OFFICIAL NAME: Kingdom of Morocco
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Constitutional Monarchy
AREA: 409,200 Sq Km (157,993 Sq Mi)
ESTIMATED 2000 POPULATION: 30,655,700
LOCATION & GEOGRAPHY: Morocco is located in the northwestern
corner of Africa. It is bound by Western Sahara to the southwest,
Algeria to the southeast and east, the Mediterranean sea
to the northeast and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The
country is divided into three topographical regions. (1.)
An open area in the northwest which is enclosed by a complex
and rugged area of mountains known as the Rif. (2.) The
mountains and plateaux in the eastern and southern areas
which include the Atlas Mountains as well as the Sarho Mountains
while the plateaux are characterized by the arid rolling
Dhara Plateau. (3.) The coastal plains of the west which
include the fertile Gharb, Chaouia, Doukkala, Meseta, Abda,
Djebilet and Rehmana Plains. The principal rivers are the
Moulouya, Oumer Rebia, Sobou, Bou Regreg, Tensift, Draa
and Sous. Major Cities (pop. est.); Casablanca 2,943,200,
Rabat 1,220,000, Fes 564,000 (1993). Land Use; forested
20%, pastures 47%, agricultural-cultivated 22%, other 11%
CLIMATE: Morocco has two climatic zones. (1.) a Mediterranean
climate in the north and central areas that is characterized by warm wet
winters and hot dry summers. (2.) A semiarid climate which is predominant
in the pre-Sahara region. The wet seasons are from April to May and October
to November with average annual precipitation varying from 254 mm (10 inches)
to 100 mm (4 inches) depending on the region. During summer the intensely
hot winds of the Sahara Desert known as the Sirocco or Chergui prevails.
Average temperature ranges in Rabat are from 8 to 17 degrees Celsius (46
to 63 degrees Fahrenheit) in January to 18 to 28 degrees Celsius (64 to
82 degrees Fahrenheit) in August.
PEOPLE: Moroccans are generally descendants of the indigenous
Berbers, although the people of both Hamitic Berber and Semitic Arab origins
together constitute 99% of the population with Jews being the only true
DEMOGRAPHIC/VITAL STATISTICS: Density; 56 persons per sq km (145
persons per sq mi) (1991). Urban-Rural; 49.5% urban, 50.5% rural (1992).
Sex Distribution; 50.1% male, 49.9% female (1990). Life Expectancy at Birth;
59.1 years male, 62.5 years female (1990). Age Breakdown; 41% under 15,
28% 15 to 29, 17% 30 to 44, 8% 45 to 59, 5% 60 to 74, 1% 75 and over (1990).
Birth Rate; 35.3 per 1,000 (1990). Death Rate; 9.7 per 1,000 (1990). Increase
Rate; 25.6 per 1,000 (1990). Infant Mortality Rate; 82.0 per 1,000 live
RELIGIONS: The official religion is Islam with 99% of the population
Sunni Muslims while a minority of Christians and Jews account for the remainder.
LANGUAGES: The official language is Arabic, although only 60%
of the population speak it as their mother tongue while Berber accounts
for the other 40%.
EDUCATION: Aged 25 or over and having attained: no formal schooling
47.8%, incomplete primary 47.8%, incomplete secondary 3.8%, higher 0.6%,
unspecified 2,3% (1982). Literacy; literate population aged 15 or over
MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1993: After World War II, Morocco's
Sultan Sidi Mohammed bin Yusuf led the independence movement and on March
2, 1956 Morocco gained complete independence from France while Spain also
relinquished its claims on Northern Morocco. Mohammed changed his title
from Sultan to King and established a constitutional monarchy. In 1960
King Mohammed took full control of the government and named himself Prime
Minister. After his death in 1961 his son, Prince Moulay Hassan became
King Hassan II. During the 1960's radical groups opposing the monarchy
became active and in 1965 a State of Emergency was declared which lasted
until 1970. In the early 1970's King Hassan began to press Morocco's long
time claim to Spanish Sahara (Western Sahara). In 1975 Spain withdrew from
Spanish Sahara and in Nov. 1975 Morocco invaded Spanish Sahara along with
Mauritania and occupied it jointly. In 1979 Mauritania withdrew from Western
Sahara and Morocco then claimed the entire area. During the 1980's fighting
between Moroccan troops and the Western Sahara Polisario, which are supported
by Libya and Algeria, has continued. In 1984 King Hassan agreed to a union
with the Polisario but it was canceled in Aug. 1986 after Libya's President
Col. Gaddafi who initiated the treaty criticized King Hassan's meeting
with the Israeli Prime Minister one month earlier. In Oct. 1989 the Polisario
launched a new offensive against Moroccan troops after it became frustrated
with a stalemate in negotiations. In Dec. 1990 a strike led to two days
of rioting in Fez, which resulted in some 30 people being killed. In Jan.
1991 the government accepted a UN-sponsored plan for a referendum to be
held in Western Sahara over the disputed territory. On Feb. 3, 1991 mass
demonstrations involving 300,000 people were held in Rabat over the government's
support for the US-led coalition Gulf War. In June 1991 King Hassan granted
a pardon to Polisario members and supporters before new UN negotiations
to end the conflict got underway. In July 1991 the government submitted
additional voter lists of 120,000 people for scrutiny that led to difficulties
and on Sept. 6, 1991 a cease-fire was declared. Also in 1991 Morocco established
a permanent secretariat in Rabat for the Union Maghreb Arabe (UMA) in which
it's a member while Algeria and Morocco agreed to build a gas pipeline
to Spain. In 1992 the UN Security Council insisted that the Moroccan government
and the Western Saharan Polisario Front remove any further obstacles to
the UN-sponsored referendum following the objections between the parties
over additional voting lists. The UN also suggested that if no agreement
could be reached by the year's end then it would consider withdrawing its
peacekeeping force, MINUSRO while Morocco warned that it would extend its
electoral process to the disputed territory. In June 1992 concerns and
doubts over the improved Moroccan-Algerian relations arose after the Algerian
Pres. Boudiaf was assassinated raising fears that the new regime would
renew support for the Polisario. In Sept. 1992 Morocco included Western
Sahara in its nationwide constitutional referendum and in Oct. 1992 held
local council elections there as well, although planned legislative elections
to be held there were postponed. In 1993 the dispute between the Polisario
and the Moroccan government continued over the government's additional
120,000 Sahrawis submitted to vote in referendum over an above the 74,000
from the 1974 Spanish census of the territory. Later the UN and MINURSO
announced plans for a new census to be held in preparation for the referendum.
In June 1993 parliamentary elections were held with the Socialist Union
of Populist Forces (USFP) expected to win and form a new government. In
Oct. 1993 the USFP announced it did not intend to form a coalition or minority
government while USFP leader Abd ar-Rahman al-Yousifi resigned in protest
to alleged electoral fraud. A new coalition government was eventually formed
from the ranks of the loyalist parties. Also in 1993 the government continued
with its privatization program which had raised in excess of US $214 million
and the government opened the US $500 million Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca.
CURRENCY: The official currency is the Dirham (DH) divided into
ECONOMY: Gross National Product; USD $27,645,000,000 (1993).
Public Debt; USD $20,310,000,000 (1993). Imports; DH 66,119,000,000 (1994).
Exports; DH 36,815,000,000 (1994). Tourism Receipts; USD $1,267,000,000
(1994). Balance of Trade; DH -23,353,000,000 (1994). Economically Active
Population; 8,694,000 or 32.8% of total population (1994). Unemployed;
MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its main trading partners are France,
the USA, Germany, the Netherlands, India, the former USSR, Spain, Italy,
Saudi Arabia, the UK and Poland.
MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Almonds, Cereals, Citrus Fruits, Dates, Fish,
Goats, Grapes, Iron, Lead, Manganese, Olives, Phosphates, Poultry, Pulses,
Sheep, Timber, Vegetables.
MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Agriculture, Cement, Fertilizers, Fishing, Food
Processing, Leather Goods, Mining, Textiles, Wine.
MAIN EXPORTS: Clothing, Fish, Fruit and Vegetables, Metal Ores,
Petroleum Products, Phosphates, Phosphoric Acid.
TRANSPORT: Railroads; route length 1,893 km (1,176 mi) (1989),
passenger-km 2,232,000,000 (1,387,000,000 passenger-mi) (1990), cargo ton-km
5,112,000,000 (3,501,000,000 short ton-mi) (1990). Roads; length 59,450
km (36,941 mi) (1989). Vehicles; cars 554,059 (1987), trucks and buses
255,149 (1987). Merchant Marine; vessels 450 (1990), deadweight tonnage
618,241 (1990). Air Transport; passenger-km 2,700,000,000 (1,678,000,000
passenger-mi) (1989), cargo ton-km 35,016,000 (23,982,000 short ton-mi)
COMMUNICATIONS: Daily Newspapers; total of 14 with a total circulation
for 1 of 335,000 (1992). Radio; receivers 5,100,000 (1994). Television;
receivers 1,210,000 (1994). Telephones; units 820,800 (1993).
MILITARY: 195,500 (1995) total active duty personnel with 89.5%
army, 3.6% navy and 6.9% air force while military expenditure accounts
for 4.3% (1994) of the Gross National Product (GNP).
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