Modern states /
The Moroccan Kingdom
Independent monarchy in the northwestern corner of Africa with 31.2 million inhabitants (2005 estimate) and an area of 446,550 kmē. The capital is Rabat, the second-largest city of the country; Casablanca is the largest. A census was carried out by September 2, counting 26.1 million inhabitants.
Administratively, Morocco is divided into 37 provinces plus 2 governorates; Casablanca; and Rabat-Sale.
Ruler today is King Muhammad 6, prime minister since 2007 is Abbas al-Fassi. The government has 31 ministers, and there are 2 chambers in the national assembly. The Representative with 325 members, and the Advisers with 270 members. All members of the Representative Chamber are elected from general elections. For the Advisers Chamber, 162 seats are elected by local councils, 81 by chambers of commerce and 27 by trade unions.
Day of independence is March 2, 1956, when power was transferred from France to Sultan Muhammad 5. Also celebrated is the Throne Day, on July 30, 1999.
Morocco has annexed most of Western Sahara, but no foreign country has recognised this. The Morccan territory here is administered as a part of Morocco, and the whole territory is close to 700,000 km² (parts of Western Sahara is not controlled by Morocco). Morocco also claims the territory of Spanish North Africa, but this is entirely part of Spain and the European Union. The third factor of political uncertainty is with some hash producing regions in the north which are self-administered and out of direct control of the central authorities.
Morocco's main natural resources are phosphates and citruses. Another important source of income for the country is tourism. Fishing is rich in the south, but is still little exploited.
Morocco has tendency in direction of democracy, but is still ruled by the powerful king. While there were indications of more democracy after the new king took power, there have recently been reports telling about actions against the medias of the country.
The economy of Morocco has seen many years of positive growth, and the country has built an excellent infrastructure where both classic elements like roads and modern ones like cell phones and internet are most present. But still the country is a poor one, where many people have problems fulfilling the basic needs.
Morocco does not perform well on the Human Development Index where it comes in as no. 130 of the 182 states in the world, and no. 18 among 22 MENA countries. Morocco scores 0.654 points of 1.000 maximum.
The currency of Morocco is the dirham (MAD), and is a semi-convertible currency with a stable history of exchange rates to foreign currencies.
Morocco's economy is weaker on the paper than in real life; Morocco is a country where traditional trade is still a substantial part of the economy. To a major extent, this type of economy is not reflected in statistics and estimates. Still, the official figures are correct in that the average Moroccan is poor when compared to world average. While a GDP per capita at $4,500, places Morocco at 57% below world average, an unemployment at as little as 9.5% and only 15% below poverty line, suggest that in the case of Morocco, the GDP per capita figure is far from telling the whole truth.
Morocco performs poorly on regional comparison, ranked 18 of 22 MENA countries. The only factor apparently positive, little overweight, is mainly due to poverty, which also is the cause of malnutrition.
Overall, Morocco has a poor education system. Still, the country's higher institutions are of high standards, many ranked high internationally.
Morocco is dominated by Arabs and Berbers, with Sahrawis in the very south.
Language follows people groups in Morocco; Arabic and Berber are the main languages. But in media, higher education and business Arabic is the only one of the two being used, French is at this level an import language.
Close to all Moroccans belong to Sunni Islam.
The population of Morocco is growing at rate only marginally higher than its more modern neighbours.
Morocco has a fascinating history, with periods of empires and a period where foreign colonization gave the country its present blend of modern and traditional.