Morocco Country Facts

By | June 22, 2024
al-Maġrib المغرب‎
Capital city Rabat
Surface 446,550 km²
Population 35,740,000
Road network length 57,625 km
Length of highway network 1,799 km
First highway 1978
Motorway name طريق سريع
Traffic drives Right
License plate code MA

Morocco (Arabic: المغرب, al-maġhrib), formally the Kingdom of Morocco, is a country in northern Africa. The country has more than 35 million inhabitants and the capital is Rabat. The largest city is Casablanca. Morocco also claims Western Sahara.

Geography

Morocco occupies northwestern Africa, with a long coastline on the Atlantic Ocean, as well as along the Mediterranean Sea. The country borders Algeria and Mauritania, the two Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla lie to the north. The Canary Islands are located off the coast of southern Morocco. Morocco also claims Western Sahara. The country measures more than 1,800 kilometers from north to south (including Western Sahara) and a maximum of about 770 kilometers from west to east. The capital Rabat is located on the coast in the north, the largest city Casablanca is in the same area.

Morocco’s landscape is diverse, with the Rif Mountains to the north and the Atlas to the east. Large valleys and coastal plains lie in between. The east and south is part of the Sahara. The northwest is still quite cultivated, with fairly extensive and somewhat flatter areas with agriculture. Western Sahara is hardly developed and consists largely of desert. The highest point of Morocco is the 4167 meter high Toubkal, this is also the highest point of North Africa and the Arab world.

The north of Morocco has a Mediterranean climate with precipitation sloping from the northwest to the southeast. Snow regularly falls in the winter in the Atlas. Closer to the Algerian border there is a dry desert climate with long hot summers. The south of Morocco also has a desert climate. Western Sahara is very dry and is considered one of the most uninhabitable regions in the world. The average maximum temperature in Casablanca ranges from 17°C in winter to 26°C in summer, with periodic hotter weather with temperatures reaching above 30°C. However, the interior is a lot hotter, in Ouarzazate winter temperatures are around 17°C and summer temperatures around 38°C.

Demographics

Morocco grew from 9 million inhabitants in 1950 to 29 million inhabitants in 2000 and more than 35 million today. Population density is highest north and west of the Atlas. Western Sahara is barely populated. Morocco is relatively urbanized, there are many larger cities. By far the largest city is Casablanca, which has 3.4 million inhabitants and an agglomeration of almost 7 million inhabitants. The second city is Fez (Fès) with more than 1.4 million inhabitants. Tangier, Marrakesh and Salé all have around 900,000 inhabitants. In total, Morocco has more than 30 cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants.

The Moroccan population is largely of Arab identity, with a lot of Berber background. Morocco also has a large diaspora in Western Europe. The official languages ​​of Morocco are Arabic and Berber. French is also quite widely spoken and used by the government, large companies and the media.

Economy

Morocco is one of the more developed countries in Africa, the GDP per inhabitant is one of the highest in the continent. The service sector accounts for half of GDP, mining and manufacturing make up a quarter. In Morocco, too, a relatively large number of people work in agriculture, although it only accounts for a modest share of the economy. The country has diverse exports, including textiles, commodities, fish, agricultural products, and a diverse array of industrial products. Tourism plays a fairly large role in the economy. Some of these are Moroccans in Europe who spend the summer in Morocco, but international tourists flock to cities such as Marrakesh, Ouarzazate, Agadir and the diverse interior.

History

Morocco has been governed by various dynasties since the early Middle Ages. Morocco was the only country in North Africa that was not under Ottoman rule. In 1912 Morocco was divided into a French and Spanish protectorate, with an international zone in Tangier. Most of present-day Morocco was under French rule, with only the far north and far south under Spanish rule. The French developed agriculture and mining and built the first modern infrastructure. In 1956 the French protectorate ended and Morocco became independent as a kingdom. The Spanish protectorate was abolished shortly afterwards, with the exception of two enclaves, Ceuta and Melilla, which are seen by Spain not as colonies but as integral parts of Spain.

The Western Sahara was separately under Spanish administration, and was also known as the Spanish Sahara (Sahara Español). This was not part of traditional Morocco. The area was hardly developed and consists largely of uninhabited desert. After independence in 1956, Morocco claimed Western Sahara, but the region was under Spanish rule until 1975. Morocco occupied Western Sahara in 1975, after which a guerrilla war broke out with the Polisario Front, which ended in a peace agreement in 1991. Morocco has controlled much of Western Sahara ever since, except for remote areas along the Algerian and Mauritanian borders. Morocco has been a relatively stable country with economic growth since independence. However, Morocco has poor relations with neighboring Algeria.

 

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