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Coordinates : 32°N 6°W / 32°N 6°W / 32; -6

Kingdom of Morocco

* المملكة المغربية ( Arabic
Arabic
) * ⵜⴰⴳⵍⴷⵉⵜ ⵏ ⵍⵎⵖⵔⵉⴱ (Berber )

Flag Coat of arms

MOTTO: لله، الوطن، الملك (Arabic) _Allah, Al Watan, Al Malik_ ⴰⴽⵓⵛ, ⴰⵎⵓⵔ, ⴰⴳⵍⵍⵉⴷ_ (Berber )_ "God, Homeland, King"

ANTHEM: النشيد الوطني المغربي (Arabic) ⵉⵣⵍⵉ ⴰⵏⴰⵎⵓⵔ ⵏ ⵍⵎⵖⵔⵉⴱ (Berber) _ Cherifian Anthem _

Dark green: Internationally recognized territory of Morocco. Lighter green: Western Sahara , a territory claimed and mostly controlled by Morocco
Morocco
as its Southern Provinces

CAPITAL Rabat 34°02′N 6°51′W / 34.033°N 6.850°W / 34.033; -6.850

LARGEST CITY Casablanca
Casablanca
33°32′N 7°35′W / 33.533°N 7.583°W / 33.533; -7.583

OFFICIAL LANGUAGES

* Arabic
Arabic
* Berber

NATIVE LANGUAGES

* Moroccan Arabic
Arabic
* Berber * Hassaniya Arabic

OTHER LANGUAGES French

ETHNIC GROUPS (2014 )

* Arab-Berber 99% * other 1%

RELIGION Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam
(official)

DEMONYM Moroccan

GOVERNMENT Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy

• KING Mohammed VI
Mohammed VI

• PRIME MINISTER Saadeddine Othmani

LEGISLATURE Parliament

• UPPER HOUSE House of Councillors

• LOWER HOUSE House of Representatives

MOROCCAN STATEHOOD

• IDRISID DYNASTY (FIRST) 789

• ALAOUITE DYNASTY (CURRENT) 1666

• PROTECTORATE ESTABLISHED 30 March 1912

• INDEPENDENCE 7 April 1956

AREA

• TOTAL 710,850 km2 (274,460 sq mi) or 446,550 km2 (40th or 58th )

• WATER (%) 0.056 (250 km2)

POPULATION

• 1 SEPTEMBER 2014 CENSUS 33,848,242

• DENSITY 73.1/km2 (189.3/sq mi)

GDP
GDP
(PPP ) 2015 estimate

• TOTAL $274.53 billion

• PER CAPITA $8,194

GDP
GDP
(NOMINAL) 2015 estimate

• TOTAL $103.08 billion

• PER CAPITA $3,077

GINI (2007) 40.9 medium

HDI (2014) 0.628 medium · 126th

CURRENCY Moroccan dirham (MAD )

TIME ZONE GMT (UTC ⁠)

• SUMMER (DST ) GMT +1 (UTC +1)

DRIVES ON THE right

CALLING CODE +212

ISO 3166 CODE MA

INTERNET TLD .ma

* ^ Official religion . * ^ The area 446,550 km2 (172,410 sq mi) excludes all disputed territories, while 710,850 km2 (274,460 sq mi) includes the Moroccan-administered parts of Western Sahara (claimed as the Sahrawi Arab
Arab
Democratic Republic by the Polisario Front ).

MOROCCO (/məˈrɒkoʊ/ (_ listen ); Arabic
Arabic
: المَغرِب‎, translit. al-maġrib_, lit. 'place the sun sets; the west'‎; Standard Moroccan Tamazight : ⵍⵎⵖⵔⵉⴱ‎, translit. _Lmeɣrib_‎; French : _MAROC_), officially known as the KINGDOM OF MOROCCO ( Arabic
Arabic
: المملكة المغربية‎, translit. _al-Mamlakah al-Maghribiyah_‎, lit. "The Western Kingdom"; Standard Moroccan Tamazight : ⵜⴰⴳⵍⴷⵉⵜ ⵏ ⵍⵎⵖⵔⵉⴱ‎, translit. _Tageldit n Lmaɣrib_‎), is a sovereign country located in the Maghreb
Maghreb
region of North Africa
North Africa
. Geographically, Morocco
Morocco
is characterised by a rugged mountainous interior, large tracts of desert and a lengthy coastline along the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
and Mediterranean
Mediterranean
Sea .

Morocco
Morocco
has a population of over 33.8 million and an area of 446,550 km2 (172,410 sq mi). Its capital is Rabat , and the largest city is Casablanca
Casablanca
. Other major cities include Marrakesh , Tangier , Tetouan , Salé , Fes
Fes
, Safi , Agadir
Agadir
, Meknes
Meknes
, Oujda
Oujda
, Kenitra
Kenitra
, and Nador
Nador
. A historically prominent regional power, Morocco
Morocco
has a history of independence not shared by its neighbours. Since the foundation of the first Moroccan state by Idris I in 789, the country has been ruled by a series of independent dynasties, reaching its zenith under the Almoravid and Almohad dynasty
Almohad dynasty
, spanning parts of Iberia
Iberia
and Northwestern Africa. Marinid and Saadi dynasties continued the struggle against foreign domination, and Morocco
Morocco
remained the only North African country to avoid Ottoman occupation. The Alaouite dynasty , the current ruling dynasty, seized power in 1666. In 1912 Morocco
Morocco
was divided into French and Spanish protectorates, with an international zone in Tangier , and regained its independence in 1956. Moroccan culture is a blend of Arab
Arab
, indigenous Berber , Sub-Saharan African, and European influences.

Morocco
Morocco
claims the non-self-governing territory of Western Sahara as its Southern Provinces . Morocco
Morocco
annexed the territory in 1975, leading to a guerrilla war with indigenous forces until a cease-fire in 1991. Peace processes have thus far failed to break the political deadlock.

Morocco
Morocco
is a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament. The King of Morocco
King of Morocco
holds vast executive and legislative powers, especially over the military , foreign policy and religious affairs. Executive power is exercised by the government , while legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of parliament, the Assembly of Representatives and the Assembly of Councillors . The king can issue decrees called dahirs which have the force of law. He can also dissolve the parliament after consulting the Prime Minister and the president of the Constitutional court.

Morocco's predominant religion is Islam
Islam
, and the official languages are Arabic
Arabic
and Berber . The Moroccan dialect , referred to as _Darija_, and French are also widely spoken. Morocco
Morocco
is a member of the Arab League , the Union for the Mediterranean
Union for the Mediterranean
, and the African Union . It has the fifth largest economy of Africa .

CONTENTS

* 1 Etymology

* 2 History

* 2.1 Prehistory and antiquity * 2.2 Early Islamic era * 2.3 Berber dynasties * 2.4 Sharifian dynasties * 2.5 French and Spanish protectorates * 2.6 Post-independence

* 3 Geography

* 3.1 Climate * 3.2 Biodiversity
Biodiversity

* 4 Politics

* 4.1 Legislative branch * 4.2 Military * 4.3 Foreign relations * 4.4 Western Sahara status * 4.5 Administrative divisions * 4.6 Human rights

* 5 Economy

* 5.1 Tourism * 5.2 Agriculture * 5.3 Energy * 5.4 Narcotics * 5.5 Transport * 5.6 Water supply and sanitation

* 6 Science and technology

* 7 Demographics

* 7.1 Religion * 7.2 Languages

* 8 Culture
Culture

* 8.1 Architecture * 8.2 Literature * 8.3 Music * 8.4 Media * 8.5 Cuisine * 8.6 Sport

* 9 Education * 10 Healthcare * 11 See also * 12 Notes * 13 Source * 14 References * 15 External links

ETYMOLOGY

The full Arabic
Arabic
name _al-Mamlakah al-Maghribiyyah_ (المملكة المغربية) translates to "Kingdom of the West"; although "the West" in Arabic
Arabic
is الغرب _Al-Gharb_. For historical references, medieval Arab
Arab
historians and geographers sometimes referred to Morocco as _al-Maghrib al-Aqṣá_ (المغرب الأقصى, meaning "The Farthest West") to distinguish it from neighbouring historical regions called _al-Maghrib al-Awsaṭ_ (المغرب الأوسط, meaning "The Middle West ") and _al-Maghrib al-Adná_ (المغرب الأدنى, meaning "The Nearest West ").

The basis of Morocco's English name is Marrakesh , its capital under the Almoravid dynasty and Almohad Caliphate . The origin of the name Marrakesh is disputed, but is most likely from the Berber words _amur (n) akush_ (ⴰⵎⵓⵔ ⵏ ⴰⴽⵓⵛ) or "Land of God". The modern Berber name for Marrakesh is _Mṛṛakc_ (in the Berber Latin script ). In Turkish , Morocco
Morocco
is known as _Fas_, a name derived from its ancient capital of Fes
Fes
. However, this was not the case in other parts of the Islamic world: until the middle of the 20th century, the common name of Morocco
Morocco
in Egyptian and Middle Eastern Arabic literature was _Marrakesh_ (مراكش); this name is still used in some languages such as Persian , Urdu
Urdu
, Punjabi and Pashto . The English name Morocco
Morocco
is an anglicisation of the Spanish _Marruecos_.

HISTORY

Main article: History of Morocco
History of Morocco

PREHISTORY AND ANTIQUITY

The Berber Roman client King Ptolemy of Mauretania .

The area of present-day Morocco
Morocco
has been inhabited since Paleolithic times , sometime between 190,000 and 90,000 BC. A recent publication may demonstrate an even earlier habitation period, as _ Homo sapiens
Homo sapiens
_ fossils discovered in the late 2000s near the Atlantic coast
Atlantic coast
in Jebel Irhoud were recently dated to roughly 315,000 years before present. During the Upper Paleolithic
Paleolithic
, the Maghreb
Maghreb
was more fertile than it is today, resembling a savanna more than today's arid landscape. Twenty-two thousand years ago, the Aterian was succeeded by the Iberomaurusian culture, which shared similarities with Iberian cultures. Skeletal similarities have been suggested between the Iberomaurusian " Mechta-Afalou " burials and European Cro-Magnon remains. The Iberomaurusian was succeeded by the Beaker culture in Morocco.

Mitochondrial DNA
Mitochondrial DNA
studies have discovered a close link between Berbers and the Saami of Scandinavia. This supports theories that the Franco-Cantabrian refuge area of southwestern Europe
Europe
was the source of late-glacial expansions of hunter-gatherers who repopulated northern Europe
Europe
after the last ice age .

North Africa
North Africa
and Morocco
Morocco
were slowly drawn into the wider emerging Mediterranean
Mediterranean
world by the Phoenicians , who established trading colonies and settlements in the early Classical period. Substantial Phoenician settlements were at Chellah , Lixus and Mogador
Mogador
. Mogador was a Phoenician colony as early as the early 6th century BC. Ancient Roman ruins of Volubilis .

Morocco
Morocco
later became a realm of the North African civilisation of ancient Carthage as part of its empire. The earliest known independent Moroccan state was the Berber kingdom of Mauretania
Mauretania
under king Baga . This ancient kingdom (not to be confused with the present state of Mauritania
Mauritania
) dates at least to 225 BC.

Mauretania
Mauretania
became a client kingdom of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
in 33 BC. Emperor Claudius
Claudius
annexed Mauretania
Mauretania
directly as a Roman province
Roman province
in 44 AD, under an imperial governor (either a_procurator Augusti_, or a _legatus Augusti pro praetore_).

During the crisis of the 3rd century , parts of Mauretania
Mauretania
were reconquered by Berber tribes. Direct Roman rule became confined to a few coastal cities (such as Septum (Ceuta) in Mauretania
Mauretania
Tingitana and Cherchell in Mauretania
Mauretania
Caesariensis ) by the late 3rd century. The Roman Empire
Roman Empire
lost its remaining possessions in Mauretania
Mauretania
after the area was devastated by the Vandals
Vandals
in AD 429. After this point, local Mauro-Roman kings assumed control (see Mauro-Roman kingdom ). The Eastern Roman Empire
Roman Empire
re-established direct Imperial rule of Septum (Ceuta) and Tingi in the 560s.

EARLY ISLAMIC ERA

The Muslim
Muslim
conquest of the Maghreb
Maghreb
, that started in the middle of the 7th century, was achieved by the Umayyad Caliphate early into the following century. It brought both the Arabic language
Arabic language
and Islam
Islam
to the area. Although part of the larger Islamic Empire , Morocco
Morocco
was initially organized as a subsidiary province of Ifriqiya , with the local governors appointed by the Muslim
Muslim
governor in Kairouan
Kairouan
.

The indigenous Berber tribes adopted Islam, but retained their customary laws . They also paid taxes and tribute to the new Muslim administration. The first independent Muslim
Muslim
state in the area of modern Morocco
Morocco
was the Kingdom of Nekor , an emirate in the Rif Mountains . It was founded by Salih I ibn Mansur in 710, as a client state to the Rashidun Caliphate
Caliphate
. After the outbreak of the Berber Revolt in 739, the Berbers formed other independent states such as the Miknasa
Miknasa
of Sijilmasa
Sijilmasa
and the Barghawata . Idrisid coin, minted at al-'Aliyah, Morocco, 840 CE.

According to medieval legend, Idris ibn Abdallah had fled to Morocco after the Abbasids' massacre of his tribe in Iraq. He convinced the Awraba Berber tribes to break their allegiance to the distant Abbasid caliphs in Baghdad
Baghdad
and he founded the Idrisid dynasty in 788. The Idrisids established Fes
Fes
as their capital and Morocco
Morocco
became a centre of Muslim
Muslim
learning and a major regional power . The Idrissids were ousted in 927 by the Fatimid Caliphate
Caliphate
and their Miknasa
Miknasa
allies. After Miknasa
Miknasa
broke off relations with the Fatimids in 932, they were removed from power by the Maghrawa of Sijilmasa
Sijilmasa
in 980.

BERBER DYNASTIES

The Almohad realm at its greatest extent, c. 1212

From the 11th century onwards, a series of Berber dynasties arose. Under the Almoravid dynasty and the Almohad dynasty
Almohad dynasty
, Morocco dominated the Maghreb, much of present-day Spain
Spain
and Portugal, and the western Mediterranean
Mediterranean
region. From the 13th century onwards the country saw a massive migration of the Banu Hilal Arab
Arab
tribes. In the 13th and 14th centuries the Merinids held power in Morocco
Morocco
and strove to replicate the successes of the Almohads by military campaigns in Algeria
Algeria
and Spain. They were followed by the Wattasids . In the 15th century, the Reconquista
Reconquista
ended Muslim
Muslim
rule in central and southern Spain
Spain
and many Muslims and Jews
Jews
fled to Morocco.

Portuguese efforts to control the Atlantic
Atlantic
sea trade in the 15th century did not greatly affect the interior of Morocco
Morocco
even though they managed to control some possessions on the Moroccan coast but not venturing further afield inland.

On another note and according to Elizabeth Allo Isichei, "In 1520, there was a famine in Morocco
Morocco
so terrible that for a long time other events were dated by it. It has been suggested that the population of Morocco
Morocco
fell from 5 to under 3 million between the early sixteenth and nineteenth centuries."

SHARIFIAN DYNASTIES

See also: Ashraf
Ashraf
Morocco, Safi ceramic vessel Jobbana

In 1549, the region fell to successive Arab
Arab
dynasties claiming descent from the Islamic prophet , Muhammad
Muhammad
: first the Saadi dynasty who ruled from 1549 to 1659, and then the Alaouite Dynasty , who remained in power since the 17th century.

Under the Saadi Dynasty, the country repulsed Ottoman incursions and a Portuguese invasion at the battle of Ksar el Kebir in 1578. The reign of Ahmad al-Mansur
Ahmad al-Mansur
brought new wealth and prestige to the Sultanate, and a large expedition to West Africa inflicted a crushing defeat on the Songhay Empire
Songhay Empire
in 1591. However, managing the territories across the Sahara
Sahara
proved too difficult. After the death of al-Mansur, the country was divided among his sons.

In 1666, Morocco
Morocco
was reunited by the Alaouite Dynasty , who have been the ruling house of Morocco
Morocco
ever since. Morocco
Morocco
was facing aggression from Spain
Spain
and the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
allies pressing westward. The Alaouites succeeded in stabilising their position, and while the kingdom was smaller than previous ones in the region, it remained quite wealthy. Against the opposition of local tribes Ismail Ibn Sharif (1672–1727) began to create a unified state. With his Jaysh d'Ahl al- Rif (the Riffian Army) he seized Tangier from the English in 1684 and drove the Spanish from Larache in 1689.

Morocco
Morocco
was the first nation to recognise the fledgling United States as an independent nation in 1777. In the beginning of the American Revolution , American merchant ships in the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
were subject to attack by the Barbary pirates
Barbary pirates
. On 20 December 1777, Morocco's Sultan Mohammed
Mohammed
III declared that American merchant ships would be under the protection of the sultanate and could thus enjoy safe passage. The Moroccan–American Treaty of Friendship , signed in 1786, stands as the U.S.'s oldest non-broken friendship treaty .

FRENCH AND SPANISH PROTECTORATES

Main articles: French Morocco and Spanish Protectorate in Morocco Former Portuguese fortress of Mazagan in El Jadida Death of Spanish general Margallo during the Melilla War . Le Petit Journal , 13 November 1893.

As Europe
Europe
industrialised, North Africa
North Africa
was increasingly prized for its potential for colonisation. France
France
showed a strong interest in Morocco
Morocco
as early as 1830, not only to protect the border of its Algerian territory, but also because of the strategic position of Morocco
Morocco
on two oceans. In 1860, a dispute over Spain's Ceuta
Ceuta
enclave led Spain
Spain
to declare war. Victorious Spain
Spain
won a further enclave and an enlarged Ceuta
Ceuta
in the settlement. In 1884, Spain
Spain
created a protectorate in the coastal areas of Morocco.

In 1904, France
France
and Spain
Spain
carved out zones of influence in Morocco. Recognition by the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
of France's sphere of influence provoked a strong reaction from the German Empire
German Empire
; and a crisis loomed in 1905. The matter was resolved at the Algeciras Conference
Algeciras Conference
in 1906. The Agadir
Agadir
Crisis of 1911 increased tensions between European powers. The 1912 Treaty
Treaty
of Fez made Morocco
Morocco
a protectorate of France, and triggered the 1912 Fez riots . Spain
Spain
continued to operate its coastal protectorate. By the same treaty, Spain
Spain
assumed the role of protecting power over the northern and southern Saharan zones.

Tens of thousands of colonists entered Morocco. Some bought up large amounts of the rich agricultural land, others organised the exploitation and modernisation of mines and harbours. Interest groups that formed among these elements continually pressured France
France
to increase its control over Morocco
Morocco
– a control which was also made necessary by the continuous wars among Moroccan tribes, part of which had taken sides with the French since the beginning of the conquest. Governor
Governor
general, Marshall Hubert Lyautey , sincerely admired Moroccan culture and succeeded in imposing a joint Moroccan-French administration, while creating a modern school system. Several divisions of Moroccan soldiers (Goumiers or regular troops and officers) served in the French army in both World War I
World War I
and World War II , and in the Spanish Nationalist Army in the Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
and after (_ Regulares
Regulares
_). The institution of slavery was abolished in 1925. Tangier 's population included 40,000 Muslims, 31,000 Europeans and 15,000 Jews.

Between 1921 and 1926, a Berber uprising in the Rif Mountains, led by Abd el-Krim , led to the establishment of the Republic of the Rif. The Spanish lost more than 13,000 soldiers at Annual in July–August 1921. The rebellion was eventually suppressed by French and Spanish troops.

In 1943, the Istiqlal Party (Independence Party) was founded to press for independence, with discreet US support. That party subsequently provided most of the leadership for the nationalist movement.

France's exile of Sultan Mohammed V in 1953 to Madagascar
Madagascar
and his replacement by the unpopular Mohammed Ben Aarafa sparked active opposition to the French and Spanish protectorates. The most notable violence occurred in Oujda
Oujda
where Moroccans attacked French and other European residents in the streets. France
France
allowed Mohammed
Mohammed
V to return in 1955, and the negotiations that led to Moroccan independence began the following year. In March 1956 the French protectorate was ended and Morocco
Morocco
regained its independence from France
France
as the "Kingdom of Morocco". A month later Spain
Spain
ceded most of its protectorate in Northern Morocco
Morocco
to the new state but kept its two coastal enclaves ( Ceuta
Ceuta
and Melilla ) on the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
coast. Sultan Mohammed became king in 1957.

POST-INDEPENDENCE

The Mausoleum of Mohammed V
Mausoleum of Mohammed V
in Rabat.

Upon the death of Mohammed
Mohammed
V, Hassan II became King of Morocco
King of Morocco
on 3 March 1961. Morocco
Morocco
held its first general elections in 1963 . However, Hassan declared a state of emergency and suspended parliament in 1965. In 1971, there was a failed attempt to depose the king and establish a republic. A truth commission set up in 2005 to investigate human rights abuses during his reign confirmed nearly 10,000 cases, ranging from death in detention to forced exile. Some 592 people were recorded killed during Hassan's rule according to the truth commission.

The Spanish enclave of Ifni in the south was returned to Morocco
Morocco
in 1969. The Polisario movement was formed in 1973, with the aim of establishing an independent state in the Spanish Sahara. On 6 November 1975 King Hassan asked for volunteers to cross into the Spanish Sahara. Some 350,000 civilians were reported as being involved in the " Green March ". A month later, Spain
Spain
agreed to leave the Spanish Sahara, soon to become Western Sahara, and to transfer it to joint Moroccan-Mauritanian control, despite the objections and threats of military intervention by Algeria. Moroccan forces occupied the territory.

Moroccan and Algerian troops soon clashed in Western Sahara. Morocco and Mauritania
Mauritania
divided up Western Sahara. Fighting between the Moroccan military and Polisario forces continued for many years. The prolonged war was a considerable financial drain on Morocco. In 1983, Hassan cancelled planned elections amid political unrest and economic crisis. In 1984, Morocco
Morocco
left the Organisation of African Unity in protest at the SADR 's admission to the body. Polisario claimed to have killed more than 5,000 Moroccan soldiers between 1982 and 1985.

Algerian authorities have estimated the number of Sahrawi refugees in Algeria
Algeria
to be 165,000. Diplomatic relations with Algeria
Algeria
were restored in 1988. In 1991, a UN-monitored ceasefire began in Western Sahara, but the territory's status remains undecided and ceasefire violations are reported. The following decade saw much wrangling over a proposed referendum on the future of the territory but the deadlock was not broken.

Political reforms in the 1990s resulted in the establishment of a bicameral legislature in 1997 and Morocco's first opposition-led government came to power in 1998. Protestors in Casablanca
Casablanca
demand that authorities honor their promises of political reform.

King Hassan II died in 1999 and was succeeded by his son, Mohammed
Mohammed
VI . He is a cautious moderniser who has introduced some economic and social liberalisation.

Mohammed VI
Mohammed VI
paid a controversial visit to the Western Sahara in 2002. Morocco
Morocco
unveiled an autonomy blueprint for Western Sahara to the United Nations
United Nations
in 2007. The Polisario rejected the plan and put forward its own proposal. Morocco
Morocco
and the Polisario Front held UN-sponsored talks in New York but failed to come to any agreement. In 2010, security forces stormed a protest camp in the Western Sahara, triggering violent demonstrations in the regional capital El Aaiún
El Aaiún
.

In 2002, Morocco
Morocco
and Spain
Spain
agreed to a US-brokered resolution over the disputed island of Perejil. Spanish troops had taken the normally uninhabited island after Moroccan soldiers landed on it and set up tents and a flag. There were renewed tensions in 2005 as hundreds of African migrants tried to storm the borders of the Spanish enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta. Morocco
Morocco
deported hundreds of the illegal migrants. In 2006 the Spanish Premier Zapatero visited Spanish enclaves. He was the first Spanish leader in 25 years to make an official visit to the territories. The following year, Spanish King Juan Carlos I
Juan Carlos I
visited Ceuta
Ceuta
and Melilla, further angering Morocco
Morocco
which demanded control of the enclaves.

During the 2011–12 Moroccan protests , thousands of people rallied in Rabat and other cities calling for political reform and a new constitution curbing the powers of the king. In July 2011, the King won a landslide victory in a referendum on a reformed constitution he had proposed to placate the Arab Spring protests. Despite the reforms made by Mohammed
Mohammed
VI, demonstrators continued to call for deeper reforms. Hundreds took part in a trade union rally in Casablanca
Casablanca
in May 2012. Participants accused the government of failing to deliver on reforms.

GEOGRAPHY

Main article: Geography of Morocco High Atlas
High Atlas
in central Morocco
Morocco
Toubkal
Toubkal
, the highest peak in North Africa, at 4,167 m (13,671 ft)

Morocco
Morocco
has a coast by the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
that reaches past the Strait of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
. It is bordered by Spain
Spain
to the north (a water border through the Strait and land borders with three small Spanish-controlled exclaves , Ceuta
Ceuta
, Melilla , and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera ), Algeria
Algeria
to the east, and Western Sahara
Sahara
to the south. Since Morocco
Morocco
controls most of Western Sahara, its _de facto_ southern boundary is with Mauritania
Mauritania
.

The internationally recognised borders of the country lie between latitudes 27° and 36°N, and longitudes 1° and 14°W . Adding Western Sahara, Morocco
Morocco
lies mostly between 21° and 36°N , and 1° and 17°W (the Ras Nouadhibou peninsula is slightly south of 21° and west of 17°).

The geography of Morocco
Morocco
spans from the Atlantic
Atlantic
Ocean, to mountainous areas, to the Sahara
Sahara
desert. Morocco
Morocco
is a Northern African country, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
and the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
Sea, between Algeria
Algeria
and the annexed Western Sahara. It is one of only three nations (along with Spain
Spain
and France
France
) to have both Atlantic
Atlantic
and Mediterranean
Mediterranean
coastlines.

A large part of Morocco
Morocco
is mountainous. The Atlas Mountains are located mainly in the centre and the south of the country. The Rif Mountains are located in the north of the country. Both ranges are mainly inhabited by the Berber people . At 446,550 km2 (172,414 sq mi), Morocco
Morocco
is the fifty-seventh largest country in the world (after Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
). Algeria
Algeria
borders Morocco
Morocco
to the east and southeast, though the border between the two countries has been closed since 1994.

Spanish territory in North Africa
North Africa
neighbouring Morocco
Morocco
comprises five enclaves on the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
coast: Ceuta
Ceuta
, Melilla , Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera , Peñón de Alhucemas , the Chafarinas islands, and the disputed islet Perejil . Off the Atlantic coast
Atlantic coast
the Canary Islands belong to Spain, whereas Madeira
Madeira
to the north is Portuguese . To the north, Morocco
Morocco
is bordered by the Strait of Gibraltar, where international shipping has unimpeded transit passage between the Atlantic
Atlantic
and Mediterranean.

The Rif mountains stretch over the region bordering the Mediterranean from the north-west to the north-east. The Atlas Mountains run down the backbone of the country, from the northeast to the south west. Most of the southeast portion of the country is in the Sahara
Sahara
Desert and as such is generally sparsely populated and unproductive economically. Most of the population lives to the north of these mountains, while to the south lies the Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony that was annexed by Morocco
Morocco
in 1975 (see Green March ). Morocco
Morocco
claims that the Western Sahara is part of its territory and refers to that as its Southern Provinces .

Morocco's capital city is Rabat ; its largest city is its main port, Casablanca
Casablanca
. Other cities include Agadir
Agadir
, Essaouira
Essaouira
, Fes
Fes
, Marrakesh , Meknes
Meknes
, Mohammedia , Oujda
Oujda
, Ouarzazat , Safi , Salé , Tangier and Tétouan .

Morocco
Morocco
is represented in the ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 geographical encoding standard by the symbol _MA_. This code was used as the basis for Morocco's internet domain, .ma .

CLIMATE

Köppen climate types in Morocco
Morocco

* OVERVIEW:

The country's Mediterranean
Mediterranean
climate is similar to that of southern California
California
, with lush forests in the northern and central mountain ranges of the country, giving way to drier conditions and inland deserts further southeast. The Moroccan coastal plains experience remarkably moderate temperatures even in summer, owing to the effect of the cold Canary Current off its Atlantic
Atlantic
coast.

In the Rif, Middle and High Atlas
High Atlas
Mountains, there exist several different types of climates: Mediterranean
Mediterranean
along the coastal lowlands, giving way to a humid temperate climate at higher elevations with sufficient moisture to allow for the growth of different species of oaks, moss carpets, junipers, and Atlantic
Atlantic
fir which is a royal conifer tree endemic to Morocco. In the valleys, fertile soils and high precipitation allow for the growth of thick and lush forests. Cloud forests can be found in the west of the Rif Mountains and Middle Atlas Mountains. At higher elevations, the climate becomes alpine in character, and can sustain ski resorts.

Southeast of the Atlas mountains, near the Algerian borders, the climate becomes very dry, with long and hot summers. Extreme heat and low moisture levels are especially pronounced in the lowland regions east of the Atlas range due to the rain shadow effect of the mountain system. The southeastern-most portions of Morocco
Morocco
are very hot, and include portions of the Sahara
Sahara
Desert , where vast swathes of sand dunes and rocky plains are dotted with lush oases .

In contrast to the Sahara
Sahara
region in the south, coastal plains are fertile in the central and northern regions of the country, and comprise the backbone of the country's agriculture, in which 95% of the population live. The direct exposure to the North Atlantic
Atlantic
Ocean, the proximity to mainland Europe
Europe
and the long stretched Rif and Atlas mountains are the factors of the rather European-like climate in the northern half of the country. That makes from Morocco
Morocco
a country of contrasts. Forested areas cover about 12% of the country while arable land accounts for 18%. Approximately 5% of Moroccan land is irrigated for agricultural use. Landscape of the Erg Chebbi Atlas Mountains

In general, apart from the southeast regions (pre-Saharan and desert areas), Morocco's climate and geography are very similar to the Iberian peninsula. Thus we have the following climate zones:

* MEDITERRANEAN: It dominates the coastal Mediterranean
Mediterranean
regions of the country, along the (500 km strip), and some parts of the Atlantic coast. Summers are hot to moderately hot and dry, average highs are between 29 °C (84.2 °F) and 32 °C (89.6 °F). Winters are generally mild and wet, daily average temperatures hover around 9 °C (48.2 °F) to 11 °C (51.8 °F), and average low are around 5 °C (41.0 °F) to 8 °C (46.4 °F), typical to the coastal areas of the west Mediterranean. Annual Precipitation in this area vary from 600–800 mm in the west to 350–500 mm in the east. Notable cities that fall into this zone are Tangier , Tetouan
Tetouan
, Al Hoceima , Nador
Nador
and Safi . * SUB-MEDITERRANEAN: It influences cities that show Mediterranean characteristics, but remain fairly influenced by other climates owing to their either relative elevation, or direct exposure to the North Atlantic
Atlantic
Ocean. We thus have two main influencing climates:

-_Oceanic:_ Determined by the cooler summers, where highs rarely go above 27 °C (80.6 °F) and in terms of Essaouira
Essaouira
region are almost always around 21 °C (69.8 °F). The medium daily temperatures can get as low as 19 °C (66.2 °F), while winters are chilly to mild and wet. Annual precipitation varies from 400 to 700 mm. Notable cities that fall into this zone are Rabat , Casablanca
Casablanca
, Kénitra , Salé and Essaouira
Essaouira
.

-_Continental:_ Determined by the bigger gap between highs and lows, that results in hotter summers and colder winters, than found in typical Mediterranean
Mediterranean
zones. In summer, daily highs can get as high as 40 °C (104.0 °F) during heat waves, but usually are between 32 °C (89.6 °F) and 36 °C (96.8 °F). However, temperatures drop as the sun sets. Night temperatures usually fall below 20 °C (68.0 °F), and sometimes as low as 10 °C (50.0 °F) in mid-summer. Winters are cooler, and can get below the freezing point multiple times between December and February. Also snow can fall occasionally. Fès for example registered −8 °C (17.6 °F) in winter 2005. Annual precipitation varies between 500 and 900 mm. Notable cities are Fès , Meknès
Meknès
, Chefchaouen , Beni-Mellal and Taza .

* CONTINENTAL It dominates the mountainous regions of the north and central parts of the country, where summers are hot to very hot, with highs between 32 °C (89.6 °F) and 36 °C (96.8 °F). Winters on the other hand are cold, and lows usually go beyond the freezing point. And when cold damp air comes to Morocco
Morocco
from the northwest, for a few days, temperatures can easily break −10 °C (14.0 °F). It often snows abundantly in this part of the country. Precipitation varies between 400 and 800 mm. Notable cities are Khenifra , Imilchil , Midelt and Azilal . * ALPINE: This type of climate is found in some parts of the Middle Atlas Mountain range and the eastern part of the High Atlas
High Atlas
Mountain range. Summers are very warm to moderately hot, and winters are longer, cold and snowy. Precipitation varies between 400 and 1200 mm. In summer highs barely go above 30 °C (86.0 °F), and lows are cool and go well beyond 15 °C (59.0 °F). In winters, highs rarely go above 8 °C (46.4 °F), and lows go well below the freezing point. In this part of country, there are many ski resorts, such as Oukaimeden and Mischliefen. Notable cities are Ifrane , Azrou and Boulmane . * SEMI-ARID: This type of climate is found in the south of the country and some parts of the east of the country, where rainfall is lower and annual precipitations are between 200 and 350 mm. However, One usually finds Mediterranean
Mediterranean
characteristics in those regions, such as the precipitation pattern and thermal attributes. Notable cities are Agadir
Agadir
, Marrakesh and Oujda
Oujda
.

South of Agadir
Agadir
and east of Jerada near the Algerian borders, arid and desert climate starts to prevail.

NOTE: Due to Morocco's proximity to the Sahara
Sahara
desert and the North Sea of the Atlantic
Atlantic
Ocean, two phenomena occur to influence the regional seasonal temperatures, either by raising temperatures by 7–8 degrees Celsius when sirocco blows from the east creating heatwaves, or by lowering temperatures by 7–8 degrees Celsius when cold damp air blows from the northwest, creating a coldwave or cold spell. However, these phenomena don't last for more than 2 to 5 days on average.

Countries or regions that share the same climatic characteristics with Morocco
Morocco
are California
California
(USA), Portugal
Portugal
, Spain
Spain
and Algeria
Algeria
.

* PRECIPITATION:

Annual rainfall in Morocco
Morocco
is different according to regions. The northwestern parts of the country receive between 500 mm and 1200 mm, while the northeastern parts receive between 350 and 600 mm. North Central Morocco
Morocco
receives between 700 mm and up to 3500 mm. The area from Casablanca
Casablanca
to Essaouira, on the Atlantic
Atlantic
coast, receives between 300 mm and 500 mm. The regions from Essaouira
Essaouira
to Agadir
Agadir
receive between 250 mm and 400 mm. Marrakesh region in the central south receives only 250 mm a year. The southeastern regions, basically the driest areas, receive between 100 mm and 200 mm only, and consist basically of arid and desert lands.

Botanically speaking, Morocco
Morocco
enjoys a great variety of vegetation, from lush large forests of conifer and oak trees typical of the western Mediterranean
Mediterranean
countries (Morocco, Algeria, Italy, Spain, France
France
and Portugal), to shrubs and acacias further south. This is due to the diversity of climate and the precipitation patterns in the country.

Morocco's weather is one of the most pristine in terms of the four-season experience. Most regions have distinct seasons where summer is usually not spoiled by rain and winter turns wet, snowy and humid with mild, cool to cold temperatures, while spring and fall see warm to mild weather characterised by flowers blooming in spring and falling leaves in autumn. This type of weather has affected the Moroccan culture and behaviour and played a part in the social interaction of the population, like many other countries that fall into this type of climate zone.

BIODIVERSITY

An adult male Barbary macaque carrying his offspring, a behaviour rarely found in other primates.

Morocco
Morocco
has a wide range of biodiversity . It is part of the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
basin , an area with exceptional concentrations of endemic species undergoing rapid rates of habitat loss, and is therefore considered to be a hotspot for conservation priority. Avifauna are notably variant. The avifauna of Morocco
Morocco
includes a total of 454 species, five of which have been introduced by humans, and 156 are rarely or accidentally seen.

The Barbary lion , hunted to extinction in the wild, was a subspieces native to Morocco
Morocco
and is a national emblem. The last Barbary lion in the wild was shot in the Atlas Mountains in 1922. The other two primary predators of northern Africa, the Atlas bear and Barbary leopard , are now extinct and critically endangered, respectively. Relict populations of the West African crocodile persisted in the Draa river until the 20th century.

The Barbary macaque, a primate endemic to Morocco
Morocco
and Algeria, is also facing extinction due to offtake for trade human interruption, urbanisation, wood and real estate expansion that diminish forested area – the macaque's habitat.

Trade of animals and plants for food, pets, medicinal purposes, souvenirs and photo props is common across Morocco, despite laws making much of it illegal. This trade is unregulated and causing unknown reductions of wild populations of native Moroccan wildlife. Because of the proximity of northern Morocco
Morocco
to Europe, species such as cacti, tortoises, mammal skins, and high-value birds (falcons and bustards) are harvested in various parts of the country and exported in appreciable quantities, with especially large volumes of eel harvested – 60 tons exported to the Far East in the period 2009‒2011.

POLITICS

Main article: Politics of Morocco The King of Morocco
King of Morocco
, Mohammed VI
Mohammed VI
.

Morocco
Morocco
was an authoritarian regime according to the Democracy Index of 2014. The Freedom of the Press 2014 report gave it a rating of "Not Free".

Following the March 1998 elections, a coalition government headed by opposition socialist leader Abderrahmane Youssoufi and composed largely of ministers drawn from opposition parties, was formed. Prime Minister Youssoufi's government was the first ever government drawn primarily from opposition parties, and also represents the first opportunity for a coalition of socialists, left-of-centre, and nationalist parties to be included in the government until October 2002. It was also the first time in the modern political history of the Arab
Arab
world that the opposition assumed power following an election. The current government is headed by Abdelilah Benkirane
Abdelilah Benkirane
.

The Moroccan Constitution provides for a monarchy with a Parliament and an independent judiciary . With the 2011 constitutional reforms , the King of Morocco
King of Morocco
retains less executive powers whereas those of the prime minister have been enlarged.

The constitution grants the king honorific powers; he is both the secular political leader and the "Commander of the Faithful" as a direct descendant of the Prophet Mohammed
Mohammed
. He presides over the Council of Ministers; appoints the Prime Minister from the political party that has won the most seats in the parliamentary elections, and on recommendations from the latter, appoints the members of the government.

The previous constitution of 1996 theoretically allowed the king to terminate the tenure of any minister, and after consultation with the heads of the higher and lower Assemblies, to dissolve the Parliament, suspend the constitution, call for new elections, or rule by decree, the only time this happened was in 1965. The King is formally the chief of the military.

LEGISLATIVE BRANCH

The legislature's building in Rabat.

Since the constitutional reform of 1996, the bicameral legislature consists of two chambers. The Assembly of Representatives of Morocco (_Majlis an-Nuwwâb/Assemblée des Répresentants_) has 325 members elected for a five-year term, 295 elected in multi-seat constituencies and 30 in national lists consisting only of women. The Assembly of Councillors (_Majlis al-Mustasharin_) has 270 members, elected for a nine-year term, elected by local councils (162 seats), professional chambers (91 seats) and wage-earners (27 seats).

The Parliament's powers, though still relatively limited, were expanded under the 1992 and 1996 and even further in the 2011 constitutional revisions and include budgetary matters, approving bills , questioning ministers, and establishing ad hoc commissions of inquiry to investigate the government's actions. The lower chamber of Parliament may dissolve the government through a vote of no confidence .

The latest parliamentary elections were held on November 25, 2011 , and were considered by some neutral observers to be mostly free and fair. Voter turnout in these elections was estimated to be 43% of registered voters.

MILITARY

Mohammed
Mohammed
VI, a FREMM multipurpose frigate of the Royal Moroccan Navy . Main article: Royal Moroccan Armed Forces

Compulsory military service in Morocco
Morocco
has been officially suspended since September 2006, and Morocco's reserve obligation lasts until age 50. Morocco's military consists of the Royal Armed Forces—this includes the Army (the largest branch), the Navy , the Air Force , the Royal Guard , the Royal Gendarmerie and the Auxiliary Forces . Internal security is generally effective, and acts of political violence are rare (with one exception, the 2003 Casablanca
Casablanca
bombings which killed 45 people ).

The UN maintains a small observer force in Western Sahara, where a large number of Morocco's troops are stationed. The Saharawi group Polisario maintains an active militia of an estimated 5,000 fighters in Western Sahara and has engaged in intermittent warfare with Moroccan forces since the 1970s.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Main article: Foreign relations of Morocco

Morocco
Morocco
is a member of the United Nations
United Nations
and belongs to the Arab League , Arab
Arab
Maghreb
Maghreb
Union (UMA), Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the Non-Aligned Movement and the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN_SAD). Morocco's relationships vary greatly between African, Arab, and Western states. Morocco
Morocco
has had strong ties to the West in order to gain economic and political benefits. France
France
and Spain
Spain
remain the primary trade partners, as well as the primary creditors and foreign investors in Morocco. From the total foreign investments in Morocco, the European Union
European Union
invests approximately 73.5%, whereas, the Arab
Arab
world invests only 19.3%. Many countries from the Persian Gulf and Maghreb
Maghreb
regions are getting more involved in large-scale development projects in Morocco. Morocco
Morocco
claims sovereignty over Spanish enclaves of Ceuta
Ceuta
and Melilla .

Morocco
Morocco
was the only African state not to be a member of the African Union due to its unilateral withdrawal on 12 November 1984 over the admission of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic
Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic
in 1982 by the African Union
African Union
(then called Organisation of African Unity) as a full member without the organisation of a referendum of self-determination in the disputed territory of Western Sahara. Morocco
Morocco
rejoined the AU on 30 January 2017.

A dispute with Spain
Spain
in 2002 over the tiny island of Perejil revived the issue of the sovereignty of Melilla and Ceuta
Ceuta
. These small enclaves on the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
coast are surrounded by Morocco
Morocco
and have been administered by Spain
Spain
for centuries.

Morocco
Morocco
has been given the status of major non-NATO ally by the US government. Morocco
Morocco
was the first country in the world to recognise US sovereignty (in 1777).

Morocco
Morocco
is included in the European Union's European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) which aims at bringing the EU and its neighbours closer.

WESTERN SAHARA STATUS

Main article: Legal status of Western Sahara _ Morocco
Morocco
annexed Western Sahara in 1975. The Polisario Front control the territory east of the Moroccan berm_ (wall) .

Due to the conflict over Western Sahara , the status of the Saguia el-Hamra and Río de Oro regions is disputed. The Western Sahara War saw the Polisario Front , the Sahrawi rebel national liberation movement, battling both Morocco
Morocco
and Mauritania
Mauritania
between 1976 and a ceasefire in 1991 that is still in effect. A United Nations
United Nations
mission, MINURSO , is tasked with organizing a referendum on whether the territory should become independent or recognised as a part of Morocco.

Part of the territory, the Free Zone , is a mostly uninhabited area that the Polisario Front controls as the Sahrawi Arab
Arab
Democratic Republic . Its administrative headquarters are located in Tindouf , Algeria. As of 2006 , no UN member state has recognised Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara.

In 2006, the government of Morocco
Morocco
has suggested autonomous status for the region, through the Moroccan Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs (CORCAS). The project was presented to the United Nations Security Council in mid-April 2007. The proposal was encouraged by Moroccan allies such as the United States
United States
, France
France
and Spain
Spain
. The Security Council has called upon the parties to enter into direct and unconditional negotiations to reach a mutually accepted political solution.

ADMINISTRATIVE DIVISIONS

Main article: Administrative divisions of Morocco The 12 official administrative Regions of Morocco, with their native names in Berber

Morocco
Morocco
is officially divided into 12 regions , which, in turn, are subdivided into 62 provinces and 13 prefectures .

REGIONS

* Tanger-Tetouan- Al Hoceima * Oriental * Fès- Meknès
Meknès
* Rabat-Salé- Kénitra * Béni Mellal-Khénifra * Casablanca-Settat * Marrakech-Safi * Drâa-Tafilalet * Souss-Massa * Guelmim-Oued Noun * Laâyoune-Sakia El Hamra * Dakhla-Oued Ed-Dahab

HUMAN RIGHTS

See also: Human rights in Morocco and LGBT rights in Morocco

Government repression of political dissent has dropped sharply since the mid-1990s. The decades previous to this time are called the Years of Lead (_Les Années de Plomb_), and included forced disappearances , assassinations of government opponents and protesters, and secret internment camps such as Tazmamart . To examine the abuses committed during the reign of King Hassan II (1961–1999), the government has set up an Equity and Reconciliation Commission (IER).

According to Human Rights Watch annual report 2016, Moroccan authorities restricted the rights to peaceful expression, association and assembly through several laws. The authorities continue to prosecute both printed and online media which criticizes the government and/or the king . There are also persistent allegations of violence against both Sahrawi pro-independence and pro-Polisario demonstrators in Western Sahara; a disputed territory which is occupied by and considered by Morocco
Morocco
as part of its Southern Provinces . Morocco
Morocco
has been accused of detaining Sahrawi pro-independence activists as prisoners of conscience.

Homosexual acts are illegal in Morocco, and can be punishable by 6 months to 3 years of imprisonment. It is illegal to proselytise for any religion other than Islam
Islam
(article 220 of the Moroccan Penal Code), and that crime is punishable by a maximum of 15 years of imprisonment.

ECONOMY

Main article: Economy of Morocco A proportional representation of Morocco's exports.

Morocco's economy is considered a relatively liberal economy governed by the law of supply and demand . Since 1993, the country has followed a policy of privatisation of certain economic sectors which used to be in the hands of the government . Morocco
Morocco
has become a major player in African economic affairs, and is the 5th African economy by GDP (PPP). Morocco
Morocco
was ranked as the first African country by the Economist Intelligence Unit 's quality-of-life index , ahead of South Africa . However, in the years since that first-place ranking was given, Morocco
Morocco
has slipped into fourth place behind Egypt
Egypt
.

Government reforms and steady yearly growth in the region of 4–5% from 2000 to 2007, including 4.9% year-on-year growth in 2003–2007 helped the Moroccan economy to become much more robust compared to a few years ago. For 2012 the World Bank forecasts a rate of 4% growth for Morocco
Morocco
and 4.2% for following year, 2013.

The services sector accounts for just over half of GDP
GDP
and industry, made up of mining, construction and manufacturing, is an additional quarter. The industries that recorded the highest growth are tourism , telecoms, information technology, and textile.

TOURISM

Main article: Tourism in Morocco The Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech.

Tourism is one of the most important sectors in Moroccan economy. It is well developed with a strong tourist industry focused on the country's coast, culture, and history. Morocco
Morocco
attracted more than 10 million tourists in 2013. Tourism is the second largest foreign exchange earner in Morocco
Morocco
after the phosphate industry. The Moroccan government is heavily investing in tourism development, in 2010 the government launched its Vision 2020 which plans to make Morocco
Morocco
one of the top 20 tourist destinations in the world and to double the annual number of international arrivals to 20 million by 2020, with the hope that tourism will then have risen to 20% of GDP.

A large government sponsored marketing campaigns to attract tourists advertised Morocco
Morocco
as a cheap and exotic, yet safe, place for tourists, most of the visitors to Morocco
Morocco
continue to be European, with French nationals making up almost 20% of all visitors. Most Europeans visit in April and the autumn, apart from the Spanish, who mostly visit in June and August In 2013. Morocco's relatively high amount of tourists has been aided by its location, Morocco
Morocco
is close to Europe
Europe
and attracts visitors to its beaches. Because of its proximity to Spain, tourists in southern Spain's coastal areas take one- to three-day trips to Morocco.

Air services between Morocco
Morocco
and Algeria
Algeria
have been established, many Algerians have gone to Morocco
Morocco
to shop and visit family and friends. Morocco
Morocco
is relatively inexpensive because of the devaluation of the dirham and the increase of hotel prices in Spain. Morocco
Morocco
has an excellent road and rail infrastructure that links the major cities and tourist destinations with ports and cities with international airports. Low-cost airlines offer cheap flights to the country. View of the medina (old city) of Fez .

Tourism is increasingly focused on Morocco's culture, such as its ancient cities. The modern tourist industry capitalises on Morocco's ancient Roman and Islamic sites, and on its landscape and cultural history. 60% of Morocco's tourists visit for its culture and heritage. Agadir
Agadir
is a major coastal resort and has a third of all Moroccan bed nights. It is a base for tours to the Atlas Mountains. Other resorts in north Morocco
Morocco
are also very popular.

Casablanca
Casablanca
is the major cruise port in Morocco, and has the best developed market for tourists in Morocco, Marrakech
Marrakech
in central Morocco is a popular tourist destination, but is more popular among tourists for one- and two-day excursions that provide a taste of Morocco's history and culture. The Majorelle botanical garden in Marrakech
Marrakech
is a popular tourist attraction. It was bought by the fashion designer Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé in 1980. Their presence in the city helped to boost the city's profile as a tourist destination.

As of 2006 , activity and adventure tourism in the Atlas and Rif Mountains are the fastest growth area in Moroccan tourism. These locations have excellent walking and trekking opportunities from late March to mid-November. The government is investing in trekking circuits. They are also developing desert tourism in competition with Tunisia
Tunisia
.

AGRICULTURE

Figuig oasis, with extensive date palm groves

Agriculture accounts for around 14% of GDP
GDP
and employs 40–45% of the Moroccan working population. With a semi-arid climate and an ill-developed irrigation system, it is difficult to assure enough irrigation.

The major resources of the Moroccan economy are agriculture, phosphates , and tourism. Sales of fish and seafood are important as well. Industry and mining contribute about one-third of the annual GDP. Morocco
Morocco
is the world's third-largest producer of phosphorus after China and the United States, and the price fluctuations of phosphates on the international market greatly influence Morocco's economy.

Morocco
Morocco
suffers both from unemployment (9.6% in 2008), and a large external debt estimated at around $20 billion, or half of GDP
GDP
in 2002.

Although Morocco
Morocco
runs a structural trade deficit, this is typically offset by substantial services earnings from tourism and large remittance inflows from the diaspora, and the country normally runs a small current-account surplus.

ENERGY

Main article: Energy in Morocco Solar cell
Solar cell
panels in eastern Morocco
Morocco

In 2008, about 56% of Morocco's electricity supply was provided by coal. However, as forecasts indicate that energy requirements in Morocco
Morocco
will rise 6% per year between 2012 and 2050, a new law passed encouraging Moroccans to look for ways to diversify the energy supply, including more renewable resources . The Moroccan government has launched a project to build a solar thermal energy power plant and is also looking into the use of natural gas as a potential source of revenue for Morocco's government.

Morocco
Morocco
has embarked upon the construction of large solar energy farms to lessen dependence on fossil fuels, and to eventually export electricity to Europe
Europe
.

NARCOTICS

Since the 7th century, Cannabis has been cultivated in the Rif Region. In 2004, according to the UN World Drugs Report, cultivation and transformation of Cannabis represents 0.57% of the national GDP
GDP
of Morocco
Morocco
in 2002. According to a French Ministry of the Interior 2006 report, 80% of the cannabis resin (hashish) consumed in Europe
Europe
comes from the Rif region in Morocco, which is mostly mountainous terrain in the north of Morocco, also hosting plains that are very fertile and expanding from Melwiyya River and Ras Kebdana in the East to Tangier and Cape Spartel in the West. Also, the region extends from the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
in the south, home of the Wergha River, to the north. Also of note, this region hosts more "Riffians" with lighter hair, having a higher percentage of blondism than most other groups of Berbers, though the ancestry is likely mixed and quite similar. In addition to that, Morocco
Morocco
is a transit point for cocaine from South America destined for Western Europe.

TRANSPORT

Main article: Transport in Morocco

There are around 56,986 km (35,409 mi) of roads (national, regional and provincial) in Morocco. In addition to 1,416 km (880 mi) of highways.

The Tangier- Casablanca
Casablanca
high-speed rail link marks the first stage of the ONCF
ONCF
's high-speed rail master plan, pursuant to which over 1,500 km (930 mi) of new railway lines will be built by 2035. The high speed train – TGV – will have a capacity of 500 passengers and will carry 8 million passengers per year. The work on the High Speed Rail project was started in September 2011. Construction of infrastructure and delivery of railway equipment will end in 2014 and the HSR will be operational by December 2015.

WATER SUPPLY AND SANITATION

Main article: Water supply and sanitation in Morocco

Water supply and sanitation in Morocco is provided by a wide array of utilities. They range from private companies in the largest city, Casablanca
Casablanca
, the capital, Rabat , and two other cities, to public municipal utilities in 13 other cities, as well as a national electricity and water company (ONEE). The latter is in charge of bulk water supply to the aforementioned utilities, water distribution in about 500 small towns, as well as sewerage and wastewater treatment in 60 of these towns.

There have been substantial improvements in access to water supply, and to a lesser extent to sanitation, over the past fifteen years. Remaining challenges include a low level of wastewater treatment (only 13% of collected wastewater is being treated), lack of house connections in the poorest urban neighbourhoods, and limited sustainability of rural systems (20 percent of rural systems are estimated not to function). In 2005 a National Sanitation Program was approved that aims at treating 60% of collected wastewater and connecting 80% of urban households to sewers by 2020. The issue of lack of water connections for some of the urban poor is being addressed as part of the National Human Development Initiative , under which residents of informal settlements have received land titles and have fees waived that are normally paid to utilities in order to connect to the water and sewer network.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Main article: Science and technology in Morocco

The Moroccan government has been implementing reforms to improve the quality of education and make research more responsive to socio-economic needs. In May 2009, Morocco's prime minister, Abbas El Fassi, announced greater support for science during a meeting at the National Centre for Scientific and Technical Research. The aim was to give universities greater financial autonomy from the government to make them more responsive to research needs and better able to forge links with the private sector, in the hope that this would nurture a culture of entrepreneurship in academia. He announced that investment in science and technology would rise from US$620,000 in 2008 to US$8.5 million (69 million Moroccan dirhams) in 2009, in order to finance the refurbishment and construction of laboratories, training courses for researchers in financial management, a scholarship programme for postgraduate research and incentive measures for companies prepared to finance research, such as giving them access to scientific results that they could then use to develop new products.

The _Moroccan Innovation Strategy_ was launched at the country’s first National Innovation Summit in June 2009 by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Investment and the Digital Economy. The _Moroccan Innovation Strategy f_ixed the target of producing 1,000 Moroccan patents and creating 200 innovative start-ups by 2014. In 2012, Moroccan inventors applied for 197 patents, up from 152 two years earlier. In 2011, the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and New Technologies created a Moroccan Club of Innovation, in partnership with the Moroccan Office of Industrial and Commercial Property. The idea is to create a network of players in innovation, including researchers, entrepreneurs, students and academics, to help them develop innovative projects.

The Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research is supporting research in advanced technologies and the development of innovative cities in Fez, Rabat and Marrakesh. The government is encouraging public institutions to engage with citizens in innovation. One example is the Moroccan Phosphate Office (Office chérifien des phosphates), which has invested in a project to develop a smart city, King Mohammed VI
Mohammed VI
Green City, around Mohammed VI
Mohammed VI
University located between Casablanca
Casablanca
and Marrakesh, at a cost of DH 4.7 billion (_circa_ US$ 479 million).

As of 2015, Morocco
Morocco
had three technoparks. Since the first technopark was established in Rabat in 2005, a second has been set up in Casablanca, followed, in 2015, by a third in Tangers. The technoparks host start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises specializing in information and communication technologies (ICTs), 'green' technologies (namely, environmentally friendly technologies) and cultural industries.

In 2012, the Hassan II Academy of Science and Technology identified a number of sectors where Morocco
Morocco
has a comparative advantage and skilled human capital, including mining, fisheries, food chemistry and new technologies. It also identified a number of strategic sectors, such as energy, with an emphasis on renewable energies such as photovoltaic, thermal solar energy, wind and biomass; as well as the water, nutrition and health sectors, the environment and geosciences.

On 20 May 2015, less than a year after its inception, the Higher Council for Education, Training and Scientific Research presented a report to the king offering a _Vision for Education in Morocco 2015–2030_. The report advocated making education egalitarian and, thus, accessible to the greatest number. Since improving the quality of education goes hand in hand with promoting research and development, the report also recommended developing an integrated national innovation system which would be financed by gradually increasing the share of GDP
GDP
devoted to research and development (R top: 0.4em;">

Most Moroccans are either of Arab
Arab
, Berber or Gnawa
Gnawa
descent. There is a significant minority of Sub-Saharan African and European people. Arabs
Arabs
and Berbers together make up about 99.1% of the Moroccan population. A sizeable portion of the population is identified as Haratin
Haratin
and Gnawa
Gnawa
(or Gnaoua), black or mixed race descendants of slaves , and Moriscos , European Muslims expelled from Spain
Spain
and Portugal
Portugal
in the 17th century.

Berbers are the indigenous people and still make up the bulk of the population, although they have been largely Arabised . Morocco
Morocco
is home to more than 20,000 sub-Saharan African immigrants. Morocco's once prominent Jewish minority has decreased significantly since its peak of 265,000 in 1948, declining to around 2,500 today.

Most of foreign residents in Morocco
Morocco
are French or Spanish . Some of them are descendants of colonial settlers, who primarily work for European multinational companies, while others are married to Moroccans or are retirees. Prior to independence, Morocco
Morocco
was home to half a million Europeans ; who were mostly Christians
Christians
. Also prior to independence, Morocco
Morocco
was home to 250,000 Spaniards .

Morocco
Morocco
has a large diaspora , most of which is located in France, which has reportedly over one million Moroccans of up to the third generation. There are also large Moroccan communities in Spain
Spain
(about 700,000 Moroccans), the Netherlands (360,000), and Belgium
Belgium
(300,000). Other large communities can be found in Italy, Canada, the United States, and Israel, where Moroccan Jews
Jews
are thought to constitute the second biggest Jewish ethnic subgroup.

RELIGION

Main article: Religion in Morocco

RELIGIONS IN MOROCCO

RELIGIONS

PERCENT

Islam
Islam
  98.9%

Christianity
Christianity
  0.9%

Judaism
Judaism
  0.2%

The religious affiliation in the country was estimated by the Pew Forum in 2010 as 99% Muslim
Muslim
, with all remaining groups accounting for less than 1% of the population. Sunnis form the majority at 67% with non-denominational Muslims being the second largest group of Muslims at 30%. There are an estimated 3,000 to 8,000 Shia Muslims, most of them foreign residents from Lebanon
Lebanon
or Iraq, but also a few citizen converts. Followers of several Sufi Muslim
Muslim
orders across the Maghreb and West Africa undertake joint annual pilgrimages to the country. Inside of a mosque in Fes
Fes

Christians
Christians
are estimated at 1% (~380,000) of the Moroccan population. The predominantly Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic
and Protestant
Protestant
foreign-resident Christian community consists of approximately 40,000 practising members. Most foreign resident Christians
Christians
reside in the Casablanca
Casablanca
, Tangier , and Rabat urban areas. Various local Christian leaders estimate that between 2005 and 2010 there are 5,000 citizen converted Christians
Christians
(mostly ethnically Berber) who regularly attend "house" churches and live predominantly in the south. Some local Christian leaders estimate that there may be as many as 8,000 Christian citizens throughout the country, but many reportedly do not meet regularly due to fear of government surveillance and social persecution. The number of the Moroccans who converted to Christianity
Christianity
(most of them secret worshippers) are estimated between 8,000–40,000; although some estimate the number to be as high as 150,000.

The most recent estimates put the size of the Casablanca
Casablanca
Jewish community at about 2,500, and the Rabat and Marrakesh Jewish communities at about 100 members each. The remainder of the Jewish population is dispersed throughout the country. This population is mostly elderly, with a decreasing number of young persons. The Baha’i community, located in urban areas, numbers 350 to 400 persons.

LANGUAGES

Main article: Languages of Morocco A map of the ethnolinguistic groups in Morocco.

Morocco's official languages are Arabic
Arabic
and Berber . The country's distinctive group of Moroccan Arabic
Arabic
dialects is referred to as Darija . Approximately 89.8% of the whole population can communicate to some degree in Moroccan Arabic
Arabic
. The Berber language is spoken in three dialects (Tarifit , Tashelhit and Central Atlas Tamazight ). In 2008, Frédéric Deroche estimated that there were 12 million Berber speakers, making up about 40% of the population. The 2004 population census reported that 28.1% of the population spoke Berber.

French is widely used in governmental institutions, media, mid-size and large companies, international commerce with French-speaking countries, and often in international diplomacy. French is taught as an obligatory language at all schools. In 2010, there were 10,366,000 French-speakers in Morocco, or about 32% of the population.

According to the 2004 census, 2.19 million Moroccans spoke a foreign language other than French. English , while far behind French in terms of number of speakers, is the first foreign language of choice, since French is obligatory, among educated youth and professionals.

About 5 million Moroccans speak Spanish . Spanish is mostly spoken in northern Morocco
Morocco
and the Spanish Sahara
Sahara
because Spain
Spain
had previously occupied those areas. Moroccans in regions formerly controlled by Spain
Spain
watch Spanish television and have interactions in Spanish on a daily basis.

After Morocco
Morocco
declared independence in 1956, French and Arabic
Arabic
became the main languages of administration and education, causing the role of Spanish to decline.

CULTURE

Main article: Culture of Morocco

_ This section MAY BE UNBALANCED TOWARDS CERTAIN VIEWPOINTS. Please improve the article by adding information on neglected viewpoints, or discuss the issue on the talk page . (June 2017)_

The Kasbah of Aït Benhaddou , built by the Berbers from the 14th century onwards.

Morocco
Morocco
is an ethnically diverse country with a rich culture and civilisation . Through Moroccan history , it has hosted many people coming from East ( Phoenicians , Carthaginians , Jews
Jews
and Arabs
Arabs
), South (Sub-Saharan Africans ) and North (Romans , Andalusians ). All those civilisations have affected the social structure of Morocco. It hosts various forms of beliefs, from paganism , Judaism
Judaism
, and Christianity
Christianity
to Islam
Islam
.

Since independence, a veritable blossoming has taken place in painting and sculpture, popular music, amateur theatre, and filmmaking. The Moroccan National Theatre (founded 1956) offers regular productions of Moroccan and French dramatic works. Art and music festivals take place throughout the country during the summer months, among them the World Sacred Music Festival at Fès .

Each region possesses its own specificities, thus contributing to the national culture and to the legacy of civilization. Morocco
Morocco
has set among its top priorities the protection of its diverse legacy and the preservation of its cultural heritage.

Culturally speaking, Morocco
Morocco
has always been successful in combining its Berber, Jewish and Arabic
Arabic
cultural heritage with external influences such as the French and the Spanish and, during the last decades, the Anglo-American lifestyles.

Women are at times sexually harassed when walking the streets, a woman walking the streets of Casablanca
Casablanca
while filmed by _The Moroccan Times_ was harassed about 300 times.

ARCHITECTURE

Main article: Moroccan architecture A Moroccan living room.

The indigenous Berber people and a series of foreign invaders as well as religious and cultural influences have shaped Morocco's architectural styles. The architecture can range from ornate with bold with colours to simple, clean lines with earth tones.

Influences from the Arab
Arab
world, Spain, Portugal
Portugal
and France
France
are seen in Moroccan architecture, both on their own and blended with Berber and Islamic styles. Among the buildings, and old Kasbah walls, sit French style-towns left behind by colonisation and intersect with intricately detailed mosques and riad-style homes. Sleek, modern designs are being constructed in cities like Rabat and Casablanca
Casablanca
that give no particular homage to any of the past Moroccan architecture styles.

LITERATURE

Main article: Moroccan literature Leo Africanus
Leo Africanus
.

Moroccan literature is written in Arabic, Berber and French. Under the Almohad dynasty
Almohad dynasty
Morocco
Morocco
experienced a period of prosperity and brilliance of learning. The Almohad built the Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakesh, which accommodated no fewer than 25,000 people, but was also famed for its books, manuscripts, libraries and book shops, which gave it its name; the first book bazaar in history. The Almohad Caliph Abu Yakub had a great love for collecting books. He founded a great library, which was eventually carried to the Casbah
Casbah
and turned into a public library .

Modern Moroccan literature began in the 1930s. Two main factors gave Morocco
Morocco
a pulse toward witnessing the birth of a modern literature. Morocco, as a French and Spanish protectorate left Moroccan intellectuals the opportunity to exchange and to produce literary works freely enjoying the contact of other Arabic
Arabic
literature and Europe. Three generations of writers especially shaped 20th century Moroccan literature. The first was the generation that lived and wrote during the Protectorate
Protectorate
(1912–56), its most important representative being Mohammed
Mohammed
Ben Brahim (1897–1955).

The second generation was the one that played an important role in the transition to independence with writers like Abdelkrim Ghallab (1919–2006), Allal al-Fassi (1910–1974) and Mohammed
Mohammed
al-Mokhtar Soussi (1900–1963). The third generation is that of writers of the sixties. Moroccan literature then flourished with writers such as Mohamed Choukri , Driss Chraïbi , Mohamed Zafzaf and Driss El Khouri . Those writers were an important influence the many Moroccan novelists, poets and playwrights that were still to come.

During the 1950s and 1960s, Morocco
Morocco
was a refuge and artistic centre and attracted writers as Paul Bowles , Tennessee Williams and William S. Burroughs . Moroccan literature flourished with novelists such as Mohamed Zafzaf and Mohamed Choukri , who wrote in Arabic, and Driss Chraïbi and Tahar Ben Jelloun who wrote in French. Other important Moroccan authors include, Abdellatif Laabi , Abdelkrim Ghallab , Fouad Laroui , Mohammed
Mohammed
Berrada and Leila Abouzeid . It should be noted also, that orature (oral literature) is an integral part of Moroccan culture, be it in Moroccan Arabic
Arabic
or Berber.

MUSIC

Main article: Music of Morocco

Moroccan music is of Arabic, Berber and sub-Saharan origins. Rock-influenced chaabi bands are widespread, as is trance music with historical origins in Islamic music .

Morocco
Morocco
is home to Andalusian classical music that is found throughout North Africa. It probably evolved under the Moors in Cordoba , and the Persian-born musician Ziryab is usually credited with its invention. A genre known as Contemporary Andalusian Music and art is the brainchild of Morisco visual artist/composer/oudist Tarik Banzi , founder of the Al-Andalus Ensemble.

Chaabi ("popular") is a music consisting of numerous varieties which are descended from the multifarious forms of Moroccan folk music. Chaabi was originally performed in markets, but is now found at any celebration or meeting. A group of Jilala
Jilala
musicians in 1900

_ Aita _ is a Bedouin musical style sung in the countryside.

Popular Western forms of music are becoming increasingly popular in Morocco, such as fusion , rock, country , metal and, in particular, hip hop .

Morocco
Morocco
participated in the 1980 Eurovision Song Contest , where it finished in the penultimate position.

MEDIA

Main articles: Media of Morocco and Cinema of Morocco

Cinema in Morocco
Morocco
has a long history, stretching back over a century to the filming of _Le chevrier Marocain_ ("The Moroccan Goatherd") by Louis Lumière in 1897. Between that time and 1944, many foreign movies were shot in the country, especially in the Ouarzazate
Ouarzazate
area.

In 1944, the Moroccan Cinematographic Center (CCM), the nation's film regulatory agency , was established. Studios were also opened in Rabat .

In 1952, Orson Welles
Orson Welles
' _Othello_ won the Palme d\'Or at the Cannes Film Festival under the Moroccan flag. However, the Festival's musicians did not play the Moroccan national anthem , as no one in attendance knew what it was.

Six years later, Mohammed
Mohammed
Ousfour would create the first Moroccan movie, _Le fils maudit_ ("The Damned Son").

In 1968, the first Mediterranean
Mediterranean
Film Festival was held in Tangier . In its current incarnation, the event is held in Tetouan
Tetouan
.

This was followed in 1982 with the first national festival of cinema, which was held in Rabat.

In 2001, the first International Film Festival of Marrakech (FIFM) was also held in Marrakech
Marrakech
.

CUISINE

Main article: Moroccan cuisine Moroccan Couscous
Couscous
.

Moroccan cuisine has long been considered as one of the most diversified cuisines in the world. This is a result of the centuries-long interaction of Morocco
Morocco
with the outside world. The cuisine of Morocco
Morocco
is mainly a fusion of Moorish, European and Mediterranean
Mediterranean
cuisines. The cuisine of Morocco
Morocco
is essentially Berber cuisine (sometimes referred to as the Moorish cuisine). It is also Influenced by Sephardic cuisine and by the Moriscos when they took refuge in Morocco
Morocco
after the Spanish Reconquista
Reconquista
.

Spices are used extensively in Moroccan cuisine. While spices have been imported to Morocco
Morocco
for thousands of years, many ingredients such as saffron from Tiliouine , mint and olives from Meknes
Meknes
, and oranges and lemons from Fez, are home-grown. Chicken is the most widely eaten meat in Morocco. The most commonly eaten red meat in Morocco
Morocco
is beef; lamb is preferred but is relatively expensive. The main Moroccan dish most people are familiar with is couscous , the old national delicacy.

Beef is the most commonly eaten red meat in Morocco, usually eaten in a _Tagine_ with vegetables or legumes. Chicken is also very commonly used in Tagines, knowing that one of the most famous tagine is the Tagine of Chicken, potatoes and olives. Lamb is also consumed, but as North African sheep breeds store most of their fat in their tails, Moroccan lamb does not have the pungent flavour that Western lamb and mutton have. Poultry is also very common, and the use of seafood is increasing in Moroccan food. In addition, there are dried salted meats and salted preserved meats such as kliia/khlia and "g'did" which are used to flavor tagines or used in "el ghraif" a folded savory Moroccan pancake".

Among the most famous Moroccan dishes are Couscous
Couscous
, Pastilla (also spelled Bsteeya or Bestilla), Tajine
Tajine
, Tanjia and Harira . Although the latter is a soup , it is considered as a dish in itself and is served as such or with dates especially during the month of Ramadan
Ramadan
. Pork consumption is forbidden in accordance with Sharia
Sharia
, religious laws of Islam.

A big part of the daily meal is bread. Bread in Morocco
Morocco
is principally from durum wheat semolina known as khobz . Bakeries are very common throughout Morocco
Morocco
and fresh bread is a staple in every city, town and village. The most common is whole grain coarse ground or white flour bread. There are also a number of flat breads and pulled unleavened pan-fried breads.

The most popular drink is "atai", green tea with mint leaves and other ingredients. Tea occupies a very important place in the culture of Morocco
Morocco
and is considered an art form. It is served not only at mealtimes but all through the day, and it is especially a drink of hospitality, commonly served whenever there are guests. It is served to guests, and it is impolite to refuse it.

SPORT

Main article: Sport in Morocco Moroccan football fans

Football is the country's most popular sport, popular among the urban youth in particular. In 1986, Morocco
Morocco
became the first Arab
Arab
and African country to qualify for the second round of the FIFA World Cup . Morocco
Morocco
was originally scheduled to host the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations , but refused to host the tournament on the scheduled dates because of fears over the ebola outbreak on the continent.

At the 1984 Olympic Games , two Moroccans won gold medals in track and field. Nawal El Moutawakel won in the 400 metres hurdles ; she was the first woman from an Arab
Arab
or Islamic country to win an Olympic gold medal. Saïd Aouita won the 5000 metres at the same games. Hicham El Guerrouj won gold medals for Morocco
Morocco
at the 2004 Summer Olympics
2004 Summer Olympics
in the 1500 metres and 5000 metres and holds several world records in the mile run .

Spectator sports in Morocco
Morocco
traditionally centered on the art of horsemanship until European sports—football , polo , swimming , and tennis —were introduced at the end of the 19th century. Tennis
Tennis
and golf have become popular. Several Moroccan professional players have competed in international competition, and the country fielded its first Davis Cup
Davis Cup
team in 1999. Rugby came to Morocco
Morocco
in the early 20th century, mainly by the French who occupied the country. As a result, Moroccan rugby was tied to the fortunes of France, during the first and second World War
World War
, with many Moroccan players going away to fight. Like many other Maghreb
Maghreb
nations, Moroccan rugby tended to look to Europe
Europe
for inspiration, rather than to the rest of Africa.

Kickboxing is also popular in Morocco. The Dutch Badr Hari , heavyweight kickboxer and martial artist, is a former K-1 heavyweight champion and K-1 World Grand Prix 2008 and 2009 finalist.

EDUCATION

Main article: Education in Morocco Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane .

Education in Morocco is free and compulsory through primary school. The estimated literacy rate for the country in 2012 was 72%. In September 2006, UNESCO
UNESCO
awarded Morocco
Morocco
amongst other countries such as Cuba
Cuba
, Pakistan
Pakistan
, India
India
and Turkey
Turkey
the " UNESCO
UNESCO
2006 Literacy
Literacy
Prize".

Morocco
Morocco
has more than four dozen universities , institutes of higher learning, and polytechnics dispersed at urban centres throughout the country. Its leading institutions include Mohammed
Mohammed
V University in Rabat, the country's largest university, with branches in Casablanca and Fès; the Hassan II Agriculture and Veterinary Institute in Rabat, which conducts leading social science research in addition to its agricultural specialties; and Al-Akhawayn University in Ifrane, the first English-language university in North Africa, inaugurated in 1995 with contributions from Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
and the United States. UIS Literacy
Literacy
Rate Morocco
Morocco
population above 15 years of age 1980–2015

The al-Qarawiyin University , founded by Fatima al-Fihri in the city of Fez in 859 as a madrasa , is considered by some sources, including UNESCO
UNESCO
, to be the "oldest university of the world". Morocco
Morocco
has also some of prestigious postgraduate schools, including: École Nationale Supérieure d'Électricité et de Mecanique (ENSEM), EMI , ISCAE , INSEA , National School of Mineral Industry , École Hassania des Travaux Publics , Les Écoles nationales de commerce et de gestion, École supérieure de technologie de Casablanca.

HEALTHCARE

Main article: Health in Morocco

_ THIS SECTION NEEDS EXPANSION. You can help by adding to it . (January 2013)_

In 2010, spending on healthcare accounted for 5.19% of the country's GDP. In 2009, there were 6.46 physicians and 9.28 nurses per 10,000 inhabitants. The life expectancy at birth was 74 years in 2013, or 72 years for males and 76 years for females.

SEE ALSO

* Human rights in Morocco * Index of Morocco-related articles * Outline of Morocco

* Geography portal * Africa portal * Morocco
Morocco
portal

NOTES

* ^ _A_ _B_ French is also used in official government documents and by the business community, although it has no official status: "French (often the language of business, government, and diplomacy)..." – See French language in Morocco
Morocco
for further information

SOURCE

_ This article incorporates text from a free content work. Licensed under CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0 UNESCO
UNESCO
Science Report: towards 2030_, 431-467, UNESCO, UNESCO
UNESCO
Publishing.

To learn how to add open-license text to articles, please see:Adding open license text to .

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