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Key Figures | Reference Map | General Information | Demography | Geography | Political Background | Economy | Disaster and response preparedness measures | Humanitarian response operations | History of Disasters | Sources

Key Figures  
Total population : 35.7 Million (2017)
Area : 710,850 km²
Major languages : Arabic and Berber (Official), French, Spanish
Number of provinces : 11 provinces (regions)
GDP : $101 billion USD
GDP per capita : 8,600 USD (2017 est.)
Average life expectancy : 74 years (men), 77 years (women)
Human Development Index : Index - 0.667, Rank - 123
Literacy rate : 68.5 % (78.6% men, 58.8% women)
Currency : Dirham


Morocco Interactive Humanitarian Map


General information
Morocco, officially the Kingdom of Morocco, is a country located in the Maghreb region of North West Africa with an area of 710,850 km2 (274,460 sq mi). Its capital is Rabat, the largest city Casablanca. It overlooks the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Morocco claims the areas of Ceuta, Melilla and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera, all of them under Spanish jurisdiction. Since the foundation of the first Moroccan state by Idris I in 788 AD, the country has been ruled by a series of independent dynasties, reaching its zenith under the Almoravid and Almohad dynasties, spanning parts of Iberia and northwestern Africa. The Marinid and Saadi dynasties continued the struggle against foreign domination, allowing Morocco to remain the only northwest African country to avoid Ottoman occupation. The Alaouite dynasty, which rules to this day, seized power in 1631. In 1912, Morocco was divided into French and Spanish protectorates, with an international zone in Tangier. It regained its independence in 1956, and has since remained comparatively stable and prosperous by regional standards.

The majority of Morocco’s population live along the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts, where the most high-densely populated areas are found. Approximately 62.5 per cent of the total population live in urban areas. Morocco’s population is growing but at a declining rate, as people live longer and women have fewer children. This is due to better health care, nutrition, hygiene, and vaccination coverage, as well as increased female educational attainment and family planning (total fertility rate declined from 5 in mid-1980s to 2.2 in 2010). Young adults (persons aged 15-29) make up almost 26 per cent of the total population and represent a potential economic asset. However, about 10 per cent is estimated to be unemployed (2017), mainly women and youth, as the job creation rate has not kept pace with the growth of its working-age population and growth has not always been inclusive. Since the mid-1990s, Morocco became a transit country for asylum seekers from sub-Saharan Africa and illegal labour migrants from sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia trying to reach Europe via Spain. More recently Libya has become the main transit route to Europe for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. In 2014, Morocco launched a regularization programme to legalize the status of some migrants and grant them equal access to education, health care, and work.

Morocco is located in Northern Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, Spain, Algeria and Western Sahara.

Political background
Morocco was a French protectorate from 1912 to 1956, when Sultan Mohammed became king. He was succeeded in 1961 by his son, Hassan II, who ruled for 38 years. In 1999, Mohammed VI became monarch. He initiated political and economic changes and an investigation into human rights abuses during his father's rule. A key reform was the Mudawana, a law which granted more rights to women, and was opposed by religious conservatives. Following pressure for reform inspired by the "Arab Spring" of 2010, a new constitution was introduced, expanding the powers of parliament and the prime minister but leaving the king with broad authority over all branches of government. 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 ever 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.

In recent years, the government continued the reforms on social protection programs, job creation and reduction of economic disparities across 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. 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 per cent 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.

Disaster and response preparedness measures
In the wake of the Al Hoceima earthquake of 2004, the Moroccan Government began to explore different options for managing natural disaster risks. To this end, Morocco undertook several measures to establish new instruments or institutions or strengthening existing ones to enhance prevention and protection against natural disasters. This included the creation of the Watch Center and Coordination in 2008, strengthening human capacities and resources within the Directorate General of Civil Protection, the National Geophysical Institute, and the Directorate of National Meteorology. Recognizing the intensifying disaster and climate risk in the country, the Moroccan government has made disaster risk management (DRM) a top priority. With the support of the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), the World Bank, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the Swiss government, the Moroccan government has been implementing an integrated DRM reform program with three key elements: i) Promoting institutional reform and capacity-building activities, to establish a more systematic DRM process in Morocco; ii) Expanding the number and range of risk-management projects financed through Morocco’s emerging “Resilience Fund,” or “Fonds de lutte contre des effets des catastrophes naturelles”, housed within the Ministry of Interior, to focus on risk prevention and reduction, and on providing incentives for non-structural interventions; iii) Developing disaster risk financing solutions before disasters strike, e.g. a national insurance program to mitigate the effect of natural disasters on homeowners, businesses, and the poor.

Humanitarian response operations
No ongoing humanitarian operations.

History of disasters
In 2004, an earthquake of 6.3 magnitude rocked north-east Morocco, near the city of Al Hoceima, killing more than 560 people and some 250 injured. The worst-hit areas were remote mountain villages, where mud-brick buildings were not designed to withstand earthquakes, and were reported to have been completely destroyed. Al Hoceima was near the epicentre of Morocco's previous big earthquake, in 1990, which measured 6.0 on the Richter scale. Morocco's most deadly disaster is the Agadir earthquake in 1960, which killed between 12,000 and 15,000 people (about a third of the city's population of the time), and left another 12,000 injured and about 35,000 homeless. The devastating impact of the earthquake was partially due to inadequate and inappropriately constructions. While its magnitude was moderate (5.7 on the Richter scale), its perceived intensity was extreme on the Mercalli intensity scale.

BBC News, United Nations, the World Bank, CIA Factbook