Population: 33 million Religions: Muslim 98.7%, Christian 1.1%, Jewish 0.2%.
Location: Northern Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, between Algeria and Western Sahara.
Government: Constitutional monarchy: chief of state is King Mohamed VI (since July 30, 1999); head of government is Prime Minister Driss Jettou (since Oct. 9, 2002).
Economy: Moroccan economic policies brought macroeconomic stability to the country in the early 1990s but have not spurred growth sufficient to reduce unemployment that nears 20% in urban areas. Poverty has increased due to the volatile nature of Morocco’s GDP, its continued dependence on foreign energy and its inability to promote the growth of small- and medium-size enterprises. However, GDP growth rebounded to 6.7% in 2006 due to high rainfall, which resulted in a strong second harvest. Despite structural adjustment programs supported by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the Paris Club, the dirham is only fully convertible for current account transactions and Morocco’s financial sector is rudimentary. Moroccan authorities understand that reducing poverty and providing jobs is key to domestic security and development. In 2004, Moroccan authorities instituted measures to boost foreign direct investment and trade by signing a free trade agreement with the U.S., which are now in effect. It also sold government shares in the state telecommunications company and in the largest state owned bank. Long-term challenges include preparing the economy for freer trade with the U.S. and E.U., improving education and job prospects for Morocco’s youth, and raising living standards, which the government hopes to achieve by increasing tourism and boosting competitiveness in textiles.
GDP per capita: U.S.$4,400 (2006 est.); Inflation 2.8%; unemployment 7.7% (2006 est.).
Currency: Moroccan dirham; U.S.$1 equals 8.39 dirhams (March 26, 2007).
Exports: U.S.$11.72 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.); clothing, fish, inorganic chemicals, transistors, crude minerals, fertilizers (including phosphates), petroleum products, fruits.
Imports: $21.22 billion; crude petroleum, textile fabric, telecommunications equipment, wheat, gas and electricity, transistors, plastics.
Major crops/agricultural products: barley, wheat, citrus, wine, vegetables, olives, livestock.
Grain and oilseed crops: barley and wheat.
Agriculture: 13.3% of GDP and 40% of the labor force
Internet: code .ma, 3,218 hosts and 4.6 million users (2006)