Morocco is located in North-West Africa, opposite Europe, 17 km from the Strait of Gibraltar. 710,850 km² in area, Morocco is bordered to the north-west by the Atlantic Ocean, to the north by the Strait of Gibraltar and Spain, to the east and south by Algeria and to the south-west by Mauritania. Spain controls two coastal areas of the enclaves (Ceuta and Melilla) to the north. Morocco claims these enclaves of Ceuta (18.5 km²) and Melilla (20 km²) located north of the Mediterranean coast.two mountain ranges cross the centre of the country from north to southwest: the Middle Atlas and the High Atlas, which includes Mount Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa, at 4,167 meters. To the south of the High Atlas Mountains is the Anti-Atlas Mountains. To the north, along the Mediterranean Sea, lies the Rif Massif. It is the only country in the Maghreb to have this gigantic mountain range.
The agricultural sector remains the main engine of growth in the Moroccan economy, contributing 19% to GDP – divided between agriculture and agro-industry, which account for 15% and 4% respectively. The agricultural sector is one of the country’s main employers, with a workforce of over 4 million people, of which more than 100,000 work in agribusiness. The Green Morocco Plan (GMP), which was launched in 2008 to 2020, is the national agricultural policy.
Morocco’s coastline runs along both the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, which means it has a wide range of beautiful beaches. Outside the summer season, many beaches are deserted. There is no shortage of waves on most of the country’s extensive dune coasts, with fantastic spots for surfers and water sports enthusiasts.
The first known settlers of Morocco are believed to have come from southwest Asia. Known as Berbers. In fact, the word “Berbers” is offensive to these former inhabitants of North Africa. The more accurate indigenous term is Imazighen (meaning “free men”; Amazigh is the singular).
Due to its strategic position, Morocco’s history is rich with foreign invasion and domination, starting with the Phoenicians in the 12th century BC and later the Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, Byzantines and Arabs. The Arabs invaded in the 7th century AD and introduced Islam to Morocco. The Imazighen fought the Arabs and established an independent kingdom in the eighth century. Two powerful Amazigh dynasties prospered until the 13th century, and even expanded into other regions for a time. Following further invasions, the Alaouite dynasty, descended from the Prophet Mohammed, took control in 1660. In 1787, Morocco signed a treaty of peace and friendship with the United States States States. This treaty made Morocco one of the first independent nations that recognized the sovereignty of the United States. European nations committed themselves to Morocco in the 19th century, and France made it a protectorate in 1912. The French ruled until Morocco’s independence in 1956, when a constitutional monarchy was established. King Hassan II (who held power from 1961 to 1999) was a descendant of kings of the Alaouite dynasty. In 1975, Morocco recovered Western Sahara and forced Spain to withdraw. Morocco began to develop the region but faced opposition from its neighbours, notably Algeria. Determined to preserve its Sahara, Morocco built schools, hospitals, roads and housing for Sahrawis. Negotiations between the government of King Hassan II and the Polisario (guerrillas created by Algeria) began in 1989 as part of a UN effort to resolve the problem. A ceasefire in 1991 ended 15 years of war and was to precede a UN conference and referendum in 1992. At that vote, the inhabitants of the Sahara would be able to accept or reject Morocco’s annexation. Unfortunately, the referendum has been postponed several times because the two parties cannot agree on who should be allowed to vote. In 1996, a referendum in Morocco supported constitutional reforms that created a directly elected parliament and gave some authority to local councils. In the 1997 elections, the House of Representatives became Morocco’s first free chamber and elected legislative body. King Hassan II died in 1999 and was succeeded by his son Mohamed VI.
Morocco’s population of approximately 36.03 million people (2018) is increasing by 1.3 per cent annually (2018). It is composed of three main ethnic groups, the Imazighen and the Arabs. Imazighen and Arabs live in perfect harmony. The Imazighen are geographically divided into three main groups: the inhabitants of the Rif region refer to themselves as the Rifins, those of the Middle Atlas Mountains refer to themselves as Imazighen, and the inhabitants of the High Atlas refer to themselves as Ashilhayn.
About 60% of Moroccans live in urban areas (2014). This figure is expected to reach 75% in 2022. The migration of the countryside is swelling the populations of the cities. Casablanca and the Rabat-Salé-Témara metropolitan area account for more than a third of Morocco’s urban population. Nearly 26% of the Moroccan population is under the age of 15.
The official languages of Morocco are Arabic and Amazigh. Although French is widely used in business, administration and education. Moroccan dialectal Arabic, called “Darija”, is the most widely spoken language. Ladarija is very different from classical Arabic. The Imazighen speak Amazigh dialects in addition to Arabic and Darija. The dialects include Tachelhit, spoken in southern Morocco over an area stretching from the High Atlas to the slopes of the Anti-Atlas. Tachelhit is spoken in the Rif region of northern Morocco, and Tamazight in central Morocco, around the Middle Atlas and High Atlas. Lhassaniya, also an Arabic dialect, is spoken in southern Morocco, including the Moroccan Sahara. The Spanish language can still be heard in the north, which was once under Spanish control. For English it is gaining in popularity year by year.
Islam is the official religion of Morocco. The king is both the political and spiritual leader of his people. He holds the title of Amir Al Mouminine (Commander of the Believers), and he ensures that Islam is respected. Moroccans are Muslims. Conversion to another religion is not recognized by the State. Practically religion in Moroccan society mixes aspects of various popular beliefs with traditional Islamic practices. Mosques are full on Fridays and during Ramadan. Among Moroccans there are Sufi Muslims. Some Christians and Jews live in peace in Morocco: Jews are mostly native to the country, while Christians have European roots. Muslims believe in one god (Allah). They accept most of the biblical prophets but consider Muhammad to be the last and greatest prophet. Muslims believe that the Prophet received the revelations of Allah through the angel Gabriel and were recorded in the Quran site. Religion is a matter of daily practice, with 5 prayers a day. The five pillars of Islam that Muslims strive to fulfill are as follows:
- The Shahada is professing Allah as God and Muhammed as his prophet;
- The prayer, which is done five times a day.
- The fasting in the month of Ramadan;
- Zakat is giving of one’s income to help the poor;
- and the pilgrimage to Mecca;
Friday is the day of Muslim worship, when a sermon is delivered in the mosque during noon prayer. Women are not forbidden to go to the mosque, but they usually worship at home.
Moroccan culture is deeply rooted in Islam. When people suffer misfortune, they tend to attribute the cause to Allah, and the phrase Inshallah(God willing) is frequently heard. This belief is much stronger in rural areas. Urban Moroccans, especially the more educated, do not adhere to it as much. Moroccans value family, honor, dignity, generosity, hospitality, and self-control (especially temperament). A calm attitude gains respect. Women are traditionally restricted to domestic roles, but in urban areas they receive more education and can work outside the home. Moroccan society has gradually become more materialistic than it used to be. People in rural areas tended to be closer to each other. Educated Moroccans become acquainted with other societies and cultures. Their view of other societies is usually based on their religion.
The national garment is the jellaba or djelleba, a long hooded dress with long sleeves. Although Western-style clothing is common throughout Morocco. Men wear jellaba mostly on religious holidays and other special occasions. For her wedding, a woman wears a long hooded dress without a hood called a keftan. Moroccans believe that it is important to be neat, and to dress appropriately in order to be treated with respect. Women can cover their heads with scarves, but most do not. When entering a mosque, Moroccans wear clothing that covers the whole body except the head and hands, and they remove shoes. Shorts or other casual clothing are not worn in a mosque, but they can be worn in public. Modern Western clothing is gaining popularity among young Moroccans, especially those living in urban areas. The influence of the Western media is visible in young people’s clothing and hairstyles.
CUSTOMS AND COURTESIES
Greetings to Morocco
It is also not uncommon to hug each other, Moroccans being a very warm Mediterranean people who are not afraid to express their affection through gestures.
Moroccans usually shake hands to greet each other. If you know someone you can kiss them, but only between people of the same sex. Even men in Morocco kiss each other when they know each other well, and that only means a sincere friendship no more than that. After that one could touch the heart to express the pleasure of seeing the other person or to show personal warmth. Out of respect, parents and elderly people are kissed on the head or hand.usually children conventionally kiss the right hand or forehead of their parents or elderly people to show them respect.
Assalam Oualaikoum (Peace Be Upon You) is usually used as “Hello”. People also use Sba7 al Kheir (Good Morning) and Msa al Kheir (Good Evening). More formally, one could say Ahlan Wasahlan (Glad to see you). Among friends we can exchange the word Labass, which means both “How are you? « . Greetings between friends also include questions about each other’s well-being and that of their families. Guests often repeat enthusiastic greetings of welcome. Less enthusiastic greetings could be considered rude. It is polite to greet an acquaintance at a street meeting, but people do not greet strangers. In rural areas, most people know each other, so men greet men and women greet women as they walk down the street. Moroccans always use titles in formal situations and to address acquaintances. The name of the interlocutor is pronounced with an “Ssi” at the beginning. Elders may be referred to by a title such as haj (an honourable title for those who have made a pilgrimage to Mecca) or the equivalent of “aunt” or “uncle”.
Moroccans only eat with their right hand. The gesture of taking a person’s hand and a gesture of respect, friendship and kindness. When an elderly person takes the hand of a younger person, protection is recognized. Conversely, if a young person takes the hand of an older person, it is a sign of consideration and piety.
Frequent visits to friends and relatives are necessary to maintain strong relationships. The most popular visit is on holidays, but can occur at any time. It is acceptable to visit family members without notice. Whenever possible, friends make arrangements in advance. Moroccans are warm and gracious hosts. Social visits may last several hours or even days. Guests invited to dinner are not expected to bring gifts. However, a gift of sweets for the children of the hosts is appreciated. In rural areas, they are expected to take a gift (basic food, or clothing). Guests are usually offered refreshments. It is impolite to refuse them, although guests sometimes give a symbolic refusal before accepting the proposed item. Milk and dates were traditionally served as a sign of hospitality, but now biscuits, bread, coffee, juice and especially tea are more common. Mint tea is often offered to guests, business associates or anyone who spends a few minutes at home. It is considered friendly, informal, affordable and easy to prepare. Guests please their hosts by complimenting them on their home. Men and women do not always date each other. Rural couples meet more often separately, while urban couples meet in mixed company. Men often associate in public cafes, especially on weekends, public holidays or Ramadan evenings. At the end of Ramadan, heads of households donate money or goods to the poor.
In most homes, the family eats breakfast, the main meal of the day, together. The Moroccans meet again around five or six o’clock in the evening for tea, coffee or a snack, followed a few hours later by a light dinner of leftover lunch or soup. Before and after eating, people wash their hands. In rural areas a water basin is provided. Moroccans collect food in a large communal dish, using only the right hand. The hosts encourage their guests to eat as much as they wish. If the hosts think the guests have not eaten enough, they encourage them to eat more. In traditional houses, it is rude for guests to finish eating before the hosts, as this may imply that the food does not taste good. Mealtime is an important time for conversation; guests who do not join in the discussion are a bit of a nuisance to the hosts. In restaurants, the service is usually included in the bill, which is usually paid by the host.
STYLE OF LIFE
Moroccan social life is centred on the extended family, and family relationships are more important than any other. The family is a source of honour as well as emotional support. It is considered its duty to provide financial support to other family members when necessary or requested. Respect for parents and elders is an indication of piety and good manners. The importance of this relationship is reflected in the family terms used for strangers on the street, where it is typical to refer to someone as a sister, grandmother, uncle or brother, instead of using the usual greetings of “Mrs.” or “Mr.”.
Historically, Moroccans have used specific methods to keep families together. They built large houses designed to accommodate many family members, and extra rooms would be built in advance to make room for the bride and groom and their children. Even though they lived separately from their parents, married children continued to maintain close contact with their parents. This practice has changed somewhat in Morocco in the cities, but the idea remains. Parents can help the newlyweds and children to buy an apartment upstairs or in the same neighbourhood so that they can be close but generally not interfere with their children’s domestic or private affairs. Children often stay with the family until they get married, even after they have graduated from high school or a full profession. The bond between mother and son is the most important relationship. Children, especially boys, are spoiled, but they are expected to contribute to the needs of the family by achieving a respectable position in society. Girls start working at home at an early age. When sons reach maturity, they are expected to take care of their parents and siblings. A married son sometimes brings his wife to live with his parents in order to take care of both families at the same time. If necessary, adult children are expected to care for their aging parents in their own homes. The father is the head of the family and provides financial support. The mother’s responsibilities include managing the home and caring for the husband and children. In urban areas of Morocco, some women share the responsibility of providing for the family’s financial needs by working outside the home. Since the 1980s, women have been encouraged to become involved in community and political projects. Women currently hold senior positions in government and business. The movement for greater freedom and legal rights has been challenged in recent years. Some are calling for equal rights on the basis of Western models, while other groups are advocating a more traditional Islamic model for women’s rights. Polygamy is legal but little practiced. A man can have up to four wives, but he must have permission to marry a woman he already has. Divorce, although frowned upon, is uncommon.
Wealthy Moroccans can afford spacious villas, but most Moroccans live in apartments. Regardless of size, houses usually have a formal living room for guests and a TV room, where family members spend most of their time. The living room is furnished with comfortable sofas and pillows. Urban dwellings have electricity and drinking water, but access to water is less common in rural areas. Families migrating from rural areas to the cities in search of work have contributed to the growth of slums in Morocco’s cities. But Morocco has done a good job of slum clearance in recent years. Poor urban families can’t take showers at home, so they go to the local public bathhouse called hamam.
Dating and weddings
Encounters and relationships between girls and boys, in the Western sense of the term, are not acceptable in Moroccan society, but socialisation between young single men and women is increasingly frequent. In contrast to the previous generation, whose relationship between men and women is limited, the new generation in Morocco is socialising through school, work, the neighbourhood and social networks. Face-to-face encounters, as practiced in many Western countries, are not really allowed. But young couples are often seen in cafés or gardens. The young women go to each other’s homes in the evenings at teatime or go shopping together. When a young man wants to marry a young woman, he involves his family in the marriage negotiations. Women make most of the wedding arrangements before the formal engagement party, where members of both families celebrate the event with sweets and flowers. In rural areas, young men and women often do not meet their mates until they are married. Urban couples meet each other in various situations before asking their parents’ permission to marry. Marriage in Morocco is the only culturally and religiously recognized love relationship (unmarried couples have no rights) and it is one of the most important events in life. When a couple is engaged, the man gives the woman’s father or older brother a sum of money for wedding expenses. This money sometimes prevents a man from getting married because he cannot afford it. Women usually bring a dowry into the marriage. A woman is supposed to be a virgin before marriage. Most women get married in their twenties. Marriages mean a new union between families and are celebrated as lavishly as possible. Wedding feasts usually last two days. The first day is reserved for women from the bride’s family and friends to gather, sing and dance. They decorate the bride’s hands and feet with henna (a red vegetable dye). On the second day, the groom’s family and the bride’s family celebrate the wedding together to show that they are one family. Islamic law allows men to marry up to four women, although it encourages only one. The law after the first wife accepts this marriage and the husband proves that he has the physical, material and financial means to support both wives. Because of these restrictions, very few polygamous marriages take place. Divorce is permitted in Islam but not socially encouraged. Under recent amendments to family law, men and women have equal access to divorce. Divorced women return to their parents’ home. But in Moroccan society it is easier for men to remarry than for women.
Birth is an important family event and involves many practical rituals in Morocco. When a woman discovers that she is pregnant, the family celebrates the event. Around the seventh month of pregnancy, an expectant mother often gathers with her friends and family, who decorate her hands and feet with henna. When a child is born, the first words spoken in her ear are those of the Muslim call to prayer. Seven days after birth (Sabaâ), a celebration is held to give the baby a name. A sheep is slaughtered because the name is pronounced, and friends and family bring gifts such as blankets and clothing for the newborn and money for the mother. Decorate the mother’s hands with henna, and sometimes the baby’s hands are decorated. Most baby boys are circumcised soon after birth, but some families wait until the boy is three or four years old, but before puberty. Circumcision is an important religious event, which requires another celebration. Some consider that circumcision is not a requirement for Muslims, as it is not mentioned in the Koran. Young boys wear special clothing for the circumcision feast, which is celebrated with music.
Reaching adulthood is not important in Morocco. Each family celebrates the passage of children to adulthood in its own way. The State recognizes a person as an adult at the age of 18. At this age one can apply for a national identity card.
In the event of death, and in accordance with Muslim tradition, a deceased person must be buried as soon as possible. No later than 24 hours after his death. The body is ritually washed with water, incense and perfumes, and wrapped in a white cotton shroud called kfen. The kfen symbolizes the return to purity. The women stay at home and cry while the men carry the body to the mosque. They say the dead man’s prayer. The body is taken to the cemetery. The body is taken to the cemetery. The burial is done with the dead man placed on his right side on the ground. Passages from the Koran are read while the body is buried. On the third day, it is customary to hold a memorial evening. Then again at 40 days, friends and relatives come to the site to offer condolences to the family. Widows wear white for 4 months.
Mutton, beef and chicken are the main meats in the Moroccan diet. The most popular dishes are minced beef or mutton seasoned and cooked over charcoal, kefta; tajine (a meat and vegetable stew); and harira, a tomato-based soup with chickpeas, lentils and beef or mutton. Couscous (steamed wheat semolina) is usually eaten on Fridays. Moroccans on the coast cook fish in different ways. Mint tea is the national drink. Islam prohibits the consumption of pork and alcohol. Although some men drink alcohol.
Moroccans like to spend time together, and activities are often spontaneous and simple. The basis of social life in Morocco is interaction with friends and family. Young men prefer to play or watch team sports, especially football. Some people play other sports or games, such as volleyball, tennis, basketball or running. Spending time in cafes is one of the main social activities among men, young and old, rich and poor. They discuss politics and sports, play cards, and watch football. Among the older men, men gather in or around a mosque after prayer time to talk. Walking the main streets in the evening is another important way to pass the time, especially for young people, women, and children. Women regularly visit family or friends during tea time or on weekends. Some urban families with private transportation like to go on picnics in the countryside or to the beach. Families gather in the living room of their house to socialize with each other. Because meals are considered an important social moment, all family members are expected to be present to share the evening meal. Families don’t go out to the movies or restaurants, but they do enjoy movies and food with others at home. Satellite TV and pirated movies are easily accessible for everyone. Footballs are inexpensive and shared by local children playing together in the street.
Forms of traditional music include chaabi, Berber, gnawa, and Arabo-Andalusian. Gnawa rhythmic music, originally from sub-Saharan Africa, features musicians who often perform acrobatic squatting and swirling dances while playing. Arab-African Raï is a popular art form, especially among young Moroccans. Its lyrics often talk about the social problems of young people and the romantic stories that young people can understand.all Raï singers are called cheb (young man), followed by their first name. Young people also like to listen to Egyptian songs and Lebanese Arabic pop music.
Morocco is famous for its pottery and ceramic tiles. Craftsmen (especially Imazhigen) create silver jewelry, drums, carpets, handcrafted leather, tables and wooden boxes. Art forms such as painting and sculpture have developed significantly since Morocco’s independence.
Traditional literature includes stories, essays and poetry, but other styles have been adopted. Poetry is often improvised and accompanied by a single-stringed instrument (ribabou amzhad) and a three-stringed lotarà resembling a banjo.
The most important holidays in Morocco are religious and are also celebrated as national holidays where people do not work. Every year, Muslims observe Ramadan, the holy month of fasting and prayer, during which no eating, drinking or smoking is permitted from dawn to sunset. The dates of Ramadan (and all Muslim holidays) change from year to year from the Gregorian calendar because they are based on a lunar calendar. Ramadan usually lasts one month, and Moroccans celebrate this time with special and convenient foods. They wake up before dawn to share a light breakfast, and some people begin with prayer and fasting at the mosque. Children, pregnant women, travelers, foreign visitors and the sick are exempt from fasting. Children follow a shortened school day, and working hours are modified to accommodate lunchtime and to allow people to rest in the afternoon. Fasting ends each day after sunset, when participants eat a date and drink a little milk, followed by the traditional soup called harira. Special breads and sweets are also served. Special prayers are offered every evening when the Koran is recited. The streets fill with people after these prayers, and people like to stay up late to visit each other. The 30-day fasting period ends with two feast days, known as Aid al Seghir, with two national holidays. Three months after Ramadan, the Feast of Sacrifice is celebrated to commemorate the sacrifice of Ishmael by his father, Isaac. The holiday begins with a morning of prayer (Salat AL Aid) in the open air in specially designated areas large enough to accommodate the entire community of men and children. Later, the main part of the festival is the ritual slaughter of the sheep by some of the men of the house or the butcher. The women then clean the meat and prepare special dishes that the whole family can enjoy in the days that follow.
Other religious festivals include Ashoura (a special day of fasting), Eid al-Mu’id (a celebration of the birth of the Prophet Muhammad)). In addition, many Moussems (religious) take place throughout the year.
Public holidays include the International New Year (1 January), Throne Day (30 July), Youth Day (21 August), Green March (6 Nov.) and Independence Day (18 Nov.).
Morocco is a constitutional, democratic, parliamentary and social monarchy. The king is the supreme political leader.Morocco has two chambers of parliament, the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors.Legislative power is shared between the government and these two chambers. Executive power is shared between the government and the king. The King presides over the Council of Ministers; he appoints the Prime Minister and can dismiss any minister. The king is the head of the armies and religious leader of the country (“The Commander of the Believers”); the legislature has an upper house of 120 seats (the House of Councillors) which can vote against the Prime Minister or annul the legislation of the 395-seat House of Representatives. Members of the House of Representatives are elected every 5 years by direct universal suffrage. Councillors are elected by indirect suffrage for terms of up to 6 years.
The territorial organization of Morocco is decentralized. It is based on advanced regionalisation. The first presidents of the 12 Regions were elected in September 2015. But the completion of advanced regionalisation is still in progress, even though the legal arsenal of advanced regionalisation is practically complete.
Morocco is composed of 12 regional councils with 700 members: Region of Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceïma, the East, Fez-Meknes, Rabat-Salé-Kénitra, Beni Mellal-Khénifra, Casablanca-Settat, Marrakech-Safi, Drâa-Tafilalet, Souss-Massa, Guelmim-Oued Noun, Laâyoune-Sakia El Hamra, Dakhla-Oued Ed Dahab.
Over the last 20 years, the Moroccan economy has been gradually transformed and has been growing rapidly, with an average growth rate of 6.5% over the last five years. The GDP has experienced an average annual growth rate of 4%, reaching $122 billion in 2019.The sectoral composition of GDP is dominated by the services sector, followed by the industrial sector and finally the agricultural sector.
In Morocco 37.9% of the active population lives from the agricultural sector. Morocco is one of the largest fish producers in the world, with 17 ports. Morocco is the world’s 3rd largest producer and 1st exporter of phosphates. It has 72.4% of the world’s phosphate reserves, with 50 billion tons. It is also an agricultural power, the country ranks 6th, 4th and 3rd in the world in exports of citrus fruits, tomatoes and table olives.
The services sector is relatively well developed in Morocco. It accounts for almost half of GDP (49.5%) and is the largest provider of employment with 40.5% of the active population. This sector grew by 2.7% in 2018, thanks in particular to the tourism sector, real estate, and the banking and finance sectors. Casablanca is considered the largest financial and industrial centre in Morocco and the Maghreb. Several multinational companies operating in the Maghreb and West Africa have their headquarters in Casablanca. Casablanca is the leading financial centre on the African continent and accounts for 48% of investments and 60% of Morocco’s GNP. Casablanca is also the second Arab financial centre behind the Riyadh Stock Exchange in Saudi Arabia, with a capitalisation of 90 billion dollars.
Morocco’s imports are almost double its exports. Imports are mainly energy products, capital and consumer goods.
Moroccans residing abroad (MREs) transfer funds to Morocco that represent almost 10% of GNP. Currency transfers from MREs constitute one of the main contributions to the Moroccan economy.2018, funds transferred by MREs were estimated at 64.8 billion dirhams (MAD).
In its 2019 “Country Risk Assessment” report, the French Insurance Company for Foreign Trade (Coface), gave a rating of A4/A4 on country risk and business environment, better than the 4 other main African countries, South Africa B/A4, Algeria C/C, Egypt B/B, and Nigeria C/D.
Transport and Communications
Morocco has a classified road network of 57,334 km, of which 43,318 km are paved, including 1,800 km of toll motorways by the end of 2017 and 1,093 km of expressways. The motorway network is expected to increase from 1,800 km to 3,000 km in 2030.90% of individual travel and 75% of goods transport is carried out by the road network. The sector accounts for 6% of GDP and employs 10% of the urban working population.Morocco has one of the densest networks in Africa in terms of land, rail and air routes.
The Moroccan railway sector is operated by the Office National des Chemins de Fer (ONCF) and covers 2,109 km of railway lines, including 639 km of two-way lines and 1,287 km of electrically powered lines, connecting the main ports and urban areas. The busiest axis of the network is located between Casablanca and Tangiers. The first LGV line concerns this Tangier-Casablanca axis with 200 km of exclusive right-of-way between Tangier and Kenitra.
Morocco has 17 airports, the region’s leading airport hub, which is served by a multitude of international companies, connected to the main economic capitals and world business hubs.
While the Moroccan telecommunications market remains under-saturated, its three mobile phone operators have experienced strong growth in recent years, both nationally and internationally. These are the three main operators Maroc Telecom, Meditel, and Inwi. The telecommunications sector generated revenues of MAD33 million in 2019.
Mobile telephony network: Nearly 45 million subscribers in 2018.
Fixed-line network: 2.2 million subscribers.
Internet Nearly 23 million subscribers.
The education system in Morocco includes pre-school, primary, secondary and university levels. It comprises a six-year primary cycle, a three-year college secondary cycle, a three-year qualifying secondary cycle and higher education.
Although more than 95 per cent of school-age children in Morocco are enrolled in primary school, the Moroccan education system faces significant challenges. Dropping out of school is a national scourge. Drop-out rates are still high, with only 53 per cent of students enrolled in middle school continuing their education through high school and less than 15 per cent of first-year students likely to graduate from high school.
In the first Territorial Atlas of School Dropout by the Higher Council for Education, Training and Scientific Research (CSEFRS), the figures are alarming”. In fact, 431,876 pupils dropped out of the public school education cycles in 2018 without any certification, 78% of which were in the primary and college cycles, cycles that are supposed to keep children in class at least until the age of 15″, the Atlas document states.
The results of the PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) study, conducted by the OECD, highlighted the fragility and instability of Moroccan education. The PISA test, which was taken by 600,000 students from 79 countries, revealed that Moroccan 15-year-old students scored only 359 points in reading, 368 points in mathematics and 377 points in science. Of the 79 countries surveyed, Morocco ranked 75th.
The higher education system comprises two sectors, public and private. Moroccan higher education includes 13 public universities, one public university with private management (Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane) and 207 private institutions. For the latter to be recognized, their courses must be accredited.
Each province has at least one hospital and some clinics, but these generally do not meet the needs of the population, and facilities are very limited in rural areas. In the Ministry of Health’s updated health map, the annual report provides a detailed overview of the hospital sector for 2019.491 pediatricians, 456 gynecologists, 437 anesthesiologists, 402 radiologists, 348 trauma surgeons, 344 surgeons, 331 ophthalmologists, 309 cardiologists, 257 nephrologists, 223 psychiatrists, 211 dermatologists, and 184 urologists.
In the public sector, there are 12,029 medical professionals, including 3,855 general practitioners, 7,556 specialist doctors, 459 dentists and 160 pharmacists. In the private sector, the medical profession is around 13,545, including 5,190 general practitioners and 8,355 specialist doctors.
With regard to infrastructure, the public sector has 149 hospitals with a capacity of 23,897 beds. There are 838 primary health care institutions in urban areas and 1,274 in rural areas. The private sector has 359 clinics with a capacity of 10,346 beds, 170 of which are located in the regions of Casablanca-Settat and Rabat-Salé-Kénitra.
Morocco in figures
Official name: Kingdom of Morocco
Head of State: King Mohammed VI
Population: 35,481,848 (2019)
Population growth: 1.25% / year
Surface area: 710,850 km².
GDP: USD 118.495 billion (2018)
GDP/capita: USD 3,238 (2018)
GDP growth: 3.00% / year (2018)
Life expectancy: 76.50 years (2018)
Literacy rate 72.4% (2015)
Official languages: Arabic, Amazigh (spoken French and administrative language)
Currency: Dirham (MAD)