Morocco (GPS: 32 00 N, 5 00 W) is located in Northern Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, between Algeria and Western Sahara. The country’s area measurements are total: 446,550 sq km; land: 446,300 sq km, water: 250 sq km. This sovereign state is slightly more than three times the size of New York, slightly larger than California. The total irrigated land is 14,850 sq km (2012).
One of the critical features of Morocco: Strategic location along the Strait of Gibraltar. The only African nation to have both Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines.
It’s significant, and at the same time, the principal city, Rabat’s GPS coordinates are 34 01 N 6 49 W. Rabat’s local time is 5 hours ahead of Washington DC during Standard Time. The capital’s time difference: UTC 0, note; Daylight saving time: +1 hr begins last Sunday in April; ends last Sunday in September.
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. A protracted independence struggle with France ended successfully in 1956. The internationalized city of Tangier and most Spanish possessions 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 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 environment in December 2018. King MOHAMMED VI in early 2011 responded to the spread of pro-democracy protests in the 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.
Morocco’s names conventional long form: Kingdom of Morocco, traditional short form: Morocco, local long way: Al Mamlakah al Maghribiyah, local short form: Al Maghrib. Note: the English name “Morocco” derives from, respectively, the Spanish and Portuguese words “Marruecos” and “Marrocos,” which stem from “Marrakesh” the Latin name for the former capital of ancient Morocco; the Arabic phrase “Al Maghrib” translates as “The West”. The English word “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 term “Al Maghrib” translates as “the West”.
Morocco’s terrain is typically mountainous northern coast (Rif Mountains) and interior (Atlas Mountains) bordered by large plateaus with intermontane valleys, and fertile coastal plains. The country’s mean elevation: 909 m, elevation extremes; lowest point: Sebkha Tah -55 m, highest point: Jebel Toubkal 4,165 m.
The general climate in the country; Mediterranean, becoming more extreme in the interior.
The total number of border countries is 3, Algeria 1,900 km, Western Sahara 444 km, Spain (Ceuta) 8 km, 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 are the neighboring nations with the indicated border lengths. Morocco’s coastline is 1,835 km, while its marital claims are: territorial sea: 12 nautical miles, contiguous zone: 24 nautical miles, exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles, continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation. Waterways: N/A. Land use: agricultural land: 67.5%; arable land 17.5%; permanent crops 2.9%; permanent pasture 47.1%; forest: 11.5%; other: 21% (2011 estimate).
The population in Morocco 34,314,130 (July 2018 estimate), urban population: 60.2% of total population (2015), major urban area’s population: Casablanca 3.515 million; RABAT (capital) 1.967 million; Fes 1.172 million; Marrakech 1.134 million; Tangier 982,000 (2015), while Morocco has 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. Their spoken languages are: Arabic (official language), Berber languages (Tamazight (official language), Tachelhit, Tarifit), French (often the language of business, government, and diplomacy). Main religions in Morocco are Muslim 99% (official; virtually all Sunni,. The nation uses mixed legal system of civil law based on French law and Islamic law; judicial review of legislative acts by Constitutional Court. It is a(n) parliamentary constitutional monarchy, National holiday(s) Throne Day (accession of King MOHAMMED VI to the throne), 30 July (1999).
Economic overview for the country: 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.
Natural resources of Morocco: phosphates, iron ore, manganese, lead, zinc, fish, salt.
Main export partners for Morocco, Africa are Spain 22.1%, France 19.7%, India 4.9%, US 4.3%, Italy 4.3% (2015) for clothing and textiles, automobiles, electric components, inorganic chemicals, transistors, crude minerals, fertilizers (including phosphates), petroleum products, citrus fruits, vegetables, fish, while the main import partners for the country are: Spain 13.9%, France 12.4%, China 8.5%, US 6.5%, Germany 5.8%, Italy 5.5%, Russia 4.4%, Turkey 4.3% (2015) for crude petroleum, textile fabric, telecommunications equipment, wheat, gas and electricity, transistors, plastics.
When you visit this country in Africa, consider the natural hazards in Morocco: northern mountains geologically unstable and subject to earthquakes, periodic droughts, while infectious diseases are N/A. Also, note that Morocco faces the following environmental issues: 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.
You may also be interested in the countries next to Morocco around its total: 2,362.5 km border, like Algeria, Western Sahara, Spain.