Morocco is in Northern Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, between Algeria and Western Sahara.
Algeria 1,559 km, Western Sahara 443 km, Spain (Ceuta) 6.3 km, and Spain (Melilla) 9.6 km.
Size 446,550 sq km, slightly larger than California, US. Morocco enjoys a Mediterranean climate, becoming more extreme in the interior. The northern coast and interior are mountainous with large areas of bordering plateaus. The rest of the country consists of inter-montane valleys, and rich coastal plains. Its lowest point is at Sebkha Tah -55 m; its highest point is Jbel Toubkal 4,165 m in the High Atlas mountains.
Just over 32 million people live in Morocco. Life expectancy is around 70 years. Birth rate is on average 2.8 per woman. Literacy rate is 64% for males and 39% for females.
Arabic (official), Berber dialects, and French which is often the language of business, government, and diplomacy.
Arab-Berber 99.1%, other 0.7%, Jewish 0.2%.
Muslim 98.7%, Christian 1.1%, Jewish 0.2%.
Brief Political History:
Morocco's long struggle for independence from France ended in 1956. The internationalized city of Tangier was turned over to the new country that same year. Morocco virtually annexed Western Sahara during the late 1970s, but final resolution on the status of the territory remains unresolved. Gradual political reforms in the 1990s resulted in the establishment of a bicameral legislature in 1997. Parliamentary elections were held for the second time in September 2002 and municipal elections were held in September 2003.
Morocco faces the problems typical of developing countries - restraining government spending, reducing constraints on private activity and foreign trade, and achieving sustainable economic growth. Despite structural adjustment programs supported by the IMF, the World Bank, and the Paris Club, the dirham is only fully convertible for current account transactions. Reforms of the financial sector are being contemplated. Droughts depressed activity in the key agricultural sector and contributed to a stagnant economy in 2002. Morocco reported large foreign exchange inflows from the sale of a mobile telephone license, and partial privatization of the state-owned telecommunications company and the state tobacco company. Favorable rainfall in 2003 led to a growth of 6%. Formidable long-term challenges include: preparing the economy for freer trade with the EU and US, improving education, and attracting foreign investment to boost living standards and job prospects for Morocco's youth.
Source: CIA World Factbook
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