the country lie the spurs of the Sahara. The most important river is the River Oum er-Rbia. It has a mediterranean oceanic climate along the coast and a mountain desert climate inland. Morocco lays claim to the Spanish possessions along the Mediterranean coast: Ceuta, Melilla, Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera, the Chafarinas Islands and the island of Peñón de Alhucemas.
Having been a French protectorate from 1912 (except for some territories occupied by Spain), Morocco has been independent since 28 March 1956. In 1975, it occupied Western Sahara (formerly Spanish Sahara), where the national liberation movement of the Sahrawi people (the Polisario Front) developed, with whom fruitless negotiations have been conducted over the years. Poverty and income inequality are the basis of social tensions that often lead to protests. According to the amendments made to the Constitution approved by a referendum held on 1 July 2011, the king appoints a prime minister from the majority party, but actually keeps tight control over the government, sparking a conflict of competencies that slows down political activities. A vote of no confidence in the government can be expressed by both the House of Representatives (395 members elected directly for five years) and the Chamber of Councillors (120 members elected for six years by local bodies and professional organizations).
Defence and justice.
The legal system is based on French Law and Islamic Law (sharia). In 2004, Moroccan women gained new rights with regard to marriage and property with the Family Code.
|Casablanca=Dar-el-Beida||3 359 818||inhab.||2014|
|Fès||1 112 072||inhab.||2014|
|Casablanca||4 270 750||inhab.||2014|
|Rabat||2 120 192||inhab.||2014|
|Population by age and gender (% - 2020)|
In the last few months of 2020, the country emerged from the recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to emergency measures (low interest rates, liquidity injection), an ambitious economic reform plan got underway, which includes transforming state companies, expanding the social security system and investments in SME. The contingent situation led to an increase in the deficit and public debt, which was on the wave in previous years due to austerity. Youth unemployment, financial inequality and poverty continue to fuel social conflict.
|Agricultural prod. index (2004-06=100)||121.63||index||2016|
|Agricultural prod. index (2014-16=100)||110.56||index||2019|
|Active population||11 523 316||units||2020|
|Active population, Females||24.1||%||2020|
|Unemployment rate, Females||27.9||%||2019|
|Expenses||223 491||M LCU||2019|
|Revenues||276 286||M LCU||2019|
|Currency in circulation||319.282||BN LCU||2020|
|International reserves||35 997.64||M US$||2020|
Agriculture and forests.
More than half of the arable land is used for cultivating cereals, especially wheat and barley, which are mainly grown around Kénitra. The production of sugar beet, fruit and vegetables (which have a large market in the EU), flowers and olive oil is very important. Olives are grown especially around Fès, Meknès, Marrakech and Casablanca.
The forests of Morocco are important for their cork and prized timber: oak, thuja and cedar.
Livestock and fishing.
The most important livestock are sheep and goats. Fishing is profitable (sardines, mackerel, tuna fish, shellfish, seafood) and is favoured by the cold currents flowing from the Canary Islands. The main fishing ports are Safi, Mohammedia, Casablanca, Agadir and Al Hoceïma.
|barley||1 161.183||1000 t||2019|
|cereals, total||5 312.976||1000 t||2019|
|potatoes||1 956.711||1000 t||2019|
|roots and tubers, total||1 966.224||1000 t||2019|
|beans, dry||14.903||1000 t||2009|
|beans, green||210.597||1000 t||2019|
|olives||1 912.238||1000 t||2019|
|castor oil seed||0.168||1000 t||2019|
|sugar beet||3 692.884||1000 t||2019|
|sugar cane||518.956||1000 t||2019|
|seed cotton||0.348||1000 t||2019|
|citrus fruits||2 621.519||1000 t||2019|
|citrus fruits, nes||17.228||1000 t||2019|
|barley||1 050.153||1000 ha||2019|
|sweet potatoes||0.457||1000 ha||2019|
|beans, dry||16.726||1000 ha||2009|
|beans, green||9.122||1000 ha||2019|
|olive||1 073.493||1000 ha||2019|
|castor oil seed||0.276||1000 ha||2019|
|sugar beet||57.171||1000 ha||2019|
|sugar cane||11.306||1000 ha||2019|
|seed cotton||0.161||1000 ha||2019|
|citrus fruits||128.708||1000 ha||2019|
|citrus fruits, nes||1.948||1000 ha||2019|
|timber||6 900 842||m³||2019|
|cattle||3 328||1000 heads||2019|
|cattle and buffaloes||3 328||1000 heads||2019|
|sheep||21 591||1000 heads||2019|
|goats||5 993||1000 heads||2019|
|asses and mules||1 312||1000 heads||2019|
|birds||222 973||1000 heads||2019|
|crustaceans and molluscs||99 257.011||t||2019|
At present, reserves of fuel are scarce: the coal from Jerada and the crude oil at Sidi Kacem and Sidi Rhalem manage to cover only a tiny part of the national requirement. Modest quantities of natural gas are extracted from the Essaouira basin. Morocco is one of the world’s top producers of phosphates and this role was strengthened with the occupation of Western Sahara. The most important mines are at Khouribga, Youssoufia, Benguerir, Sidi Chennane and Meskala. Other minerals include iron ores (at Nador and Guemassa), copper (at Bleida, Guemassa and Tiznit), manganese (at Imini), cobalt (at Bou Azzer, in the Anti-Atlas), gold (near Tiznit), lead (at Mfis and Tizi n’Ressas), zinc (at Guemassa), tin and silver (at Imiter and Igoudrane), antimony (near Ceuta and at Oued Zem) and molybdenum (at Azegour).
Energy and industry.
The major thermal power plants are coal-fired and are located near El-Jadida, Safi and Nador; wind and photovoltaic production are under development.
The main metal-working centres are at Oued-el-Heimer (lead), Casablanca and Nador (refined lead, cast iron and steel). In Sidi Kacem and at Mohammedia there are oil refineries, whereas chemical plants are located at Safi, Aïn Sebaa, Tétouan, Kénitra, Berrechid and Jorf Lasfar. Cement works are located near the major cities. In the engineering segment, the automotive industry (models of Renault, Peugeot and Citroën are made here) is based in Casablanca, Tangier and Kénitra; the aeronautic industry is also significant (in Casablanca, Nouacer and Tangier). The textile industry (at Mohammedia and Safi) produces cotton yarns and fabrics. The clothing and leather-working sectors are also important.
The food-processing sector is highly developed and attracts large amounts of foreign investment. There are oil mills, sugar refineries (at Casablanca, Ben Slimane and Mechrá Belqsiri) and food-preserving facilities (at Safi, Essaouira and Agadir). There are also tobacco-processing plants (at Aïn Harrouda) and paper mills (at Casablanca and Kénitra). Moroccan carpets are highly prized (workshops at Rabat and Ouazzane) and Moroccan craft products are famous. A tax-free zone has been established in the Tangier-Med port.
|natural gas||105.6||M m³||2019|
|oil, crude||2.5||1000 t||2020|
|- thermal||30 469.16||M kWh||2019|
|- other renew.||4 804.26||M kWh||2018|
|- thermal||6 337||1000 kW||2018|
|- other renew.||1 961.35||1000 kW||2019|
|total net generation||32 462.44||M kWh||2018|
|total installed capacity||10 068.35||1000 kW||2018|
|commercial vehicles||27 131||no.||2020|
|petrol||1 367.5||1000 t||2014|
|fertilizers||6 960||1000 t||2016|
|nitrogen fertilizers||1 135.1||1000 t||2019|
|beer of barley||90$||1000 t||2018|
|cottonseed oil||0.979||1000 t||2018|
|other paper||156||1000 t||2019|
|cement||15 000||1000 t||2018|
|chemicals production||3 645.646||M US$||2018|
|food, beverages and tobacco production||4 911.981||M US$||2018|
The structural deficit in the balance of trade is partially compensated by tourism, which is on the rise, and remittances from Moroccans working abroad.
(M US$ - 2017) electrical and electronic equipment 4 228, cars 3 198, apparel and accessories 3 178, fertilizers 2 584, fruit and vegetables 2 040, fresh and preserved fish 2 008, chemicals 1 161
Finance and banking.
On the whole, the banking system is organized according to the French model. The Bank Al-Maghrib acts as the central bank. Several commercial banks also operate in the country.
|manufactures||70.843||% of goods exports||2019|
|food products||21.161||% of goods exports||2019|
|Spain||6 612||M US$||2020|
|France||6 056||M US$||2020|
|Spain||6 783||M US$||2020|
|China||5 429||M US$||2020|
Tourism. The largest tourist complexes are in Casablanca, Marrakech, Agadir, Tangier and Restinga (near Tétouan). Most of Morocco’s visitors come from the EU.
|Expenditures||3 172||M US$||2019|
|Number of arrivals||12 932 000||units||2019|
The motorway network is in great development. Part of the rail network is used for conveying phosphates from the mines to the ports of Casablanca and Safi. A high-speed train line between Casablanca and Tangier has been operating since 2018.
|Civil aviation, km flown||70 500 000||km flown||2004|
|Civil aviation, passengers carried||9 381||1000 units||2019|
|Broadband subscribers||48.019||per 1000 pop.||2019|
|Computers||57$||per 1000 pop.||2008|
Social and welfare
Education is compulsory between the ages of 7 and 13. The pupils are taught in Arabic for the first two years, after which French, English and the Berber language are also used as a teaching medium. Secondary education lasts for six years, and is divided into two phases.
|Expected years of schooling||13.958||years||2019|
|Students, primary level||4 432 229||units||2019|
|Students, secondary level||2 920 791||units||2019|
|Social protection spending||9.3||% of total expenses||2006|
|Hospital beds||0.7||per 1000 pop.||2019|
|Physicians||0.7||per 1000 pop.||2019|
|HIV||-0.1||% of adults||2019|
|Research and development spending||0.71||% of GDP||2010|
|Access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking||98.1||%||2019|
|Access to electricity||99.6||%||2019|
|education, culture, recreation||5.6||%||2014|