macrohistory & world report

Kingdom of Morocco

Map of Morocco

Morocco (capital Rabat) and neighboring states

World Factbook as of Novembwer 2014: "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. In the fall of 2013, Morocco capped some of its fuel subsidies in an effort to gradually reduce the country's large budgetary deficit. Key economic challenges for Morocco include fighting corruption and reforming the education system, the judiciary, and the government's costly subsidy program."

Economic growth rate
2011: 4.6%
2010: 3.7%
2009: 4.9%

Labor force in agriculture"
2006: 44.6%

Unemployment rate
2011: 9.2%
2010: 9.1%

Public debt
2011: 65% of GDP
2010: 58.2% of GDP
2009: 56.9% of GDP

Export commodities
clothing and textiles, electric components, inorganic chemicals, transistors, crude minerals, fertilizers (including phosphates), petroleum products, citrus fruits, vegetables, fish

Exports - partners:
2010: Spain 19.7%, France 17.8%, India 5.8%, US 4.2%, Brazil 4.1%

import/export ratio
2010: exports $20.52 billion, imports $39.42

Income Distribution – GINI index
Ranks 57th among 140 countries (lower rank number is less equal). Less equal than Britain, which ranks 94th, and more equal the US, which ranks 45th.

Health expenditures
5.5% of GDP

Military expenditures as a percentage of GDP
2003: 5%


Living in an urban area
2010: 58% (2.1% annual rate of change)
2008: 56% (2008)

Literacy (age 15 and older)
2004 census: males 65.7%, females 39.6%

Net migration rate
2012: A net loss of 3.67 per 1,000 population.

Ethnicity and Religion
More than 99% Arab-Berber, almost 98% Muslim, Christians 1.1%, the Jewish community has shrunk to almost nothing.

Arabic is the official language. Some French is spoken in government, business and diplomacy.


North Africa, bordering the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Slightly larger than California. 1,835 kilometers (1,146 miles) of coastline.


Constitutional monarchy with much power left to the monarchy. Bicameral Parliament: upper house 270 seats; lower house 325 seats, 295 of them elected by local constituencies and 30 from national lists of women.

Capital: Rabat.

Recent History

Acquired independence from France on March 2, 1956.

In the 1990s a bicameral legislature was established, which first met in 1997.

July 30, 1999: Mohammed VI succeeds his father, Hassan II as king. He is described as having supported political pluralism, as supporting more freedom for women, and as winning some opposition from Islamist conservatives and fundamentalists. 

A series of suicide bombing in Casablanca on may 16 in 2003, carried out by fourteen members of a North African terrorist group, Salafia Jihadia. They were from a shanty town on the outskirts of Casablanca. Two of the many targets was a Jewish-owned Italian restaurant and a Jewish cemetery. Twelve bombers died and thirty-three others. More than 100 were injured. Possible motive: the US invasion of Iraq. King Mohammed was outraged by the bombings and supports international opposition to terrorism

June 30, 2009: Writing for the Washington Post and from Morocco, Anne Applebaum describes Morocco as having moved in the past decade from "traditional monarchy to constitutional monarchy, acquiring along the way real political parties, a relatively free press, new political leaders – the mayor of Marrakesh is a 33-year-old woman – and a set of family laws that strive to be compatible both with sharia and international conventions on human rights."In hi

In his speech on June 17, 2011, King Mohammed outlined what will change under a revised constitution. Among the changes: an independent judiciary and the prime minister will have increased powers. He says he will keep total control of Morocco's security and foreign policy and matters of religion.

November 24, 2011: the BBC describes King Mohamed having "tremendous political and religious capital...Moroccan citizens, many of them poor and illiterate and living in rural areas, 'believe that the monarch has a special gift or blessing and they feel that they have some psychological relationship with the king', Mr Daadaoui told the BBC."

Elections in November 2011 gives most seats in parliament – 80 – to the Justice and Development Party.

Copyright © 2009-2013 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.